Hummingbird Symbolism, Meanings & The Hummingbird Spirit Animal

Hummingbird Symbolism, Meanings, and Spirit Animal

The hummingbird symbolizes joy, healing, good luck, messages from spirits, and other special qualities. It’s no surprise that hummingbird symbolism and meaning are important to people around the world. Just as the hummingbird spirit animal is a sacred totem for many. While they are tiny beings, hummingbirds pack a lot of powerful, positive energy. 

In this post, you’ll find a detailed guide on hummingbird symbolism, spiritual meanings, and cultural mythology. Plus, you’ll learn more about what hummingbird encounters may mean in your life.

What does a hummingbird symbolize?

Purple hummingbird
Hummingbird symbolism and meaning vary from culture to culture, and they have can different meanings for individuals on a personal level. However, here are some universal hummingbird meanings to people around 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 makes themselves known to you, pay attention. There are no coincidences. Seeing a hummingbird in real life, in a dream, art, or the media that rivets your attention is an experience worth exploring. Hummingbirds are always positive symbols and good omens. The following are details about commonly shared hummingbird meanings, and you can read more about their cultural significance below.

Detailed Hummingbird Symbols and Meanings

Vibrance and Variety

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

While they are tiny, hummingbirds are noticeable because they come in a vibrant array of jewel-like colors. In addition, they are associated with the colorful flowers from which they get nectar and, in turn, pollinate. Because of this, hummingbirds are symbols of vibrancy and variety.

The Splendor of Diversity

The hummingbird spirit reminds us to welcome diversity in our lives and to honor the richness of variety. Too much routine has the potential to drag us down and put things on autopilot, so we stop evolving. The hummingbird spirit is the antithesis of falling into a rut!

After all, if the hummingbird didn’t visit multiple blossoms, it would limit their capacity to pollinate more flowers, thus hindering growth. The hummingbird spirit animal is a reminder that if you feel stuck in some way or you don’t have answers – do something different. Switch up your routine!

Flirtatiousness

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

The hummingbird is also a symbol of flirtatiousness. These tiny birds fly quickly from blossom to blossom, enjoying the nectar of a variety of flowers. In fact, unlike ravens and eagles, hummingbirds do not mate for life. Now, seeing a hummingbird doesn’t mean you should 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. Instead of viewing your relationship as “serious” why not view it as flirtatious and fun?

If you’re single or dating, seeing a hummingbird can be a sign to not get into a serious relationship at this time, but instead to focus on meeting new people and widening your social circle.

Agility

Hummingbird Pollinating a Flower

Scientists have studied the aerodynamics of the hummingbird for decades. Like dragonflies and owls, the hummingbird possesses special flying skills. Even in extremely windy conditions, they can stabilize themselves in midair while feeding. Essentially, they are able to adjust in varying conditions to achieve their goals.

Seeing a hummingbird can be a reminder that life is not about waiting for the perfect conditions. Instead of focusing on resisting challenges, consider how you can handle them with grace and agility. By doing this, you can achieve your goals. 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, the hummingbird is very important to the ecosystems in which they live. As a pollinator, the hummingbird serves a vital role alongside the bee and the butterfly. They are foundational to supporting life on Earth.

The hummingbird power animal is a reminder that although you may feel small or insignificant at times – 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 busy. Use your positive energy to achieve your aims.

A Few Words on Rest…
As quick and busy as they are, the hummingbird must also rest. In fact, 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 gets nectar from the flower and, in return, the hummingbird pollinates more flowers, which extends their life force. This is why the hummingbird is a symbol of health, healing, and vitality.

The hummingbird spirit animal reminds you to be 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. You just have to be willing to leave the situations that are unhealthy to find the ones that will nourish you.

Joy, Sweetness, and Good LuckTwo hummingbirds and a flower

A beloved bird to many, the hummingbird is also a symbol of good luck. These nectar-drinking birds are reminders to live la dolce vita – the sweet life. Life can be hard on the Earthly plane. Yet the hummingbird, with their vibrant, humming presence, reminds us to focus on the joy in life. When we live in a joyful state, it’s easier for good luck to find us.

The hummingbird spirit animal reminds you that good luck happens when you are receptive and open to the wonders in life. An affirmation of the hummingbird is, “I make good luck happen.”

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 your spirit guides. Hummingbirds 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 that your spirit guides are present.

Hummingbird Spirit Animal

Girl and Hummingbird Spirit Animal

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

According to Native American traditions, you don’t necessarily chose your spirit animals; rather, they 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.

Whether you know already that the hummingbird is your spirit animal, or one has suddenly entered your life, delving into hummingbird symbols and meanings can give you insights into an issue that’s on your mind or guidance on your soul’s journey. Hummingbirds are always positive signs. With their beautiful colors and vibrating wings, they remind us to step outside of our thoughts and notice the wonders around us.

If you are curious about other animals who might be your spirit guides, you can learn more in UniGuide’s overview post about spirit animals and take the spirit animal test.

Hummingbird Power Animal

As the name implies, a power animal can inspire you with their most dynamic traits. So, if you want to transform an area of your life, mediate on the attributes that the power animal represents. For example, as a symbol of joy, variety, and healing, the hummingbird power animal is a dynamic symbol for bringing more happiness and vitality into your life.

Hummingbird Totem

In Native American cultures, animal totems hold the protective powers of the animal they represent. Thus, the hummingbird totem is a helpful symbol for manifesting more joy, variety, health, and good luck in your life. In addition, the hummingbird totem is a helpful symbol when you are in prayer or meditation and want to connect with your loved ones who have passed.

Hummingbird Mythology and Folklore

Tens of millions of years ago, hummingbirds lived in the geographical region 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 Meaning

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 scarce, a mother and father were forced to leave their young son and daughter behind as they went searching for supplies to sustain their family.

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 and played with the children.

However, seeing that they were hungry, the hummingbird began to worry about them. So, she went searching and returned everyday with an ear of corn to sustain them. Realizing they would need more to eat, the hummingbird flew to the center of the Earth to beg the God of Fertility to replenish the land. Impressed by the beautiful and sincere little 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 named Wind Dancer who is deaf. 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. However, 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 tiny 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.

Meaning of the Hummingbird in Pueblo Culture

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 Central American Culture

According to stories by the Maya People, when the Sun courts the Moon, he disguises himself as a beautiful hummingbird. In addition, the Mayas believed that the first wedding was that of two hummingbirds. The hummingbird was created by the Great Creator who made 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 Creator made sure he could fly fast.

Dzu-nu-ume

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

The Creator 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. And 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. In addition, Aztec warriors believed that if they died in battle, they would be reincarnated as a hummingbird.

Taino Nation

The Taino Nation, who are an 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.

In other Caribbean folklore, hummingbirds are believed to be spirit messengers, including guides and departed loved ones.

Hummingbird Dream Meaning

Hummingbird and eye

If you dream of a hummingbird, consider the emotions you felt in the dream. Those feelings can give you insight into what the hummingbird in the dream might 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 those who have passed) or a creature such as a hummingbird or butterfly, it may mean you connected as souls on the astral plane.

Hummingbird Tattoo

Hummingbird TattooA hummingbird tattoo demonstrates that you have joie de vivre – that you cherish the joy and variety in life. It can also show that you are in tune with and in communication with your spirit guides. Tattoos are obviously deeply personal. But hopefully understanding more about the symbolism applied to hummingbirds will bring deeper meaning to your tattoo.

Organizations that Protect Hummingbirds

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

Are hummingbirds endangered?
People who love hummingbirds often ask this question and, unfortunately, yes, hummingbirds are very much endangered. Over 10 percent of hummingbird species are at risk of extinction. If you care about hummingbirds, please do what you can to protect them. Here are some organizations that are working to protect these precious birds.

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