Bumblebee hummingbirds, the smallest bird in the world and actually the size of a bumblebee, boast a beautiful coat of feathers and wings that make insect-like noises when in flight. Males don a bright pink throat. The tiny, compact size of this bird allows it to fly freely in territories that are occupied by other species. Humid and semi-humid forests are home to these tiny birds.
The highlands of Mexico, Cuba, and the Isle of Pines are home to the Bumblebee Hummingbird, also known as Atthis heloisa. The beautiful little birds have also been known to call Haiti and Jamaica home. Though they are normally found in their native Mexico, in July 1986, two female Bumblebee Hummingbirds were found in the Huachuca Mountains in southwestern United States.
Bumblebee Hummingbirds prefer to remain at low heights in their habitats to gather nectar from their lush habitat. In a single day, they will consume nectar and insects that equal up to half of their own body weight. They feed on a wide range of flowers, including Opuntia, Salvia, Ipomea heredifolia, and Salvia mexicana. They also seek arthropods, such as spiders and centipedes. These are staples in their diets when they aren't feeding from one of the forest's beautiful and fragrant flowers. These thirsty little birds will drink up to eight times their own body weight each day.
Behavior and Reproduction
Bumblebee Hummingbirds are quite the introverts, as they are often seen flying alone. Solitary lifestyles are a common trait of many species of hummingbirds. These tiny hummingbirds are classified as subordinate to larger species of hummingbirds by biologists. Breeding had been reported to take place from April to July as well as the month of December. Male birds form groups in which females will visit. Males will compete with one another to win the attention of the female. An independent female, she will build her nest, incubate the eggs, and care for the baby birds all on her own.
Lifespan and Other Facts
The lifespan of a Bumblebee Hummingbird is not completely known, but bee hummingbirds, a similar species of hummingbird, live from one to seven years in the wild. Fortunately, Bumblebee Hummingbirds are not at risk of being endangered and there are no conservation concerns at present. Their main predators are larger birds, frogs, tropical spiders, and fish. When singing, they produce a high "chip" sound and males sing their hearts out when trying to attract a female.
Pamela Miller has been writing for health, beauty and animal health/welfare publications for seven years. Miller holds a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Communication from MTSU.