A vibrant collection of beautiful vintage hummingbird prints and art. They are all in the Public Domain and free to download and print.
I remember seeing my first wild hummingbird, I was awestruck by the birds’ beauty and tiny size. It was during the summer in Alberta Canada. In Europe, we don’t get wild hummingbirds. The birds are only found in the America’s.
I remember being fascinated by both the bird’s vibrant colours and the way it hovered over the flowers. It was the smallest bird I’d ever seen, I actually thought it was a large insect at first!
After coming across Ernst Haeckel’s beautiful hummingbird poster from his “Kunstformen der Natur” (Artforms of Nature), I was inspired to curate this collection of vintage hummingbird illustrations.
A Few Titbits About Hummingbirds
- There are about 360 different species and they are only found in the Americas.
- They are found all the way from Alaska at the top of North America, to Tierra del Fuego at the bottom of South America.
- But the vast majority of the hummingbird species are found in subtropical climates.
- The bee hummingbird is the world’s smallest bird, at 5cm in length and weighing less than 2g.
- Hummingbirds got their name from the humming sound their wingbeats make when flying and hovering.
- They are the only species of birds that can fly backwards.
- Hummingbirds are designed for feeding on flower nectar, but they also eat insects.
- Characteristically, they have very long beaks.
- They have a very high metabolism and can consume up to twice their body weight in a day.
- An average hummingbird’s heart rate is more than 1,200 beats per minute. In comparison, a human’s average heart rate is only 60 to 100 beats per minute at rest.
How To Download The Vintage Hummingbird Prints
Click on the title above the print that you want. A higher resolution image of that bird will open as a new window on your browser. If you then right-click on that print, you will have the option to save it to your device.
Trochilidae is the scientific family name for hummingbirds. This is from Haeckel’s book “Kunstformen der Natur” . The hummingbirds in this print are drawn from millinery taxidermy specimens, so some positions are unnatural.
The hummingbird species featured in this print (running from left to right and top to bottom) are as follows:
- Ruby-throated Hummingbird
- Horned Sungem
- Crimson Topaz
- Red-tailed Comet
- Tufted Coquette
- Sword-billed Hummingbird
- Buff-tailed Sicklebill
- Dot-eared Coquette
- White-vented Violetear
- Hooded Visorbearer
- Juan Fernández Firecrown
- Booted Racket-tail.
Check out Haeckel’s Jellyfish, these are stunning too.
The mangrove hummingbird is only found in the subtropical mangrove forests of Costa Rica.
This beautiful vintage hummingbird print is from the famous Birds of America by John James Audubon (1827).
The book is considered to be one of the finest ornithological books ever printed. Audubon was an artist and naturalist who spent most of his working life painting an illustration of all the bird species of North America.
More Audubon prints can be found in this collection of American Songbirds.
Painting by the German biologist and ornithologist, Heinrich Gottlieb Ludwig Reichenbach (1793 – 1879).
This species has a unique white chest patch and white on the tail. Is is found in the Andean forests of South America.
The print is from the Iconographia Zoologica collection at the University of Amsterdam.
A species hummingbird which is endemic to Brazil. Another illustration from the Iconographia Zoologica collection at the University of Amsterdam.
Three green-tailed trainbearers feeding on a passion flower.
Another vintage hummingbird print from the Iconographia Zoologica.
This print is part of the Iconographia Zoologica.
The Antillean mango is a species of hummingbird found on several Caribbean Islands. John Gould painted this pair of birds for his book “A monograph of the Trochilidae, or family of hummingbirds” Volume 2 (1861).
John Gould (1804 – 1881) is probably one of the most famous English ornithologists. He published several seminal bird books. Some of which focused on particular families of birds. His wife Elizabeth Gould produced beautiful plates for the books. Gould’s published five volumes of “A monograph of the Trochilidae“, with a total of 360 vintage hummingbird prints.
Another vintage hummingbird print from Audubon’s “Birds of America“.
Costa’s hummingbird is fairly common in the arid brushy deserts and any nearby gardens of the Southwestern United States and the Baja California Peninsula of Mexico.
This is a John Gould print (1861).
Another one of John Gould’s hummingbird paintings (1861).
This hummingbird is only found in Puerto Rico. The painting is by George Edwards and from the Iconographia Zoologica at the University of Amsterdam.
George Edwards (1694 – 1773) was an English ornithologist, known as the “father of British ornithology.”
Vintage hummingbird illustrations from the Iconographia Zoologica at the University of Amsterdam.
Another painting from John Gould’s (1880) “A monograph of the Trochilidae, or family of hummingbirds“.
The sparkling violetear is very vocal. Its principal song is “a long series of monosyllabic metallic chips, ‘tlik…tlik…tlik..’.”
The sword-billed hummingbird is characterized by its unusually long bill, being the only bird to have a beak longer than the rest of its body, excluding the tail. It uses its bill to drink nectar from flowers with long corollas. While most hummingbirds preen using their bills, the sword-billed hummingbird uses its feet to scratch and preen due to its bill being so long.
Hummingbirds from John Gould’s book (1861).
Another pair of John Gould hummingbirds this time painted in flight. This is ironic as all the illustrations in Gould’s book were painted using dead hummingbird specimens!
This hummingbird got its name from its long, deeply forked, somewhat swallow-like tail.
From the book “Histoire naturelle des oiseaux-mouches, ou, Colibris” (Natural History of Hummingbirds), by Louis Victor Bevalet, (1877).
Another vintage hummingbird painting from the same book above.
A hummingbird illustration from Gould’s book. Another species of hummingbird named after the shape of it’s tail feathers.
I love the composition of this print with the birds feeding on flowering cacti. It’s amazing to think that this hummingbird painting was done using specimens and not in the wild.
These painted hummingbirds are from the book “Beautiful birds in far-off lands; their haunts and homes” by Elizabeth & Mary Kirby (1872).
A vintage illustration of an unidentified hummingbird from the book “Aunt May’s bird talks” (1900), by Mrs F. M Poyntz.
Vintage hummingbird drawings from the “Edinburgh journal of natural history and of the physical sciences“, 1835.
Hummingbirds in the illustration: Bar-Tailed Humming Bird, Stoke Humming Bird, Underwood’s Humming Bird, Gould’s Humming Bird, and Topaz Throated Humming Bird.
All from “A history of the earth and animated nature” (1820) by Oliver Goldsmith and enhanced by Rawpixel.
This delightful hummingbird painting is from the book ” Lettres à Julie sur l’ornithologie” by Martel Mulsant 1868.
There is a wonderful picture of two hummingbirds in The Temple of Flora.
I hope you have enjoyed these beautiful and vibrant vintage hummingbird prints. Don’t forget to check out the wonderful collection of vintage bird prints on the site.
- Vintage owl drawings
- Vintage Cockatoo Illustrations
- Beautiful Heron Paintings
- Flamingo Art Prints
- Edward Lears Parrots
I also think that these colourful hummingbird illustrations would look great in a cloche, like with my parrot decoration.
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