Name: hummingbirds are a family of birds native to the Americas that are known for their incredible aerial agility. There are 338 known species in the family.
Appearance: hummingbirds are easily recognised by their incredible colours. They have special cells in their feathers which can split sunlight into different wavelengths. This creates the beautiful ever-changing iridescent displays.
Size: they are the smallest of all of the birds – with most species measuring just 7 to 13 cm long. The smallest species – the bee hummingbird – reaches just 5 cm and weighs less than 2 grams!
Diet: hummingbirds eat a variety of insects for food – such as mosquitos, flies, and gnats. For energy, they drink nectar from flowers.
Did you know: they are called hummingbirds because of the humming sound created by their rapidly beating wings. Some species have been recorded beating their wings up to 80 times in a second! They use their incredible wings to hover in mid-air and sip nectar from flowers. This requires a lot of energy and hummingbirds have one of the highest metabolic rates of all animals. To conserve energy at night they go into a state of hibernation.
Location: they are found across the Americas from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, including the Caribbean. The majority of species occur in the rain and cloud forests of Central and South America but some can be found in the Andean mountains at altitudes of up to 5,200 metres.
Where to see Hummingbirds
According to reports submitted to WildSide, you can see hummingbirds in the following places:
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Photo credit: Pexels under a Creative Commons licence from Pixabay