5 centimeters for 1.8 grams, the measurements of the smallest bird in the world!

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Photo credit: Charles J. Sharp

But who holds this record for the smallest bird? It’s a hummingbird, called Elena’s hummingbird or bee hummingbird. This bird is also called the hummingbird, because of its small size and speed! A featherweight found particularly on the island of Cuba. Let’s discover this extraordinary little bird together.

Elena’s hummingbird: small but strong!

From its scientific name, Mellisuga helenae, the bee hummingbird is the smallest bird in the world but also the lightest. With a length of around 5 to 6 centimeters and an extremely light weight (less than 2 grams), it is truly tiny. As a result, it is also difficult to observe it because it is so small!

This little creature is nevertheless very fast and very agile in flight. Its wings beat at an incredible speed which allows it to move quickly or remain suspended. It is also the only bird capable of flying backwards. It is also capable of traveling very long distances to find a new food source.

The bee hummingbird feeds on flower nectar and supplements its diet with small insects or spiders to have the proteins necessary for its well-being. It is a bird found in the tropical forests of North or South America, in areas where flowers are abundant.

This little hummingbird is simply a marvel of nature because it has extraordinary abilities for such a small bird. Its presence is also an indicator of the health of the ecosystems where it lives.

The smallest eggs in the world!

Given their size, it is easy to understand that female bee hummingbirds lay the smallest eggs in the world: around 1 centimeter for 0.35 grams!

The breeding season is generally during the rainy season, when food availability is greatest, but it can also vary depending on local conditions.

Bee hummingbird males are quite territorial and establish areas that they defend against other males. They then use courtship displays such as acrobatic flights or vocalizations to attract females. The latter are responsible for the construction of the nest, made in the shape of a cup. They are made from soft materials (spider web, plant down, etc.) and are located in sheltered places.

The female usually lays 2 eggs. It is very rare that she only lays one. The incubation period lasts between 13 and 15 days, during which the female incubates her eggs until they hatch. The chicks then stay in the nest for 3 weeks. It is the female who feeds them by regurgitating nectar and insects that she collects.

The chicks grow quickly and reach adult size in a short time and once strong enough, they leave the nest and gradually become independent.

It is clear that the reproduction of the bee hummingbird is a careful process that depends heavily on the availability of food and suitable habitat to allow the growth of the young. Females play a leading role in nest building and raising chicks, while males often defend territories to attract females.

Elena’s hummingbird: a bird that captivates humans

This tiny bird offers positive interactions with humans. Indeed, in the regions where they live, bee hummingbirds exert a significant tourist attraction and bird and nature lovers go specifically to these countries to be able to observe them.

Residents of these regions set up hummingbird feeders, containing a mixture of sugar water that reminds the hummingbird of flower nectar, in order to attract these tiny birds near their homes always with the aim of being able to observe them more close. Without forgetting that researchers and/or biologists study them to understand their behavior and thus acquire essential knowledge to continue their conservation.

These interactions, which exist between the bee hummingbird and human beings, are beneficial since they offer opportunities to observe nature, to do research, to raise awareness about the preservation of biodiversity and the environment; So you can be very small, but have a very important role to play!

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