The Bee Hummingbird is the smallest bird in the world, so small in fact that it is often mistaken for an insect.
Amazing Facts About the Bee Hummingbird
Bee hummingbirds are the smallest birds in the world; so small in fact, that they are often mistaken for insects. Spectacular to watch, bee hummingbirds can flap their wings at a rate of 80 beats per second and can fly upside down and backwards. Even their heart rates are fascinating. One of the fastest in the animal kingdom, bee hummingbirds heart rates can reach 1,260 beats per minute.
How big are bee hummingbirds?
Females are around 2.4 in (6 cm) in length, whilst smaller males reach only 2.2 in (5.5 cm); their wingspan is around 1.5 in (3 cm).
What do bee hummingbirds look like?
Females and non-breeding males are a pale grey or white colour with a bluish-green upper plumage. The main difference between the two is the tips of the tail feathers, as females are white and males are black. Breeding males are more distinctive as the head, chin and throat turn a beautiful pinkish-red colour.
Where do bee hummingbirds live?
Bee hummingbirds are native to Cuba and are found in dense forests and along woodland edges.
What do bee hummingbirds eat?
Like other hummingbirds, bee hummingbirds eat mostly nectar, although they do also eat insects. In a typical day, bee hummingbirds will consume up to half their body weight in food and will help pollinate up to 1,500 flowers.
How fast can bee hummingbirds fly?
Bee hummingbirds are capable of flying at 40–48 km/h (25–30 mph). They beat their wings an astonishing 80 times per second and are very agile, being able to fly straight up, down, backwards and even upside down!
Are bee hummingbirds territorial?
Yes! Male bee hummingbirds are territorial and will aggressively chase other nectar-feeding animals, including birds, moths and bees, from feeding territories.
How do male bee hummingbirds attract females?
Bee hummingbirds are generally solitary, but males come together during the breeding season (March – June) into groups called leks. Once in a lek, males sing and perform competitive mating displays to attract females, which will mate with the male they are most impressed with. They polygamous, so one male could mate with many females during a breeding season, and females are solely responsible for young.
Like the bee hummingbird itself, their nests are tiny with a diameter of <1 in (2.5 cm). They are made from lichen, bark and cobwebs and lined with soft plant materials. Two eggs, the size of a garden pea, are then laid and incubated for approximately three weeks. Babies are born blind and without feathers, but leave the nest around 18–24 days after hatching, once their wing feathers have fully formed.
Picture Credit: Charlesjsharp (Wiki Commons User)
- Type: Bird
- Diet: Omnivore
- Lifespan: <7 years
- Size: 2.2–2.5 in
- Weight: 0.056–0.067 oz
- Habitat: Forests and woodland
- Range: Endemic to Cuba
- Scientific name: Mellisuga helenae