Have you ever thought of a bird that could fit on your thumb and weigh less than a US penny? Well, meet the bee hummingbird – a tiny yet stunning avian that can only be found in the Cuban archipelago. You can spot it darting around gardens and forests, fueling its hyperactivity by feasting on flowers and insects. This jewel-like bird is a true marvel, flapping its wings at an astonishing speed of 80 times per second or almost 5,000 beats per minute while zipping from bush to vine.
The bee hummingbird is a small bird that has enormous appetite. It consumes half of its body weight in food daily and feeds on up to 1,500 flowers per day to get the nourishment it needs. The nectar from these flowers provides high amounts of energy, while insects are a vital protein source for the bird. Due to their long flights, which can last for up to 20 hours, these birds need a lot of calories to sustain them. When courting, they beat their wings up to 200 times per second, making them one of the fastest birds on earth alongside the ruby-throated hummingbird. Their size, which is less than 0.07 ounces (2 grams), often confuses them with bumblebees. Even though they are small, they are graceful and majestic. Up close, the male bird has a metallic red head and throat, fiery ruby feathers on the sides of the breast, and a turquoise back. On the other hand, the female bird has a shimmering aquamarine body with a delicate gray underside.
This charming little bird, the hummingbird, is truly a marvel in miniature form. The female hummingbird creates a nest that’s astonishingly small – measuring less than an inch in diameter, equivalent to the size of a dime. She then lays an egg that’s incredibly tiny, no bigger than a coffee bean.
Hummingbird enthusiast, Hummingbird ѕрot, recently explored the Zapata peninsula in Cuba and had the chance to witness the feeding habits of bee hummingbirds in a secluded garden. These tiny birds, also called zunzuncito, are famous on the island for the distinct “zun-zun” sound made by their wings. Photographer Carole Turek reported that observing these creatures was a unique and memorable experience.
The bee hummingbird left her in awe. She was astounded to learn that the male bee hummingbird measures only 2.2 inches or 6 centimeters, while the female is slightly larger. She was left speechless by the beauty of the bee hummingbird.
If you’re keen on seeing these adorable tiny birds, the Zapata Peninsula Reserve or Playa Larga on the Bay of Pigs would be your best bets. Turek’s YouTube video documenting her journey drew a lot of attention, with viewers astounded by the vibrant colors of the birds. One viewer compared it to looking through a kaleidoscope, while another was impressed that these little creatures could withstand the intense storms and hurricanes in the region.
Hummingbirds may look cute and plump, but don’t be fooled – these adorable creatures have a feisty personality. Despite being potential prey for predators like tropical spiders and frogs, they are territorial in their feeding zones and will aggressively chase away intruders. Despite their small size, they are skilled fliers and can fly in any direction, even backwards and upside down. Hummingbirds are also great communicators, using squeaks and tweets to talk to each other while flying around. As they fly, they make a sweet buzzing noise that sounds similar to that of a bumblebee.