Feathers and Wing Beats
The bird soars at 80 wing beats per second. At this speed, the human eye cannot see it. During mating season, the wings move at 200 beats per second. Given this fact, it should not be surprising that only high speed cameras can take its image. The Bee Hummingbird also has the smallest amount of feathers at 1,000. Normal sized birds have about 25,000 feathers.
Even though it is the world’s smallest bird, its heart rate is the second fastest among all animals. This is required to maintain its metabolism and body temperature. At 40 C (104 F) it’s the highest among birds. In the evenings the temperature drops to 19 C (66 F).
Appetite, Behavior and Nest Size
The Bee Hummingbird consumes half of its body mass. They also drink eight times their water body mass. These birds like to eat small spiders. But their favorite food is nectar from tropical flowers.
Except during mating season, the Bee Hummingbird is solitary. It is very aggressive and shields its territory from any intruder, even bigger birds.
Of course, the world’s smallest birds also have the smallest nests. It measures 1.2 inches in diameter (3 cm). The nest is made up of lichen, bark and some spider webs. Each nest usually contains two eggs the size of coffee beans. Hatching time is around May or June.
The Bee Hummingbird uses its tube shaped tongue to eat nectar. The bird also takes up some pollen. As it goes from flower to flower, the pollen is dropped off. A Bee Hummingbird can visit 1,500 flowers daily. For this reason, it is very important for the perpetuation of plants and flowers.
The male is noted for its red throat and green pileum. The upper body has a bluish hue and the lower parts gray / white. The female’s upper body is green and the lower part white. The white color applies to the tails as well. The world’s smallest bird is capable of laying only two eggs at a time.
The Bee Hummingbird is very strong for its size. Not only do the wings beat rapidly, but the creature can stay at one spot, chopper like. However its wings move so fast that someone looking at it would only see a blur.
Although it’s known for the shimmering colors, it isn’t always visible. This hue becomes apparent only at certain angles. Studies show the breeding males possess a pinkish head and chin.
Compared with the mammals, the only ones that can compare with its size are the Bumblebee Bat and the Etruscan shrew. Among birds, few come close to the Bee Hummingbird in terms of size.
Although they are the world’s smallest bird, the Bee Hummingbird is an integral part of the eco system. They are vital in propagating plants, which in turn helps maintain ecological balance.