Hummingbird (Trochili) is a suborder of long-winged birds. One family with 319 species. They live in America (from South Alaska and Labrador to Tierra del Fuego); especially diverse in the tropics. Body length from 5.7 to 21.6 cm, weigh from 1.6 to 20 g. The plumage of males is usually very bright; females are dimmer.
The flight is fast (up to 80 km / h), maneuverable, reminiscent of the flight of hawk moths. Small species of hummingbirds in flight emit a buzzing with their wings, as they make up to 80 beats per second (large ones - only 8-10). Hummingbirds feed on flowers, sucking nectar on the fly, and also collect insects and spiders on plants or catch in the air. The huge energy consumption for flight and heat transfer is covered by high-calorie food (for example, nectar). Hummingbirds cannot maintain an intensive metabolism around the clock, therefore, at night, in the cold and with a lack of food, they fall into a daze; at the same time, the body temperature drops from 39-43 ° C to 14.5-21 ° C, and the exchange is sharply reduced.
They live wherever there are flowers: in deserts, gardens, forests, mountain meadows - from sea level to 4500 m (in the Andes). Overflights; fly away for the winter from the extreme northern and southern parts of the range, for the period of drought - from the deserts. Polygams; a female builds a nest, incubates eggs and feeds chicks. Nests in trees, bushes, some species stick nests with saliva to rocks or leaves, just like swifts. In clutch there are 2 white eggs, incubation for 14-19 days. Hummingbirds are useful as plant pollinators. The number of many species of hummingbirds has declined sharply as they were exterminated in masses, using skins as decoration.
The hummingbird is the smallest bird on earth. The largest hummingbird is the giant (Patagona gigas), which lives in the South American Andes, and it reaches a size of only 22 centimeters and weighs 20 grams. The smallest - the dwarf bee (Mellisuga minima), which lives in Cuba and the island of Pinos, with a body length of 5.7 centimeters, has a weight of 1.6 grams. Interestingly, the beak and tail take up half of the hummingbird's body length.
In hummingbirds, everything is very small. Its nest is the size of a half of a walnut shell, and the egg laid into it looks more like a pea.
The hummingbird is one of the most beautiful living creatures. Their strikingly beautiful metallic finish can change with lighting and viewing angles. It is no coincidence that hummingbirds are compared to precious stones, calling them "ruby-throated hummingbirds" (Archilochus colubris), "mountain star" (Oreotrochilus leucopleurus), "flying amethyst", "fire topaz", "sun god", "emerald neck" or "topaz hummingbird" ". Male hummingbirds are brighter in color than females.
Hummingbirds feed on nectar. The process of absorption of food in these birds occurs right on the fly. Making its wings up to 80-150 beats per second, the hummingbird hovers over the calyx of the flower, launches its sharp beak into it and sucks out tasty and nutritious plant food with the end of its tongue folded into a tube. At the same time, it would be wrong to think that hummingbirds live exclusively on flower food - the main food of hummingbirds (for many species and exclusive) is small insects, which birds collect from flowers and leaves nearest to them. In some cases, hummingbirds are not averse to feasting on captives of spiders, as well as insects flying past them.
Hummingbirds are often eaten. Forces them to this way of life, in which a lot of heat and energy is spent. To replenish the nutritional reserves of its body, the hummingbird is forced to eat every ten minutes, thus eating almost twice its own body weight per day.
Hummingbirds live only in America. The hummingbird habitat covers not only the tropical and subtropical zones of America, but also includes the rest of this continent - up to Alaska. The main condition for the life of hummingbirds are flowers, and, therefore, forests, mountain meadows and gardens. It is noteworthy that some tropical species of hummingbirds prefer to stay high in the mountains, outside the belt of woody vegetation (for example, the Chimboraz hummingbird (Oreotrochilus chimborazo), a number of species simply choose a particular peak, within which they live.
Hummingbirds can go into lethargic sleep. This is due to the fact that the body temperature of a hummingbird can change depending on the ambient temperature: during the day it is - 39-40 degrees Celsius, at night - it drops to 18, while the bird's breathing slows down, and it itself falls into a kind of lethargic sleep.
Hummingbirds have the longest beak among birds. More precisely, in one of its species - the sword-billed hummingbird (Ensifera ensifera), the beak of which is much longer than the entire body of the bird. This type of hummingbird is considered the longest-billed among all the birds in the world. In addition, the hummingbird's beak has a number of features that distinguish it from the beaks of other birds: the absence of bristles at the base of the beak, a long and strongly forked tongue, which the hummingbird can push out of its mouth to a distance inaccessible to other birds.
The hummingbird has a large and strong heart. The hummingbird heart occupies almost half of the body cavity of the bird and is almost three times the size of the stomach in volume. Unlike other birds, hummingbirds have much more red blood cells, and the heart rate in some species reaches 1000-1200 beats per minute.
Hummingbirds are sedentary birds. This statement can be applied to most hummingbird species, however, not to all - as among these birds there are migratory species (the ruby-throated hummingbird and the red fire-bearer, for example, winter in Mexico).
Hummingbirds are polygamous. They do not form married couples. The female takes care of the offspring, starting with the construction of the nest and ending with feeding the hatched chicks, in splendid isolation.
Hummingbird paws are not adapted for walking. The long-clawed paws of the hummingbird are not only very small, but also weak.
The hummingbird does not fly like all birds. Unlike other birds, the baby hummingbird can fly both with its head and with its tail forward. It will not be difficult for her to hover in space in one place, take off almost vertically, like a helicopter, and also plummet down. This is primarily due to the highly developed, flexible wings of the bird, consisting in fact only of feathers and large, strong muscles. The hummingbird wing can change the angle of the swing and move not only up and down, but also back and forth. It is customary to distinguish between three types of hummingbird flight: forward flight, backward flight and hovering in the air. In the latter case, the bird's wings describe a figure eight, which allows it to maintain balance regardless of the movement of its body in space.
Hummingbirds fly fast. Dexterous and agile, they are capable of covering 80 kilometers. Large species of hummingbirds usually do up to 8-10 beats per second, while small ones practically buzz their wings, making about 80 beats per second.