Hummingbird Symbolism, Meaning & the Hummingbird Spirit Animal

Hummingbird Symbolism, Meanings, and Spirit Animal

Though they are tiny beings, hummingbirds pack a lot of powerful, positive energy. It’s no surprise that hummingbird meaning and symbolism is important to people around the world. Just as the hummingbird spirit animal is an important totem for many.

Hummingbirds exist for themselves. They are not here for us. But they have much to teach us. Learning about hummingbird symbolism in ancient and modern cultures can help us to understand ourselves and our world better.

In this post, you’ll find a detailed guide on hummingbird spiritual meanings and symbols, with ideas about what hummingbird sightings can mean in your life. To go to a specific section in this post, just click the jump links in the table of contents.

“Like the hummingbird sipping nectar from every flower, I fly joyfully through my days, seeing beauty in everything.”
– Amethyst Wyldfyre

Table of Contents

In Ancient Cultures:

What does a hummingbird symbolize?

Purple hummingbird
Hummingbird symbolism and meanings can vary from culture to cultures, as well as by person to person, based on what you’re going through in your life. Depending on what you seek guidance about, the hummingbird spirit animal can trigger your super-conscious, so you can get better insights into an issue. While hummingbird symbolism can vary, here are some common meanings applied to hummingbirds in cultures all over the world:

  • Joy

  • Healing

  • Beauty

  • Sweetness

  • Good Luck

  • Variety

  • Angels

  • Spirits

  • Messengers

  • Flirtatiousness

  • Agility

What does it mean when you see a hummingbird?

If a hummingbird comes into your purview, pay attention. There are no coincidences. Seeing a hummingbird in real life, in a dream, art, or the media in a way that rivets your attention is a nod from the Universe to explore more about what this could signify in your life. As you learn more, you will hopefully have some epiphanies that bring clarity to a certain issue.

Hummingbird Spirit Animal

Girl and Hummingbird Spirit Animal

What is the spiritual meaning of the hummingbird? The short answer is it depends on the situation in which you see them.

According to Native American traditions, your spirit animals will choose you. This might happen on a vision quest or when a particular animal captures your attention and has a profound effect on your life. It’s important to be receptive to what the interaction can mean, instead of just brushing it aside.

Take the time to notice animals…

Many of us don’t take the time to notice animals. It’s easy to get preoccupied with our lives and other people. The hummingbird spirit animal, with her beautiful colors and vibrating wings, reminds us to step outside of our thoughts and notice the wonders of the world around us.

How do you know if the hummingbird is one of your spirit animals?

If you are wondering whether the hummingbird is one of your spirit animals, consider the questions below. If you already know, you may learn some new things about hummingbirds in this post that will help to guide you on your soul’s journey. There is always more that we can learn from these beautiful beings. You can learn more about power animals in UniGuide’s overview post about spirit animals, plus there is a spirit animal test you can take.

Questions to consider:

  • Has a hummingbird made himself of herself known to you in a way that riveted your attention? This could be by flying in front of you as you’re walking, or by flittering outside your window. It could also be a hummingbird that grabs your attention in a piece of art or literature, on a piece of jewelry, in the media, or elsewhere.
  • Were you especially interested in hummingbirds as child? Children come into this world remembering aspects of their past lives, so children’s interests should never be taken for granted.
  • Do you ever have hummingbird dreams?
  • Have certain stories, books, or movies that involved a hummingbird have a strong impact on you?
  • Do you feel an affinity with hummingbirds and do experience a powerful sense of curiosity about them?

Detailed Hummingbird Symbols and Meanings

Vibrant Beauty and Variety

Rivoli's hummingbirds
Rivoli’s hummingbirds (Eugenes fulgens.) Photo: Petr Simon.

While they are tiny, hummingbirds come in a vibrant array of jewel-like colors. They are also associated with colorful flowers, darting in and out from flower to flower looking for nectar. In doing so, the hummingbird collects pollen and thus pollinates more flowers.

The Splendor of Diversity

The hummingbird spirit reminds you to welcome diversity into your life and to honor the richness of variety. Too much routine has the potential to drag you down and put things on autopilot, so you stop evolving.

If the hummingbird didn’t jump from flower to flower, it would limit pollination, and thus organic growth. Your hummingbird power animal advises you that if you feel stuck or you don’t have answers – do something different. Be conscious of having the same thoughts over and over. Switch up your routine! Look for and embrace the other shades of color in the rainbow.

Flirtatiousness

Cattelya Orchid and Three Brazilian Hummingbirds by Martin Johnson Heade
Cattelya Orchid and Three Brazilian Hummingbirds by Martin Johnson Heade, 1871.

Hummingbirds are also symbols of flirtatiousness. They fly quickly from blossom to blossom, enjoying the nectar of a variety of flowers. Indeed, unlike ravens and eagles, hummingbirds do not mate for life. This is not to say that the meaning of seeing a hummingbird is to go out and have an affair or avoid a commitment! Rather, the hummingbird spirit animal may be telling you to lighten up and have a little more fun. Perhaps it’s too soon in your life to get into a serious relationship. Perhaps it’s best to date for a while and keep things light, so you can be sure you’ll finding the right person for you.

And if you’re in a “serious” relationship, the hummingbird spirit may be telling you to lighten up. As a couple, switch up your routine and have some fun. Even if you’ve known someone for a long time, you can still learn more about them in new situations, and of course, you can still flirt!

Agility

Hummingbird Pollinating a Flower

Scientists have studied the aerodynamics of hummingbirds for decades. Like dragonflies and owls, hummingbirds possess special flying skills. Even in extremely windy conditions, hummingbirds can stabilize themselves in midair while feeding at a flower or feeder. They are able to adjust to varying conditions and still achieve their goals.

The hummingbird can be telling you that life is not about waiting for the perfect conditions. Sometimes it’s not about resisting challenges, but rather, handling the ones that come your way with the utmost grace and agility. By doing this, you can achieve that which you seek. The hummingbird spirit animal also says, if there is an opportunity in front of you, don’t wait. Be agile and seize the moment.

Speed, Energy, and Effectiveness

Some species of hummingbirds have hearts that beat over 1,200 times per minute, and they inhale and exhale as much as 250 breaths per minute. Needless to say, this is a very speedy little bird. In addition to being fast, hummingbirds are very important to the ecosystems in which they live. As pollinators, hummingbirds are like bees: They are foundational to life on Earth.

Though they are tiny, hummingbirds are vital to life on Earth. They are high energy and highly noticeable. Though you may feel small and insignificant at times, the hummingbird spirit animal reminds you that one person can have a big impact. Whatever your dreams are – even if they may seem small by other people’s standards, the hummingbird tells you to get buys – and use your positive energy to achieve your aims. Go after your dreams with wild abandon. When you do so, you will truly be embracing the full lightness of your being.

A Few Words on Rest

As quick and busy they are, the hummingbird must also rest. When food is not available, a hummingbird can slow their metabolisms and enter a hibernating, deep-sleep state, which is called torpor.

You may be a high-energy person who thrives on going, going, going. The hummingbird spirit reminds you to give yourself some down time. Rest and relaxation are essential for keeping yourself healthy – mentally, emotionally, and physically. Remember to take the time to recharge so you can primed to accomplish your dreams.

Health, Healing, and Vitality

Allen's hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin)
Allen’s hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin). Photo: Art Tower.

The hummingbird has co-evolved with flowers. In a sublime, harmonious partnership, the hummingbird finds the life force in the flower, which feeds them, and in return, the hummingbird pollinates more flowers, which extends the flowers’ life force. This is why the hummingbird is a symbol of health, healing, and vitality.

The hummingbird spirit guide asks you to be more conscious of what you seek for stimulation and nourishment, whether it’s food, substances, things, or relationships. Is it a truly symbiotic, balanced, and mutually healthy relationship? If not, be like a hummingbird and quickly move on. Balance, harmony, and reciprocity do exist in the world. You just have to be willing to leave that which isn’t harmonious in your life and find what is.

Joy, Sweetness, and Good LuckTwo hummingbirds and a flower

A beloved being to many, the hummingbird is also a symbol of good luck. These nectar-drinking beings tell you to live la dolce vita – the sweet life. Life can be hard on the Earthly plane. There are countless challenges and lessons to be learned as you evolve on your soul’s journey. Yet hummingbirds, just by being here, in all of their joyful, magnificent beauty, draw your attention to themselves and to flowers.

The hummingbird spirit animal reminds you that good luck happens when you are receptive and open to the beauty and wonder in life. An affirmation of the hummingbird is, “I make good luck happen.” Everything starts in your mind. Visualizing and being receptive to the beauty that exists here on Earth, can guide you to living your ideal life.

Angels, Spirits, and Messages

Princess Ruby Throat and the Hummingbird
Cover of Audubon Magazine, 1887. Princess Ruby-Throat: The Story of the Hummingbird. Image: The Audubon Society.

Like the butterfly, the hummingbird is also seen as a messenger from the spirit world. They are here in their Earthly manifestations for three-to-five years. So, if you have an opportunity to meet a hummingbird in their lifetime, say a prayer of thanks, and think of those you love who have transitioned to the spirit world. The hummingbird is a beautiful reminder of your Angels. So, send your greetings and to honor those you love who have passed.

Hummingbird Dream Meaning

Hummingbird and eye

If you dream of a hummingbird, it’s important to analyze the emotions you felt in the dream, because that can give you insights into what the hummingbird could symbolize for you. For example, did you feel fear or happiness? Anxiety or wonder? Dreams can reveal things that we’re not actively addressing in our conscious, awake state – but that we should address.

Consider some of the common hummingbird symbols described in this post, and reflect on the related areas of your life. Even anxious dreams can be gifts. They can prompt us to take the time to be objective observers of our own thoughts, so that we can improve areas of our life.

Many psychic mediums say that you should pay particular attention to your vivid dreams. If you dream of people you know or a pet (living or who have passed), as well as creatures like hummingbirds and butterflies, and the dream feels very real, it could mean you connected as souls on the astral plane.

Hummingbird Symbolism in Ancient Cultures

Tens of millions of years ago, hummingbirds could be found in the area of the world that is now Europe. However, in more recent history, they are native only to the Americas – with a range from southern Alaska all the way to Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of South America. Hummingbirds can also be found in the Caribbean Islands. Because of this range, human cultures of the Americas and tropics are rich with hummingbird legends and folklore. The following are some of those stories.

Native American Hummingbird Meanings

Native Americans revere nature and animals, thus their culture has many vivid stories about the power of animal spirits and the profound role they play in human life. While Native American cultures are quite diverse, the hummingbird is viewed as a helpful spirit guide and messenger by many tribes, as well a healer and a source of good luck.

Hummingbird Meaning in Hopi and Zuni Culture

There is a story told in the Hopi and Zuni tradition of a famine that plagued the land. Because food and water were hard to find, a mother and father were forced to leave their young son and daughter behind as they went searching for food.

To pass the time while waiting, the boy carved a hummingbird out of a piece of wood. When his sister threw the toy into the air, the small bird came to life to play with the children.

However, soon the hummingbird began to worry about the children and their lack of food. So, she brought them an ear of corn every day to sustain them. Realizing they would need more to eat, the hummingbird flew to the center of the world to beg the God of Fertility to replenish the land. Impressed by the beautiful bird, the God of Fertility delivered rain, which fed the soil and helped the crops to grow again.

Apache Hummingbird Symbolism

Apache hummingbird headdress
Apache hummingbird headdress, Leaf Spirits.

In Apache folklore, there is a story of a young warrior who is deaf named Wind Dancer. Despite his deafness, Wind Dancer creates beautiful, wordless songs. Indeed, the sound is so exquisite that the songs bring fair weather and healing to the land.

One day, Wind Dancer falls in love with a beautiful woman named Bright Rain. They meet when Bright Rain is being attacked by a wolf and Wind Dancer steps in to rescue her. But early in their romance, Wind Dancer is killed tragically in battle. When he dies, winter falls on the land.

Grieving, Bright Rain walks into an open field. And when she does, the spirit of Wind Dancer visits her in the form of a hummingbird. The small bird sings Wind Dancer’s sweet, wordless songs in Bright Rain’s ears, and she is comforted in her grief. When Bright Rain feels a sense of peace, fair weather returns to the land.

Pueblo Hummingbird Legends

Pueblo hummingbird print
“Mary’s Prayer” by Jerome Martinez, in honor of his mother. San Ildefonso Pueblo, New Mexico. Image: Pueblo Prints.

Most Native American tribes are based around a clan system, which is a community organization that it rooted in maternal family lines. Each clan is associated with a specific animal. For example, the Creek, Chippewa, Algonquian, Navajo, and Pueblo Nations all have bear clans. The Pueblo Nation is one tribe that has a hummingbird clan. Thus these special birds have important meaning in Pueblo stories.

According to one Pueblo legend, caterpillars are the guardians of tobacco plants. But it’s the hummingbird who gathers smoke from the caterpillar and then brings it to the shamans, or medicine men, who use it to purify the Earth. In return, the hummingbird brings gifts from the shamans to the Great Mother who exists beneath the soil.

The Hummingbird and the Rainbow

In another Pueblo legend, there was a demon who made a bet with the Sun and lost. When he lost the bet, he went blind. Filled with anger at going blind, the demon spewed hot lava, which set the world on fire.

The hummingbird, who was a simple gray bird at the time, took it upon himself to fly around and gather rain clouds from all four directions and put out the fire. When his work was done, he flew away. But as he did, there was a rainbow in the sky, which he flew through. The rainbow blessed the hummingbird by painting him with its bright colors. To this day, members of the Pueblo Nation do a hummingbird dance to bring rain.

Hummingbird Meaning in Mexican and Mayan Culture

According to stories by the Maya People, which survive in Mexican culture today, when the Sun courts the Moon, he disguises himself as a beautiful hummingbird. The Mayas also believed that the first wedding in the world was that of two hummingbirds. The hummingbird was created by the Great God who created all birds. When he was done making all birds, he had leftover pieces, so he made the first hummingbird. This bird was very small, so the Great God made sure he could fly fast.

Dzu-nu-ume

When the hummingbird flew above the Great God, his wings made a humming sound: “dzu-nu-ume, dzu-nu-ume.” So, the Mayas called him Dzunuume, or the Hummer.

The Great God loved the little hummingbird so much that he created a mate for him and a wedding was planned.

All of the animals of the forest came to the ceremony, which was the first wedding in history. However, the other birds didn’t think the hummingbirds had enough color, so they all gave some of their feathers to the pair as wedding gifts. The Sun promised that the hummingbirds’ feathers would gleam with magic in the sunshine.

Aztec Hummingbird Symbolism

Huitziláihuitl, the Second Aztec King
Huitziláihuitl, the second Aztec king, with hummingbird, by Juan de Tovar, ca. 1546-1626.

For the ancient Aztecs, the God of Sun and War was called Hitzilopochti, which translates to Hummingbird Wizard. For the Aztecs, Hitzilopochti is a very important patron god. In fact, hummingbirds were so sacred in Aztec culture that only shamans and tribal leaders were allowed to wear hummingbird feathers. And Aztec warriors believed that if they died in battle, they would be reincarnated as a hummingbird.

Taino Nation

The Taino Nation, who are in Indigenous People from the Caribbean, revered the hummingbird as a symbol of fertility for all life. According to Taino legends, the hummingbird started out as a fly, but Father Sun, whom they call Agueybaba, transformed him into a tiny bird.

For the Taino, the hummingbird is a symbol of rebirth, and even though they are small, they have the fierce heart of an eagle. The Taino People call their warriors the “Colibri” Warriors, which translates to Hummingbird Warriors.

Hummingbird on Caribbean Airlines logo
A hummingbird is depicted on the Caribbean Airlines logo.

In other Caribbean folklore, hummingbirds are believed to be angels, or spirit messengers, from departed loved ones. And in Trinidad and Tobago, the nation’s coat of arms and the national airline, Caribbean Airlines, depict a hummingbird.

Attracting and Feeding Hummingbirds

Hummingbird at feeder

There are 338 known species of hummingbirds, but only about a dozen migrate regularly to North America. Though they are tiny birds, they travel a few thousand miles every year, breeding in the north and spending winters in the south. One species, the rufous hummingbird, travels over 3,000 miles per year, from Alaska to southern Mexico.

Remembering Feeding Spots Year-to-Year

Hummingbirds fly close to land as they migrate in order to have quick access to food sources. Thus, feeding hummingbirds can help them during their travels and during nesting season. And they will remember places where they can find food from year to year.

While the best food source for hummingbirds is native flowering plants, the Audubon Society advises that supplementing their diets with sugar-water can be beneficial. While hummingbirds are attracted to the color red, hence a lot of hummingbird feeders are red, you don’t have to use food coloring in the sugar-water solution. In fact, it’s best not to. A 1:4 solution of refined white sugar and fresh water at room temperature will do the trick. Also, refined sugar is better for the birds than substances like molasses, honey, or brown sugar.

Are hummingbirds endangered?

Sapphire-throated hummingbird
Sapphire-throated hummingbird (Lepidopyga coeruleogularis coeruleogularis). Photo: Charles J. Sharp.

Unfortunately, hummingbirds are very much endangered. Over 10 percent of hummingbird species are at risk of extinction. If you care about hummingbirds, please help to protect them. Here are some resources and organizations that are working to protect these precious birds.

Organizations that Protect Hummingbirds

The Hummingbird Society

American Bird Conservancy

Bird Life

The Audubon Society

Hummingbird Monitoring Network

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