A fly or a bird? No, that hummingbird! Mini, small, cute bird. There are 338 known species of hummingbirds, all of which belong to the family Trochilidae. All species of hummingbirds, if not all, can be naturally found in America. Most of them live in the tropics of Central and South America. Some can be seen as far north as Alaska, but they don’t live there all year round. The beauty and agility of hummingbirds is truly admirable. Today we take a look at what makes these adorable furry friends so interesting.
1. Hummingbirds are one of the smallest bird species in the world
Most species of hummingbirds are up to 7.5-13 cm long! One of them, in particular, is the smallest hummingbird in the world and the smallest bird in the world. It is called the bee hummingbird (Mellisuga helenae) and it can only grow up to 5 cm. Bee hummingbirds live in Cuba and weigh less than 2 g.
2. They must eat eight times an hour
The hummingbird’s diet often includes nectar and small insects. Nectar is a sweet liquid consisting of fructose, sucrose and glucose found in many flowers. Hummingbirds cannot live on nectar alone because this sweet fluid is devoid of other nutrients. These birds also feed on insects to balance their diet. None of these food sources can compensate for the amount of energy hummingbirds expend during flight, so they must be constantly fed!
3. They don’t like cold weather
As we mentioned earlier, most hummingbirds are migratory birds. These animals usually migrate to the tropics in winter, with species found in the north heading south and those that normally live south of the tropics heading north. However, there are also hummingbirds that can be seen in winter. For example, the red hummingbird occasionally winters in North America.
4. This is the only bird in the world that can fly backwards
Hummingbirds got this name, most likely because of the sound they make when they flap their wings quickly. In this regard, the flight of hummingbirds has long been studied. Thanks to modern technology, we now have a much better understanding of how hummingbirds actually fly and what makes them different. For example, there are high-speed cameras and wind tunnels that record smaller species that flap their wings more than 80 times a second. Some species of hummingbirds can reach speeds of up to 54 km/h! And of course, they can also fly backwards, right?
5. Their nest may be smaller than a walnut shell
Most of us have seen many birdhouses in our lives, but have you ever seen a hummingbird’s nest? The answer is probably no, as these birds usually build their nests deep in bushes or on small branches. These nests are usually made of moss, spider silk and other delicate elements. They can also be as small as half a walnut.
6. Hummingbirds have many natural predators
Even given their incredible agility, it is not surprising that such a small bird is the target of large predators. The smaller the creature, the greater its sacrifice. Among the creatures that hummingbirds most often prey on are reptiles and insects such as lizards and snakes. Yes, insects. Some of the larger praying mantis species can catch hummingbirds in the air. Even some spiders are known to catch hummingbirds with their webs.
7. Hummingbird eggs weigh up to 10% of the mother’s body weight
Yes, you heard right. Imagine the birth of a creature weighing one-tenth your body weight. Although large for a mother’s body, these are the smallest bird eggs in the world. On average, a hummingbird egg can be smaller than 1.27 cm.
8. Hummingbirds hibernate at night so they don’t starve to death
Hummingbirds have a very fast metabolism, which means any food they eat is processed and consumed so quickly that they have to eat almost continuously. In fact, they eat about half their body weight throughout the day to keep their energy levels high! If the hummingbird slept normally, it would starve to death. To survive the night, they enter a state of deep sleep that slows down their entire body. Their heart rate drops from over 1,000 beats per minute to less than 100, and their temperature drops from 40°C to 18°C. Although this dramatic change allows them to survive the night, they lose 10% of their body weight in the process!
9. Although they are small, they are very aggressive
Chances are when you look at a hummingbird you’ll stop and say, “What an aggressive bird, better watch out!” you do not think. The reason we as humans are not afraid of hummingbirds is because of their size. They are too small to be considered a threat. However, these cute birds are known to aggressively defend their territory, often fighting off much larger birds such as crows, jays, and even hawks!
10. Hummingbirds were very important to the Aztecs
Many Aztec citizens wore amulets made of hummingbird bones or feathers. Such talismans; It was said to bring vigor to the wearer, giving them more energy and an advantage in battle.
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