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Hummingbird – a group of very unusual birds, including 330 species. They were isolated in a separate squad Kolibriobraznyh. Systematically close to hummingbirds swifts, with whom they previously combined in one unit. But these birds are so original that even little resemblance to their relatives.
Hummingbirds are famous for their extremely small dimensions: length of most species fit into a couple of centimeters, weight of 2-4 g, even the largest species – a giant hummingbird – has a length of 20 cm, of which half is the tail. These are the tiny bird and one of the smallest vertebrates in general. body proportions among hummingbirds remind passerine birds: a medium-sized head, short neck, rather long wings. But they are short legs and very weak. Interestingly, hummingbirds can sit on the branches, hugging their legs and can not move on the ground.
But these birds legs almost do not need, because most of their lives they spend in flight. The manner of movement of these unique birds. The fact that there is no hummingbirds in flight or hovering phase of planning, when the bird moves on outstretched wings. Instead, hummingbirds continually flap their wings at a frequency of reaching up to 100 strokes per second! This method of transportation requires a huge amount of energy. For comparison, suffice it to say that if a man could wave his hands as fast, his body would be heated to a temperature of 400 ° C! To reduce energy consumption in the hummingbird has a number of valuable tools. Firstly, the bones are fused in between the wings themselves is such that the wing forms a single plane and the bearing surface is increased.
The wings of hummingbirds on a structure more like the wings of butterflies, not the birds.
To swing this wing of the hummingbird increased mobility of the shoulder joint. Secondly, at the heart of the huge size of hummingbirds and it occupies 40-50% of the volume of the body! The level of metabolism of these birds is very high, in order to survive they have to constantly eat. Different species of hummingbirds highly variable shape of the beak and tail. Beak can be pointy, short, long subulate or strongly curved in an arc. The tail is usually short, tuposrezanny, sometimes long or fork. The plumage of these birds have small feathers fixed in the skin slightly. The feathers of hummingbirds has all the colors of the rainbow, although each species individually painted not as gaudy as parrots, for example. The feathers of hummingbirds have another interesting feature – they are different refract the light falling on them from different angles. Therefore, coloring of the same area of the body can vary, depending on which side to look at him – is a hummingbird to turn his head and modest greenish color of purple fire breaks out. No wonder these birds are called avian jewels!
All kinds of hummingbirds live in the New World. These birds have reached the greatest diversity in South and Central America, North America, they are found only in the southern part of it. The only exception is rubinovogorly hummingbirds, whose range reaches the Rocky Mountains and Canada. In connection with living in the harsh conditions of this kind makes seasonal flights to Mexico – during the flight birds overcome the distance in the 4000-5000 km! To overcome such a great distance hummingbird speed helps, because these chips are flying at speeds up to 80 km / h. Other species are settled. All kinds of hummingbirds live only in the forests. The range of some species can be very limited (these are called endemic species).
Living hummingbirds alone. This is a very moving birds that constantly fly in search of food. They are active only in the daytime, but at night … The fact is that due to the rapid metabolism of a hummingbird night is equivalent to a few weeks of life for the individual. Spend as much time without eating a hummingbird can not afford, so the arrival of dusk these birds fall into a stupor, which is comparable to the hibernation of bears. During torpor hummingbird heartbeat slows down, the body temperature drops to 17-21 ° C. With the first rays of the sun, “Sleeping Beauty” keep warm and alive.
Due to the high energy needs at a hummingbird special gastronomic predilections were formed. They feed these birds only nectar and pollen. These food rich in carbohydrates but poor in protein. To fill the need for protein hummingbirds feed on small insects. Different species of hummingbirds prefer nectar of various plants, some species are so highly specialized that they can only feed on plants of the same species! It is from this and depends on the shape of the beak in different species. Hummingbirds are very voracious and eat the amount of food a day to 2 times their body weight.
Northern species of hummingbirds breed in summer, rain – all year round. Male zealously protects his land, but restricts the care of procreation mating with the female, the other chores fall on her shoulders. The female builds a nest hemispherical mold of the finest blades, hairs and even the web.
The nest is located on the thin ends of branches, wood inaccessible to predators, sometimes it is attached to the leaves and other appropriate subjects.
The female lays two tiny eggs (egg weight of the smallest species is 2 mg!) And incubates them 16-18 days.
Hatched chicks she feeds on nectar, which sucks in the beak and transports to the nest. It happens that the chicks are waiting for his mother fall into a stupor of hunger. Returning female shakes them and literally force-fed, because the life of hummingbirds so dependent on food. Chicks grow very quickly and leave the nest after 20-25 days.
In nature, hummingbirds are victims of tree snakes and tarantulas that await them in the green. His contribution to the destruction of these wonderful birds and man made. No matter how ridiculous it sounds, but a hummingbird is produced for the sake of … iridescent feathers. Even a small smuggling put on risk the survival of entire species, because many hummingbirds have a very narrow range. These birds can be kept in captivity, but care must be taken to have constant access to nutritious feed. Starving hummingbirds instantly weakens stops moving and is desperately trying to keep warm by covering the tiny body wings. Hummingbirds are striking in their inner strength, vitality and at the same time some particularly fragile. It seems that these birds are associated with the life of the finest yarns and only depends on the person the future of these beautiful creatures.

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