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Bee hummingbirds

(Mellisuga helenae)


Category: Birds



Bee hummingbirds (Mellisuga helenae), native to Cuba, weigh about as much as a dime and are about 2.5” long, eat their weight in nectar every day, and lay the smallest eggs of any bird. Like all hummingbirds, these amazing creatures have heartrates that can go over 1000 beats per minute and wings that can flap 80 or more times per second – yes, that’s per second. Bee hummingbirds are not “pets,” in that they are not domesticated, but with hummingbird feeders and specific flowers, they will respond to invitations to gather food on your property, a treat for the many people who enjoy watching, listening to, and caring for them. The bee hummingbird’s estimated life span is about 10 years, with documented lives of banded birds reaching 11 years.


Data & Facts

Scientific Classification
Kingdom - Animalia
Phylum - Chordata
Class - Aves
Order - Apodiformes
Family - Trochilidae
Genus - Mellisuga
Species - M. helenae

Did you know?
Interesting Animal Facts

“Bird Brain” should be taken as a compliment.

Calling someone a “bird brain” is an insult, but perhaps it should be reconsidered given how many birds display high intelligence and adaptability. For just a few examples, the kea from New Zealand can solve logical puzzles and work with other birds in order to acquire food, observations of Cormorants used by Chinese fishermen indicate that the birds can count up to seven, and many species of birds use simple tools such as sticks to help them acquire food or other items that catch their fancy! There is also a cockatoo named Snowball who can dance to the beat of Billy Idol’s “Dancing With Myself,” though whether this indicates intelligence or not may be a matter of debate or personal taste.

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