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Bee Hummingbird

The Bee Hummingbird (Mellisuga helenae) is a species of hummingbird, and the smallest of all birds, being only 2 inches long and weighing 1.8 grams (0.06 oz). It is found in Cuba where it is called the Zunzuncito. It is also found on the Isle of Youth.

The male has a fiery green throat, iridescent
gorget with elongated lateral plumes, bluish upper-parts, and the rest of the underparts mostly grayish white. The female is green above, whitish below with white tips to the outer tail feathers. Female bee hummingbirds are bluish green with a pale gray underside. The tips of their tail feathers have white spots. Breeding males have a reddish to pink head, chin, and throat. Non-breeding males look like females, except that their wingtips have blue spots.

The bee hummingbird is the smallest bird in the world. Its body is about the size of a large bee. Like all hummingbirds, it is a swift, strong flier. It also can hover over one spot like a helicopter. The bee hummingbird beats its wings an estimated 80 times per second. The bird’s slender, pointed bill is designed for probing deep into flowers. The bee hummingbird feeds mainly on nectar. The bird sucks up nectar with its tongue, which is shaped like a long tube. It will also occasionally take insects or spiders. In the process of feeding, the bird picks up pollen on its bill and head. When it flies from flower to flower, it transfers the pollen. In this way, it plays an important role in plant reproduction.

Using bits of cobwebs, bark, and lichen, the female bee hummingbird builds a cup-shaped nest that is only about 1 inch in diameter. She lines the nest with soft plant fibers. In this nest she lays her eggs, which are bright orange with pink spots and smaller than coffee beans. She alone incubates the eggs and raises the young.

Bee Hummingbird


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