Backyard Birds

Smallest Bird in Existence: Which is it – The Bee or the Bumble Bee Hummingbird ?

There is some controversy with respect to which bird is the smallest bird in existence:

Is it …


Both of these are easily mistaken for bumblebees due to the obvious similarity in size and foraging behavior. Bumblebees are also attracted to yellow and red colors – just like hummingbirds – and will also hover in front of flowers and hummingbird feeders to sip nectar through a long feeding tube. One has to be very close to really know whether this is a hummingbird or a bumble bee.

The Cuban Bee Hummingbird and the Mexican Bumblebee Hummingbird may share some ancestry, but are not closely related and are clearly separated geographically. As far as size is concerned, the Cuban Bee Hummingbird is slightly smaller than the Mexican Bumblebee Hummingbird — therefore, the smallest bird species is indeed the Cuban Bee Hummingbird. Then again, in nature, the sizes of individuals vary. So-called “runts” amongst the Mexican Bumblebee Hummingbirds may very well be comparable in size to the Cuban Bee Hummingbirds – but that is not the general rule.

The Smallest Bird Alive is …

Bee Hummingbirds are the smallest known living birds in the world – being comparable in size to bumble bees and are lighter than a Canadian or U.S. penny. Females are slightly larger than males.

Bee Hummingbirds measure mostly between 1.97 – 2.36 inches or 5 – 6 cm in length – including beak and tail, and they weigh between 0.06 – 0.07 oz or 1.6 – 1.9 g. Compare this the largest hummingbird is the giant hummingbird of South America, which is 8 inches or 20 cm long and weighs around 0.70 ounces (20 grams).

Bumblebee Hummingbirds are the second-smallest bird known to be in existence.

They average 2.75 inches or 7 cm in length and weigh, on average, 0.1 oz or 3 grams. They are comparable in size to bumble bees and are also lighter than a Canadian or U.S. penny.


Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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