Subscribe to BirdNote

Sign up to receive a weekly email preview of the following week's shows!

Sign Up
Support BirdNote

Help BirdNote tell more stories, reach more people, and inspire action.


You are here

Bee Hummingbird

A sight to behold!
© Dubi Shapiro View Large

The Bee Hummingbird, found only in Cuba, is the smallest bird in the world. An absolute miniature, even among hummingbirds, it measures only two and a quarter inches long. Often mistaken for bees, they weigh less than a dime. The female builds a nest barely an inch across, and lays eggs about the size of a coffee bean.
Support for BirdNote comes from Song Bird Coffee, offering bird-friendly organic shade-grown coffees for over 20 years. Learn more at

Full Transcript



Sizing Up the World’s Smallest Bird

Written by Bob Sundstrom

This is BirdNote.
[The AfroCuban Allstars - “Distinto Diferente”]
Would you like to see the world’s smallest bird? Then you’ll need to travel to Cuba.
Once on the island, your best bet for tracking down the tiny wonder is to visit a forest edge hung heavily with vines and bromeliads. There, hovering at the flowers — if you squint hard enough — you’ll find the Bee Hummingbird.
The Bee Hummingbird, which is found only in Cuba, is an absolute miniature, even among hummingbirds. It measures a mere two and a quarter inches long. Bee Hummingbirds are often mistaken for bees. They weigh less than two grams — less than a dime. That’s half the weight of our backyard hummers, like the Ruby-throated or Rufous. The female builds a nest barely an inch across. Her eggs are about the size of a coffee bean.
     ( In flight, the Bee Hummingbird’s tiny wings beat 80 times a second. And during a courtship flight, they beat up to 200 times per second! The male’s entire head and throat shine in fiery pinkish-red, and blazing red feathers point like spikes down the sides of the breast.
A sight to behold!
Writers for BirdNote include Bob Sundstrom, Dennis Paulson, Gordon Orians, Ellen Blackstone, Rick Wright, GrrlScientist, Todd Peterson, and Bryan Pfeiffer.
For BirdNote, I’m Mary McCann.
Support for BirdNote comes from Songbird Coffee: offering bird-friendly, organic, shade-grown coffees for over twenty years. Learn more at

Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. 121909 recorded by Gregory F Budney.
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Managing Producer: Jason Saul
Associate Producer: Ellen Blackstone
© 2017 Tune In to  September 2017  Narrator: Mary McCann

ID#         BEEH-01-2017-09-21                BEEH-01

Sights & Sounds

Related topics: