The smallest, most colorful and eye-catching type of birds is known as hummingbirds. They consist of several species which fall under the common family of Trochilidae. They are famous for being able to suspend in midair by flapping their wings. This is what produces the humming sound which gives them their common name. Another amazing skill exhibited by these birds is their backward flight. In fact, they are the only birds possessing this ability.
Despite all their amazing skills related to flying and hovering, they lack the basic sense of smell. On the contrary, their vision is appreciably sharp with a range which goes farther than that of human beings. They can even see the ultraviolet part of the spectrum of light. Similarly, their hearing ability is also stronger than the hearing of humans.
These interesting creatures reside in the western part of the globe. Their habitat varies from dry deserts to fresh tropical forests, cold mountainous areas as well as boreal forests. Most species are found in the US, ranging from Alaska in the north to Chile in the south.
These tiny birds are interesting to study, especially for animal lovers. Following are some amazing hummingbird facts and information.
- There are more than three hundred species, making them the second largest group of birds in the West.
- On average, their size ranges between 7cm and 13cm.
- Usually, the females are larger in size than the male birds of the same species.
- Bee hummingbird is the smallest specie with an average size of about 5 cm.
- Some species are so light that their weight is even less than the weight of a small coin.
- They can flap their wings at a speed of twelve to eighty times in a second while hovering in air.
- They are good at conserving energy. At night, their body temperature, heart beat rate and breathing rate drop to expend less energy. Similarly, during the shortage of food, they save energy by lowering their metabolism to one-fifteenth of its actual rate.
- Their flying speed can be as high as 15 meters per seconds.
- Most species have brightly colored bodies. They have the ability to flash as well as hide the colors to evade predators.
- They have sharp memories which help them remember each and every flower they have visited for nectar.
- When active, their heart beat rate equals 1,260 beats per minute. However, when resting or conserving energy, their heart beat drops to 250 times a minute.
- Although they are skillful at flying, they are not good at walking owing to their frail feet. For this reason, they mostly prefer to fly.
- Their flight muscles make up thirty percent of their total body muscles.
- On average, they can live up to five years. However, most of them usually die just after one year of birth.
- They are migratory birds. They travel in winters to find warm areas where they can survive.
- They have the ability to rotate their wings around completely at 360 degrees.
- These small birds can be surprisingly aggressive.
- When agitated, the males chase other males till they drive them out of their own territory.
- Only the females build the nest and are not helped by the males in raising the young.
- Often, the area around the throat and chin is brightly colored. It is referred to as gorget.
- If the area around the forehead and crown is also colored brightly and differs in shade from the rest of the body, it is called a helmet.
- Their bills are also vividly colored. Sometimes, the color at the tip differs from the rest of the beak
Types of Hummingbirds
There are more than three hundred species of these beautiful birds. Following are the names of ten popular types of hummingbirds along with the colors of their body.
- Anna's grey chest with green feathers on the back.
- Ruby Throated grey backs and white necks with ruby colored throats in the case of males.
- Black Chinned black and glossy necks and chins, and beige bodies with greenish and dark brown tinge around the wings.
- Costa's glistening green plumage and white throats.
- Buff-bellied metal green bodies and rusty orange coloration around the sides.
- Lucifer metallic green color at the crowns and shiny purple throats.
- Broad-bellied dark brown wings, green breast, blue throat and red beak.
- Blue Throated green at the back and crown with blue throats
- Beryline grey belly with vivid green plumage.
- White Eared emerald green back, bluish green breast and red beak with a blue tip.
There are hundreds of more species with their distinctive colors. Each one is attractive and unique.
The above description of the physical appearance of a few of the species must have intrigued you. In order to actually witness their beauty, you can look at hummingbird pictures. You can find lots of photos on the internet. In fact, proper catalogues and image galleries can be found on the website dedicated to the information about these lovely birds.
These photos will help you identify and differentiate among all the species. Moreover, the differentiation between males and females can also be seen. At times, the male and female members of the same species possess different colors and slightly different physical traits. It will be interesting to notice these differences through photos.