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Hummingbirds: tiny little Birds with a Huge AttitudePicture Hummingbird
Hummingbirds are among the smallest of the North American birds.
Many hummingbirds are less than 3 inches in overall length.
In spite of their tiny size, males of this species, like many other
hummingbirds, are fiercely territorial.
Hummingbirds are known for their rapid flight and strong wing beat
which is so rapid, it produces a hum. It's wings beating 55 to 75 times
per second, the hummingbird is often seen hovering or darting in a
quick zizag pattern. They can fly upward, backward, forward and
However, the hummingbird is a very small bird and if measured in
ratio to body weight of other birds, the wing beats of a hummingbird
are actually slower than most other birds.
A hummingbird's metabolic rate is very high, more than 600 heartbeats
per minute which means it must feed almost constantly during the day.
They feed on nectar and tiny insects found within flowers, hovering
in front of the flower as they reach for their food with their long,
To move away from the flowers, hummingbirds must fly backwards,
and they are the only birds capable of this maneuver.
The slender bills of hummingbirds vary in size and amount of
curvature according to the size and shape of the flowers favored
by each species
Most hummingbirds are brightly colored and iridescent, commonly
metallic green. The throat is often glittering red, blue, or emerald green,
usually in males only.
Most hummingbirds build small cup-shaped nests covered with
lichens, spider webs, and small pieces of bark, saddled on a branch.
Two white eggs are laid, incubated only by the female.
Hummingbirds are found almost everywhere in the Americas, and
even as far as the Arctic Circle, but the majority of the hummingbird
species inhabit tropical South America.
Ruby Throated Hummingbird
The ruby-throated hummingbird, is the only hummingbird which nests
east of the Mississippi River. It is about 4 inches long and is noted for
its long-distance migration, annually flying non-stop across the Gulf
of Mexico, about 500 miles.
The adult male is metallic green above; below, its throat is a bright
ruby color, its breast is white, and its abdomen is gray marked with
green at the sides. The female is somewhat duller in general body
color and lacks the red throat patch. Juveniles of both genders are
similar to the female.
Hummingbirds make up the family Trochilidae of the order Apodiformes.
Types of North American Hummingbirds Include:
Black Chinned Hummingbird
Blue Throated Hummingbird
Broad Billed Hummingbird
Broad Tailed Hummingbird
Buff Bellied Hummingbird
Ruby Throated Hummingbird
Violet Crowned Hummingbird
White Eared Hummingbird
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