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The word "animal" comes from the Latin word animale, neuter of animalis, and is derived from anima, meaning vital breath or soul. In everyday colloquial usage, the word usually refers to non-human animals. The biological definition of the word refers to all members of the Kingdom Animalia. Therefore, when the word "animal" is used in a biological context, humans are included.
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About Bee Hummingbird - World's Smallest Bird

Posted by WishbonE at 12:57 AM

Friday, November 7, 2008

About Bee Hummingbird - World's Smallest Bird

The male Bee Hummingbird is the smallest known bird in the world. The female, pictured here, is slightly larger. Male bee hummingbirds (mellisuga helenae), which live in Cuba, weigh 0.056 ounces and are 2.75 inches in length. Its body is about the size of a large bee. The bill and tail account for half of this length.

Like all hummingbirds, Bee Hummingbird is a swift, strong flier. hey also spend a higher percentage of their lives flying than any other species. It also can hover over one spot like a helicopter. The bee hummingbird beats its wings an estimated 80 times per second - so fast that the wings look like a blur to human eyes. hey have specially adapted flight muscles, which make up 22 to 34 percent of their total body weight. Mellisuga helenae (and other hummingbirds) are also equipped with a large keel and tapered wings, which aid in flying. As is common among other hummingbirds, their shoulder joints allow their wings to rotate 180 degrees and their small feet and legs can only be used for perching.

The brilliant, iridescent colors of the bee hummingbird's feathers make the bird seem like a tiny jewel. But the iridescence isn't always noticeable. It depends on the angle at which a person looks at the bird. The bird's slender, pointed bill is designed for probing deep into flowers. The bee hummingbird feeds mainly on nectar. With a tongue shaped like a long tube,the bird sucks up nectar-and an occassional insect or spiders - just as if it were using a drinking straw. In the process of feeding,the bird picks up pollen on it's bill and head. When it flies from flower to flower, it transfers the pollen. In this way, it plays an important role in plant reproduction.

Using bits of cobwebs, bark, and lichen, the female bee hummingbird builds a cup-shaped nest that is only about 1 inch in diameter. She lines the nest with soft plant fibers. In this nest she lays her eggs, which are smaller than coffee beans. She alone incubates the eggs and raises the young.

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