The Smallest Birds In The World
The Smallest Birds In the World
Welcome to our feature “The smallest birds in the world”:The Red Billed Streamer tailed Hummingbird (Trochilus polytmus) Listed among the twenty eight endemic birds of Jamaica ,this hummingbird is one of the envy of the bird kingdom for more than one reasons. It is the only hummingbird in the world with two long tail feathers and the emerald green chest feathers are the most vibrant color on any bird.
The streamer tailed hummingbird has many other names. “God Bird, Dr. Bird or the scissors tailed humming bird.”
Hummingbirds are classified as the smallest birds on the planet Earth. Jamaica has three species of humming birds (and one sub specie.)
The Jamaican Mango Hummingbird which is the largest of the three species. It is a dark purple humming bird with different shades of purples and pinks when tail and wings are extended.
The Vervain Hummingbird also known as the “moth humming bird,” Is the second smallest bird in the world, the smallest being the “Bee Humming Bird” which is endemic to Cuba.
The Red Billed streamer tail Hummingbird is the third specie but we also have a sub specie known as the Black Billed Streamer Tailed Humming Bird which is only found on the eastern side of the island. From my observations it is smaller and its coloring is not as vibrant an emerald green as that of the red billed, making this one of the most beautiful of “The smallest birds in the world”.
Hummingbirds have another quality which sets them apart from all other birds. They have the ability to fly up and down, from side to side, rotate their wings 360 degrees and hover.
This requires lots of energy, A hummingbird must eat half its body weight and drink more than eight times its body weight every day. Many are found in gardens and it helps them to live longer if feeders are placed to help them especially during the times when blooms are limited. They are found from the coasts to the mountains in Jamaica.
As noticed throughout the bird kingdom the male is the most colourful or dramatic of the specie. For instance the red billed streamer tailed hummingbird’s beak is bright red while the female’s is grey, The chest of the male is a fluorescent emerald green while the female is pale grey almost white. Then the topper of all? Only the male has the two long tail feathers. Not fair at all.
It is easy to spot the male because of its red beak and emerald green chest and long tail feathers. However immature or molting males do not have the long tail feathers.
Hummingbirds are territorial and can be seen and heard as they defend their feeder or favourite bloom from other hummingbirds. I have noticed in my garden there is an alfa male we have named Rudy.
All our birds are wild but they are aware of humans and have learned to trust us. Rudy even seems to have the ability to communicate. He will dart to someone’s face when there is a lizard on the feeder then dart back to the feeder chirping away and continue darting between the human and feeder till we get up and chase the lizard away. It also does this when the feeder is empty. The best of both worlds for the hummingbirds in our Ahhh…Some garden.
We started adding feeders to our garden in 2003 after Hurricane Ivan destroyed every single plant and bloom in our garden. To see hummingbirds falling to the ground because they had no food, we created feeders from bottles and taught them to feed from them. That year we lost most of our hummingbirds but a few survived. The youngest ones were open to trying a new way to feed.
We picked them up from the ground and stuck the beaks in the opening on a feeder , as they extended the long tongue , slowly but surely they regained enough strength to fly and perch in front of the bottle to feed. Today we still have feeders we make throughout our garden. Every hummingbird knows they are there and they use them in addition to the nectar of the blooms. We hope you enjoyed this feature on “The smallest birds in the world”.
At Ahhh…Ras Natango Gallery and Garden Tour we believe in any eco system every plant or animal has its place and use.. Come visit us and enjoy our humming birds and capture your own imaged. We are your premier provider of the best tours in Jamaica. Simply Ahhh…Mazing.