Erakina

BEE HUMMINGBIRD The smallest bird.

Published Date : December 4, 2021

Bee hummingbird belongs to the family of Mellisuga helenae.

It is the smallest of the word which hardly grows above 6 cm and weighs less than 2 grams. It is endemic to Cuba and found only in Cuban islands, especially on Zapata swamp island. It can be seen hovering around flowers, feeding on them. It is often confused with bees due to its little size and hence called bee hummingbird.

A red head bee humming bird on a twig
A red head bee humming bird on a twig Image description: a bee hummingbird with red head and blue feathers.

Why is it the smallest bird?

It is evident that every creature in this world adapts to the situations of the environment, it lives in, similarly bee hummingbirds had a similar niche which led to competition for resources. Due to that it started feeding on flowers and other things which had little competition. Since they live on islands, it is difficult for insects to migrate and adapt to these conditions. Hence hummingbirds, which are slightly bigger than insects, compete with insects for their food. After a million years of its survival it has now become the size of a bee.

 

Architecture of the body:

Bee hummingbird’s body is an extraordinary creation of nature. While having the smallest body, their wings flap almost 200 times a minute and it is one of the birds which has the highest heart beat. It can fly backwards, forwards, up and down and also can fly in a sideways direction. It hovers around the flower to suck the nectar from it.

What should we know about bee hummingbirds?

 

  • What do they eat ?

           They feed on woodland flowers, mosquitoes and small insects.

a bee humming bird trying to hunt a mosquito
a bee humming bird trying to hunt a mosquito Image description: a bee humming bird hunting a mosquito
  • How do they communicate?

Bee hummingbirds communicate through vocalization.  They make extended high pitch sounds to communicate with their groups. They sing!

  • How to recreate?

Bee hummingbirds are generally solitary birds. Bee hummingbirds breed in the time from March to June. Male hummingbirds try to woo females. Males develop thick reddish-colored bright necks and attract females by singing eavesdropping songs. Females select the males and the breed. Once after that males are never near the female ones. Females are single mothers! They incubate eggs for 21 to 25 days. 

A bee hummingbird sipping nectar from flowers
A bee hummingbird sipping nectar from flowers Image description: a bee hummingbird feeding on flowers

 

 

Fun facts that make us love this little creature !

  • They are sleeping beauties. Due to tiny bodies, they much eat very often or else go into  torpor which is sleeping state to save energy 
  • They do enter the nest directly. They hover around it for some time, make sure that no one is observing them and then enter into the nest .Very secure ones!
  • They sing with tails. During mating season males use their tails to make sounds and woo females. Romantic birds!
  • They are the smallest cold blooded animals. They require a fast heart beat to maintain the temperature of the body. Being cute comes at a rate!
  • Male  bee hummingbirds do not participate in any task after breeding. They don’t choose the nest, they do not protect eggs and babies. They don’t hunt the prey when the eggs are being incubated by females. All these works are done by female bee hummingbirds. Strong feminines.

Bee hummingbirds are not only teeny tiny cute little birds. Their cute little bodies attract a wide range of predators like large birds and animals and also some insects. Bee hummingbirds must be very cautious when hovering around a flower or hunting its prey. While this is the case,  destruction of habitat is posing a new threat. We all know why and what is happening and we all also know which species is the reason . Ah! Yes, top of the food chain. It is not a lion, but a man.

CHANDANA.THURIMELLA

Content Writer (Erakina By RTMN)

27/11/2021.

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