Bee Hummingbird Fact Sheet

Common Name:

Bee Hummingbird / zunzuncito / Helena Hummingbird

Scientific Name:

Mellisuga helenae

Wild Status:

Near Threatened

Habitat:

Cuba's mogote areas, rarely near Zapata Swamp

Country:

Cuba & The Isle of Youth

Shelter:

Nests in trees

Life Span:

7 years in the wild, 10 in captivity

Size:

1.9 grams, and 2.2 inches long - Females slightly larger

Cool Facts:

  • Everyday the Bee Hummingbird can eat half of its own body weight in food, and drink up to 8 times its body weight in water.
  • The Bee Hummingbird is the smallest living bird on the planet.
  • Females are slightly larger than males, while males can have colorful plumage with red & pink feathers around the head and throat.
  • During courtship, the Bee Hummingbird can beat its wings 200 times per second!
  • They play an important role in plant reproduction by transferring pollen when they fly from flower to flower.

Details:

The Bee Hummingbird is a unique species of hummingbird that is known as the smallest living bird on the planet. They are endemic to Cuba, and primarily feed on the nectar of roughly 10 different plant species. Females are slightly larger than males, and will lay two eggs at a time that are roughly the size of a coffee bean. The Bee Hummingbird is mainly found within forests and at the forest edges, but has also been known to inhabit swamplands and mountain valleys. Habitat loss is the leading threat to the Bee Hummingbird population, along with some introduced predators such as rats and the mongoose.

Taxonomic Breakdown:

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

Conservation & Helping:

Currently the Bee Hummingbird is Near Threatened on the endangered species list.

For Teachers and Educators

Bee-Hummingbird-Fact-Sheet.pdf

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