The diminutive hummingbirds display remarkable manoeuvrability in flight, capable of hovering whilst feeding, with up to 200 wing beats per second. Owing to this energy-demanding behaviour, hummingbirds feed almost exclusively on nectar, the carbohydrate-rich sugar secretions of plants, feeding from as many as 1,000 to 2,000 flowers each day. Hummingbirds also have the highest oxygen requirement of any vertebrate and, as a result, have a breathing rate of up to 500 breaths per minute and uniquely structured lungs. These physiological adaptations have allowed hummingbirds to occupy a vast array of habitats and altitudes throughout the Americas (7).
Very little is known about the biology of the Honduran emerald, but it is known to feed from the flowers of a variety of plants, including several cacti and bromeliads (5) (6). It will also alight upon a perch, up to ten metres above the ground, and make repeated forays to catch insects on the wing (2). The breeding biology of the Honduran emerald has not yet been studied; however, in common with other hummingbirds, it is likely that males are territorial and attract mates with elaborate aerial courtship displays. Males may mate with several females, but the females are responsible for nest construction and raising the offspring (7).