Meet Zunzuncito – Sometimes Known As The “Bee Hummingbird”
Quite possibly the most adorable living thing in the world, Zunzuncito is world famous… and smaller than you can believe.
Also known as “the bee hummingbird”, this gorgeous, tiny little creature is endemic to Cuba. And if you ever find yourself around some flowering gardens in Cuba, chances are you might be able to spot Zunzuncity… although you’d have to look closely. This bird – the world’s smallest bird – is the size of a large insect. By the way, did you know that peacocks could fly??
How Big Do They Get When They Are Fully Grown?
There’s a pretty sizeable difference between the females and males of this species. The female bee hummingbird Zunzuncito is a little bit larger, and even has more green in her feathers. The male tends to be smaller and more blue. Because of this, it’s relatively easy to tell them apart.
As an adult, the world’s smallest bird is around 61 mm long from beak to tail. The male grows to be about 55 mm. Weighing in between 1.9 and 2.6 grams, you can see why these birds tend to be a bit skittish! The female Zunzuncito is fiercely protective over her tiny little eggs, partly because she raises them without the male, and partly because they’re all so darn small.
Being Small Is Both A Blessing And A Curse
It’s hard to be so tiny. While you’re super popular with bird photographers and you can dip in and out of small spaces, you’re also prone to becoming a snack.
Another fascinating factor that Zunzuncito has to contend with is the fact that as a warm-blooded animal, if you’re small you can heat up real quick. This is because of the ratio of their exposed surface area to the volume of their bodies.
Because of this, you’re a heat machine. Now factor in beating your wings up to 80 times a second, and it’s hard to keep up with that kind of a metabolism!
You Wouldn’t Believe How Much They Need To Eat
A bee hummingbird usually eats about half its weight in nectar and tiny insects… every single day. In order to meet this quota, they hum their way to around 1,500 flowers in a day. Because of this, they are also a crucial part of plant pollination in the areas they’re found in Cuba.
Due to the fact that they burn so much energy, they tend to go into a daily “torpor”, which is like a bird version of hibernation. Where hibernation lasts for extended periods of time, the torpor of Zunzuncito is quick. This phase helps to reduce its energy use drastically, which is especially helpful when weather conditions don’t allow for much feeding.
Don’t Believe Everything You Read (Or See) About Zunzuncito!
This tiny little bird is the subject of much conversation, especially because people love cute things. As a result, gossip and half-truths can circulate very quickly online.
For example, in 2019, this photograph was shared all over the world of this tiny bird.
It was quickly debunked, however photographs are so powerful and very few people stick around to find out if things are true or not.
The photograph is not actually Zunzuncito, but a figurine by a Bulgarian artist who creates tiny sculptures.
Like anything, don’t believe everything you read about the bee hummingbird! The internet is a strange place.
- Related: These tiny Honduran bats are almost as cute as Zunzuncito!