Bee Hummingbird Facts
- Proving that size remains irrelevant, the truly amazing Bee Hummingbird, also known as the Helena Hummingbird, ranks as the smallest known bird on earth.
- Sadly, this remarkable little beauty also has an extremely restricted natural habitat range. This makes its continued existence rather precarious.
- The primary threats to its existence include climate change and habitat loss, especially given its quite restricted range of habitation.
- Though its numbers appear stable for the moment, its situation has prompted the IUCN to list this fascinating avian as Near Threatened.
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Bee Hummingbird Physical Description
In addition to being the tiniest of all known birds, this rather marvelous little beauty, the Bee Hummingbird, also displays a moderate degree of sexual dimorphism.
Among this species, the females attain a slightly larger size than that of the males. Females average o.09 oz (2,6 g), while males only average 0.07 oz (1.95 g).
Body length remains different between the genders as well. Females average about 2.4 in (6.1 cm) in length, yet males only average 2.2 in (5.5 cm).
Interestingly, the colors also vary as well. Firstly, females tend to be a combination of green, white, and gray. Meanwhile, the males tend to be a combination of blue, white, and gray.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Aves
- Order: Apodiformes
- Family: Trochilidae
- Genus: Mellisuga
- Species: M. helenae
Bee Hummingbird Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The beautiful Bee Hummingbird inhabits only a tiny portion of the world. Furthermore, it evolved as endemic only to the archipelago of Cuba. Currently, it inhabits only the main island and the Isle of Youth.
The majority of its numbers inhabit the mogote region of the main island. Small populations, however, also live in western Cuba and the Zapata Swamp.
Amazingly, in an example of coevolution, this rather remarkable little avian appears to only feed on the nectar of 10 specific species of plants. Nine of these evolved solely as endemic to Cuba.
The female lays her eggs in a tiny nest, generally composed of a combination of bark, lichen, and cobwebs. These tiny nests rarely exceed 1 in (2.5 cm) in diameter.
Breeding occurs between March to June. The female typically lays only 1-2 tiny eggs, each about the size of a pea. In this species, the female alone incubates the eggs and raises the young.
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