Can you imagine a bird that is smaller than your thumb? This tiny little bird is known as the bee hummingbird and it weighs less than a US penny. The jewel-like avian can only be found in the Cuban archipelago where it spends its time zipping around forests and gardens. It moves quickly, flapping its wings 80 times per second or almost 5,000 beats per minute, darting from bush to vine and feasting on flowers and insects to fuel its hyperactivity.
The tiny bee hummingbird is a voracious eater, consuming half its body weight in food daily and visiting up to 1,500 flowers a day for nourishment. The sugar-rich flower nectar provides vital energy, while insects supply protein. Capable of flying for up to 20 hours without a break, these birds require a lot of calories. During courtship, their wing beats increase up to 200 times per second, making them the fastest birds on the planet, along with the ruby-throated hummingbird. Often mistaken for large bumblebees, they weigh less than 0.07 ounces (2 grams). Not only are they incredibly fast and agile, but they also look majestic. Up close, the male bird has a metallic red head and throat, with fiery ruby feathers on the sides of the breast and a turquoise back. The female boasts a shimmering aquamarine body with a delicate gray underside.
This delightful hummingbird is a miniature wonder. When a female constructs a nest, it is less than an inch in diameter, about the size of a dime. She then lays an egg that is no larger than a coffee bean.
Content creator Hummingbird Spot visited the Zapata peninsula in Cuba, where they had the opportunity to observe bee hummingbirds feeding in a private garden. The bee hummingbird, or zunzuncito, is known on the island for the sound its wings make, which sounds like “zun-zun.” This was reported by photographer and member Carole Turek, who described the experience as spectacular.
She was amazed by the bee hummingbird. According to her, the male bee hummingbird is only 2.2 inches or 6 centimeters long while the female is slightly bigger. The bee hummingbird left her breathless.
One of the best places to see these precious little birds is either at the Zapata Peninsula Reserve or nearby Playa Larga on the Bay of Pigs. Responding to Turek’s YouTube video chronicling her adventure, viewers were amazed by the stunning colors of the birds. One viewer likened the experience to looking through a kaleidoscope, while another marveled at the fact that such tiny birds could survive the massive storms and hurricanes in the area.
Don’t let the cute appearance of hummingbirds fool you – despite their plump and round bodies that make juicy meals for predators like tropical spiders and frogs, these adorable creatures have a feisty personality. They are territorial in their feeding zones and aggressively chase off intruders. Despite their small size, they are fantastic fliers and can take off in any direction, including backwards and upside down.
Hummingbirds are also spirited communicators who use squeaking and twittering sounds to communicate with each other while zooming from place to place. They make a sweet buzzing noise as they fly, almost like a bumblebee.