Small Animals

Can birds fly backwards?


It's true that most animals can walk backwards if they want to, even though they don't choose to do it very often. So what about birds... can they fly backwards??

While there are a few birds who can move backwards in small amounts, there is only one bird who can do it very well: The hummingbird!

The reason a hummingbird is so good at flying backwards (as well as sideways, up, down, or even just hovering in mid-air) is because of how they use their wings.

While most birds flap their wings in an up-down fashion, hummingbirds use a stroke more similar to a circle made with a twisting motion. By using this special wing stroke and being able to fly so many ways, hummingbirds can successfully approach and feed from a flower in any number of directions!


Flight of the hummingbird

Hummingbirds can move in lots of directions, but not all animals can do the same. Imagine what it would be like if you could only move forwards, and you were never able to move backwards, to your right, or to your left. What would be different??


Interesting Hummingbird Facts. Hummingbirds Forever.Hummingbird: Characteristics. Journey North., Jane. Hummingbirds tread air in flight. Ask A Scientist!