<< Previous Next >>

Bee Hummingbird

Bee Hummingbird
Photo Information
Copyright: Tom and Martina Trnka Dobis (DOBIS) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 126 W: 16 N: 170] (632)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-05-06
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon 400D, 55-200 1:4.5-5.6
Exposure: f/9.0, 1/250 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-06-02 11:53
Viewed: 7727
Points: 8
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Bee Hummingbird

Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Trochiliformes
Family: Trochilidae
Genus: Mellisuga
Species:M. helenae

Binomial name
Mellisuga helenae

The Bee Hummingbird (Mellisuga helenae) is a hummingbird, and the smallest of all birds (with the male being smaller than the female of the species). It can be found in Cuba (where it is called the zunzuncito), including the Isle of Youth. Its mass is approximately 1.8 grams, which is lighter than a United States dime, and it is about 5 cm (2 inches) long.

The male has the pileum and fiery red throat, the iridescent gorget with elongated lateral plumes, bluish upper-parts, and the rest of the underparts mostly greyish white. The female is green above, whitish below with white tips to the outer tail feathers. While more apt to be mistaken for a bee than a bird because of the size, the bird is not a mimic.

Female bee hummingbirds are bluish green with a pale gray underside. The tips of their tailfeathers have white spots. Breeding males have a pink to red head, chin, and throat. Non-breeding males look like females, except that their wingtips have blue spots.

The bee hummingbird may be the world's smallest warm-blooded vertebrate, rivaled only by the Etruscan Shrew and the Bumblebee Bat. When flying, its wings beat 80 times per second, up to 200 times per second during courtship displays. Its heart rate is the second fastest of all animals. Bee hummingbirds also have the fewest feathers of all birds. Their body temperature is 40 °C (104 °F), the highest of all birds. At night, their body temperature drops down 19 °C (66 °F) to save energy. Bee hummingbirds eat half their total body mass and drink 8 times their total body mass in water each day. The bee hummingbird can be found in woodland, shrubbery, and gardens in Cuba and the Isle of Youth. Its nest, the smallest of all birds, and is only 3 cm across. The bee hummingbird's diet consists mainly of nectar and insects.

Have a nice day from Prague!

eng55 has marked this note useful
Only registered TrekNature members may rate photo notes.
Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
Only registered TrekNature members may write critiques.
You must be logged in to start a discussion.

Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2008-06-02 12:05]

Hello Tom and Martina,
Excellent detail, sharpness and composition. The colours and exposure are very good. Good POV.
Regards Siegfried

Bonita foto de este colibrí.
Siempre resulta muy atractivo, y dificil, conseguir una foto de un colibrí en vuelo mientras liban flores.
Bonita foto con un colorido y luz excelentes.

  • Great 
  • eng55 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1256 W: 42 N: 1976] (5892)
  • [2008-06-03 5:44]

Hi Tom and Martina,
Wonderful capture.POV,motion blur on wings,lighting and visual impact are excellent.
Thanks for posting.

Hi Tom and Martina,
You will have to excuse me. It has been a while since I have had the time to vet the bird ID's on TN.

To your bird. Missed ID. As soon as I saw the tail length I knew it was wrong. Both congeneric Mellisuga have extremely short tails, and the helenae the shortest of the two - it is extremely stubby.

Unfortunately, I can't see the bill, but I really don't need to. Small white postocular macula, white ventrally with green intruding onto the flanks from the also green dorsum, tail relatively long for a hummer and bifurcate. The ID: adult female Chlorostilbon ricordii (Cuban Emerald).

Calibration Check