Humming bird is the smallest around 10,000 bird species in the world. They are unique for their physical characteristics and behavior. Naturally native to America they also can be seen in Alaska and the Caribbean. These little guys are such interesting and jaw dropping once you get close to them. So, Let’s check out.
1. Hummingbird is the smallest warm blooded creature in animal kingdom and approximately 350 of their species had been identified. 6 mostly common are the Broad tailed, Ruby-throated, Black chinned, Rufous, Calliope and Anna’s hummingbird and all have different preferences, behaviors like The Broad-tail hummingbird lives in the mountain regions. The Ruby-throated are the most solitary and have least social skills. The Anna’s has the longest tongue and the Patagona-gigas is the largest species measuring up-to 8 inches in length.
2. Their brilliant throat color is not for the feather pigments but, the arrangement of feathers. The color appearance can depend on light level, moisture and angle of view. In fact, they are also known as flying jewels for this reason.
3. They do have very tiny legs. It makes them light weight and efficient flyers. They can’t walk or hop using these legs although, do walk sideways while perched and use their legs for itching or preening.
4. They have 1000-1500 feathers on their body, the fewest number present compared to any kind of birds. It is not only for their small body size but, for their light weight adaptation also.
5. Nearly 25-30% of their body weight are the pectoral muscles, which are broad chest muscles to flap the wings.
6. Their heart can beat up-to 1200 time per minute and higher while flying, even 200 times a minute while resting.
7. As their body, the eggs they lay are also very small, nearly half an inch or the size of a coffee bean but, interestingly the eggs weigh around 10% of mother’s body weight. Mother only lay 2 eggs at once.
8. Hummingbirds do feed on floral nectar 5-8 times an hour. But, they also feed on juice from broken fruits and small insects.
9. Hummingbirds have long beaks but, to feed they use their elongated tongue which can move in and out 10-15 times a second. They sip and drink by using these fast moving tongue.
10. Very surprisingly the Anna’s, Allen’s, Costa’s, Rufous, Calliope and Broad tailed hummingbirds can breed to create hybrid. Which makes identifying them very challenging.
11. The Calliop hummingbird is the smallest species found in North America, measuring up-to 3 inches and the Bee hummingbird is the smallest species in the world, only 2.25 inches in length.
12. In weight, a Ruby-throated hummingbird is just 3 grams.
13. Their humming sound come from the high flapping wings. These wings flap 50-200 times a second. The flapping can depend on the direction of flight, purpose of flight or surrounding air condition. These wings also allow them to fly backwards making them true one of a kind in entire bird species.
14. The Rufous species has the longest migration range. They can travel up-to 3200kms from their nesting grounds all the way to Alaska and the Caribbean.
15. Hummingbirds can fly at a speed of 50kms an hour and able to dive at a speed of nearly 100kms an hour.
16. Despite being the smallest they are one of the most aggressive bird species. They are very territorial and often attack on Jays, crows and even hawks in order to protect their nests.
17. Hummingbirds have a state known as Torpor state. They will hang from branches upside down and look like dead from an observer perspective. Even touches can’t awake them. Awakening takes 20 minutes to 1 hour.
18. A flock of hummingbirds are referred as a bouquet, a glitter or a shimmer.
19. They do not have sense of smell. They can’t sniff nectar but, they have excellent color vision, like the Ruby-throated hummingbird prefer orange or red flowers and others also have liking as their own.
20. They have an average life span of 5-12 years depending on the species, habitat and predators.