Bee Hummingbird – Full Steam Ahead!
Small but fierce. Gusto. Full steam ahead. Your power is underestimated, but you know your inner fire. Flashes of insight. Reach. Unique relationships. A fierce inner flame. Living life at a different speed to others. Rushing around. Close friends are better than many acquaintances. Flower essences and magic. Moving at speed. Fashion is a language.
The bee hummingbird (zunzuncito) – Mellisuga helenae – is the world’s smallest bird, and is endemic to Cuba. The iridescence on their feathers is not always noticeable, and depends greatly on the angle at which they’re viewed. Their long bills are perfectly adapted for reaching deeply into flowers for nectar, and they can only feed from approximately ten plants, being remarkably co-evolved. The pollen that deposits on its bill and head helps with pollination. They can consume half of their body weight in food per day.
Bee hummingbirds are strong, fast flyers despite their size, and in one day can visit 1,500 flowers, with wings that beat around 80 times per second. They will also eat spiders and insects. They are notably plump in appearance, unlike other small hummingbirds. Their eggs are the size of coffee beans or peas. It is speculated that they may have the second fastest animal heartbeat in the world, at 1,260 beats per minute.
Males court females with display dives, and making sounds with their tail feathers. During courting displays, males can beat their wings up to 200 times a second. Females make tiny cup-shaped nests, using cobwebs, lichen, and bark. They will line the inside of their nests with soft plant fibres. Offspring are cared for by their mother for nearly three weeks. Because of their small size they have a wide range of predators, like birds, mongoose, bees, wasps, frogs, spiders, and fish. However, the biggest impact to their survival is human activity.