The Smallest of Birds
The Bee Hummingbird (Mellisuga Helenae
Range: Cuba and the Isle of Pines (an island southwest of Cuba)
Weight: ~1.8 grams
Length: ~2 1/4 inches
Habitat: Woodlands, Shrubbery, Gardens
What does a bee hummingbird look like?
As the world's smallest bird, the male bee hummingbird is astoundingly tiny and the female only a fraction larger. Their beaks and tails compose more than half of their lengths, lending them a slightly cartoonish appearance. The size of a bee (as its name would imply), the birds can sometimes weigh less than a penny and are often mistaken for insects.
The male birds are very vivid, with a crimson throat, a blue-green iridescent back, and a white belly. Females are slightly more subdued, with green backs and a white belly.
How do they live?
The Bee Hummingbird's diet is composed chiefly of nectar and small insects. As such a tiny animal with such a fast heartbeat, it must stop often to refuel and is incapable of flying long distances.
Its mating ritual is similar to that of other birds-- the male hummingbird will execute a flashy dance in hopes of wooing a lovely female. Mating commences mid-air, both parties' wings beating in excess of 200 beats per minute.
Its eggs are also the smallest in the world, each being approximately the size of a pea and weighing only .2g. In fact, you could put 4700 of these eggs inside an single ostrich egg!
The Bee Hummingbird's local name is the zunzun. Many Cubans think of it as the symbol of love. Also, as a very cute and scenic creature, it has been the subject of many postal stamp collections and features regularly on Cuban birding tours.
http://www.csus.edu/indiv/g/gervaisb/Biogeography/Student%20Papers/2004/Battle/Burn/BIOGEOGRAPHY.htm "Biogeography of the Cuban Bee Hummingbird."
http://zar.co.za/ost.htm "Fun Facts About Ostrich Eggs"