Hummingbirds (family Trochilidae) are small birds capable of hovering in mid-air due to the rapid flapping of their wings (15 to 80 beats per second, depending on the size of the bird). They are named for the characteristic hum of this rapid wing motion. They are the only birds that can fly backwards. Hummingbirds are attracted to many flowering plants—shrimp plants, fuchsias, many penstemons, etc.—especially those with red flowers. Hummingbirds feed on the nectar of these plants. They are important pollinators, especially of deep-throated flowers. Most species also eat insects. Male hummingbirds are usually brightly coloured, females duller. The males take no part in nesting. The nest is usually a neat cup in a tree. Two white eggs are laid, which are quite small, but large relative to the bird's size. Incubation is typically 14-19 days. The Bee Hummingbird (Mellisuga helenae) is, at 1.8 grams, the smallest bird in the world.













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A typical North American hummingbird, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) weighs approximately 3 grams and has a length of 7.6 cm (3 in). Hummingbirds have the highest metabolism of all animals, a necessity in order to support the rapid beating of their wings. Their heartbeat can reach 500 beats per minute. They also typically consume more than their own weight in food each day, and to do that, they have to visit hundreds of flowers every day. But at any given moment, they're hours away from starving. Fortunately, they are capable of slowing down their metabolism at night, or any other time food is not readily available. They enter a hibernation-like state known as torpor. During torpor, the heartrate and rate of breathing are both slowed dramatically, reducing their need for food.

Above Pictures From The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service





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