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Hummingbirds - The Bird that Personifies Diversity.
Fellow hubber Webismine asked this question: "How big is a hummingbird?"
Widely diverse and incredibly widespread, according to the book, Hummingbirds, by Melanie Votaw, "with over 340 known species, there are more different kinds of hummingbirds in the Americas than almost any other type of bird" - in more than 100 genera.
With surprising adaptability, these fascinating creatures "exist all the way from Alaska to the islands off the southern tip of South America, ranging in habitats as diverse as tropical forests, deserts, and the cold mountaintops of the Andes" - so continued the book.
The diversity of the hummingbird doesn't end there. These gorgeous creatures come in a rainbow of colors, possess a variety of tail lengths and bill shapes, and come in a variety of sizes.
Look fast - or you just might miss this tiny bee hummingbird
* From the Tiny Cuban Bee Hummingbird to the Giant Hummingbird and Everything In-between.
In relation to other birds, hummingbirds are considered to be the smallest birds in the world.
Many weigh no more than a penny, and are equivalent in size to a human thumb (as the norm, females are slightly larger than males) the hummingbird truly stands apart in regards to its unique size.
Listed below are several hummingbird species and their sizes:
- The Bee Hummingbird - about the size of a large bee, the bee hummingbird measures in around 1.8 grams (0.063 oz) with a length of 5 centimetres (2.0 in). The Cuban Bee hummingbird happens to be the tiniest - measuring in at 2 inches including bill and tail, and weighing in about 0.07 ounces - many dragonflies measuring in larger than this. - Hummingbirds - Jewels in Flight, by Connie Toops.
- The Rubby-throated/Black-chinned Hummingbird - only slightly larger than bee hummingbirds, the ruby-throated hummingbird measures in at 7-9 cm long with an 8-11 cm wingspan, and weighs about 3 g, while the black-chinned hummingbird measures in at 8.25 cm (3 1/4 inches) long. Both weigh as much as a penny.
- The White-tipped Sicklebill - these unique hummingbirds possess a curved bill and measure in at 4.7–5.5 in (12–14 cm) and weigh 0.3–0.35 oz (8–10 g) - females, while the males measure in at 0.35–0.44 oz (10–12.5 g).
- The Rufous Hummingbird - these feisty hummingbirds measure in at about 8 cm long (3 inches).
- The Fiery-throated Hummingbird - considered a medium sized hummingbird, these types measure in at 11cm long and weighs 5.7 g.
- The Blue-throated Hummingbird - this is a fairly large hummingbird compared to it's peers. It measure in at 11.5 to 12.5 cm (4½ to 5 inches) in length and weighs 6 to 10 grams.
- The Giant Hummingbird - measuring in at 21.5 cm (8 1/2 in) in length, and weighing in at 18-20 g (6/10 - 7/10 of an ounce), the giant hummingbird is the largest member of the hummingbird family.
Stunning photos of hummingbirds - plus cool hummingbird facts.
* More Cool Hummingbird Facts.
- The wing beat of a male ruby-throated hummingbird can reach a rate of 200 beats per second!
- Hummingbirds "can drink the nectar from as many as three thousand flowers a day, eating every ten minutes, and consuming up to 75% of their body weight. If humans had this metabolism, (they) would have to eat twenty thousand calories daily - about fifty pounds of sugar or three hundred pounds of hamburger - just to maintain (their) weight." - Hummingbirds, by Melanie Votaw.
- Rufous hummingbirds can migrate the longest distance and out-fly all of its hummingbird peers.
- Hummingbirds migrate alone, not in a flock.
- Over five billion hummingbirds migrate each and every year.
- Due to their bravery and often time aggressiveness, in addition to the wolf and the eagle, the Navajos refer to hummingbirds as a symbol of courage.
- Due to their beautiful plumage, during the late 1800s, hummingbird feathers were in such high demand that Nineteenth century collectors were purchasing stuffed hummingbirds to display; the feathers were used to decorate jewelry, hats, fans, and dresses; and the preserved skins of hummingbirds were shipped in barrels from ports in Colombia and Brazil to London and Paris- only to be auctioned off to fashion designers. The slaughter of these innocent creatures was so great, that by 1990, twenty-nine species of hummingbirds were classified as endangered. - Hummingbirds - Jewels in Flight, by Connie Toops.
- Only hummingbirds fly upside-down and in reverse.
- Hummingbirds have few natural enemies - no doubt due to their speed. However, on occasions praying mantises have been seen to nab a hummingbird while laying in wait on feeders or flowers.
Colorful, vibrant, vivacious, and stunning, in addition to its many colors and sizes, hummingbirds are truly a bird that personifies diversity.
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