Family

CHAPTER

phylum class subclass order monotypic order suborder family

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Hummingbirds received their name because of the humming sound their wings make. They have powerful wings and can fly backwards, upside down, and quickly change direction. Hummingbirds hover when feeding, remaining motionless in the air. They feed by dipping their long bills and long, forked tongues into flowers.

Hummingbirds range in size from the bee hummingbird, which is 2.25 inches (5.7 centimeters) long, to the giant hummingbird, which is 8.5 inches (21.6 centimeters) long.

Hummingbirds are sometimes called "flying jewels" because of their colorful plumage, feathers. Some feathers are iridescent, which means the colors appear to change depending on where light shines on the plumage. Males are usually more colorful than females. Plainer coloring helps the female stay hidden from predators that would hunt the female and young.

GEOGRAPHIC RANGE

Hummingbirds live in North, Central, and South America.

HABITAT

Hummingbirds live in coniferous forests where trees do not undergo seasonal change. They range in rainforests where year-round rain produces abundant growth and in deciduous forests where trees shed leaves during certain seasons. They are also found in grasslands, deserts, and wetlands like swamps.

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