The Bee Hummingbird, Mellisuga helenae, is the world’s smallest bird. These birds weigh less than a dime. They are found in parts of Cuba and nearby islands. They really are not much bigger than bees, so the name is quite accurate.
Bee hummingbirds eat small insects and nectar. They are agile flyers, beating their wings 80 times a second (and sometimes 200 times a second in courtship displays). This uses a lot of energy, so these little birds have to eat the equivalent of half their body weight in nectar and insects every day.
In breeding season, the male has remarkably vividly colored head and chest feathers, and in flight looks like an airborne jewel. Colors may be azure, ruby, orange and gold.
Their carefully built nests are less than an inch wide, and the eggs the size of a pea. The tiny eggs take three weeks to hatch, but the chicks develop their flight feathers in about 16-18 days and soon after, fly off.
Bee Hummingbirds are not yet endangered, but their population is dropping, primarily because of habitat destruction.
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