THE BEE HUMMINGBIRD
THE SMALLEST BIRD IN THE WORLD
Photo by Richard Peek
The bee hummingbird is the smallest bird in the world, and it is found only on the island of Cuba. An interesting and unusual thing about this species is that the male hummingbird only has his iridescent pink/red head and gorget feathers during the mating season. After mating, he will lose these feathers and replace them with drab ones. This may be an adaptation to protect the tiny bird from predators. The female is slightly larger than the male and only measures about 5 - 6 cm (approx. 2 inches).
The bee hummingbird is found in the coastal forests, mountain valleys and interior forests of Cuba, preferring the lowland areas. Their favorite flower is Solandra grandiflora, a vine that has large ornamental flowers. While these birds were once abundant, their numbers have greatly diminished due to habitat loss. Much of Cuba's land has been converted for agricultural uses, and the little bird is now confined to smaller and smaller areas. They are classified as Near Threatened.