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Cuba's Smallest Bird - The Bee Hummingbird

By Planet Fotorimo

Cuba's Smallest Bird - The Bee Hummingbird

Bee Hummingbird

DID YOU KNOW....that Cuba is home the the smallest bird in the world? Measuring 5 cm long and 2 gm in weight, the Bee Hummingbird or elZunzuncito, holds the record for the smallest bird and also the smallest egg in the world.
Bee hummingbirds are the smallest known living birds in the world - being comparable in size to bumble bees and are lighter than a Canadian or U.S. penny. Females are slightly larger than males. 
Like all hummingbirds they can fly not only forwards but also backwards, up, down, and even just hover. They have the ability to beat their wings at up to 80 times per second, so fast that humans can only see the wings moving as a faint blur. Their tiny size and amazing flying skills allow them to move from flower to another collecting nectar and hunt even small insects. In fact, they are so good at flying (some as many as 1,500 flowers a day) that they do not even walk anymore and only use their feet for perching.
Cuba's Smallest Bird - The Bee Hummingbird
Many native and cultivated plants on whose flowers these birds feed heavily rely on them for pollination. The mostly tubular-shaped flowers actually exclude most bees and butterflies from feeding on them and, subsequently, from pollinating the plants.
They seek out, and aggressively protect, those areas containing flowers with high energy nectar. They use their long, extendible, straw-like tongues to retrieve the nectar while hovering with their tails cocked upward as they are licking at the nectar up to 13 times per second. Sometimes they may be seen hanging on the flower while feeding. They spend most of the day feeding as they have to eat half their total body mass and drink 8 times their total body mass in water each day to support their extremely high metabolism.
The Bee Hummingbird was formerly common and widespread, but is now rare and localized. The principal threat to its existence is habitat loss. Large parts of Cuba's natural vegetation has been converted for agricultural uses, with only 15-20% of land remaining in its natural state. This form of human encroachment has negatively impacted the subtropical and tropical forests and swamplands that sustain this bird, and it is now confined to ever-shrinking suitable habitats.
Cuba's Smallest Bird - The Bee Hummingbird

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By Cristine Whitmore
posted on 16 August at 20:48
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