Hummingbirds may be among the smallest of all bird species, but they are also some of the best known. What they lack in size they make up for in heart, beauty and colouration which is why their popularity is so enduring They are known as hummingbirds because of the sound created by their beating wings. They achieve this by rapidly flapping their wings 12–80 times per second, at this speed hummingbirds are able to hover in mid-air.

Where do hummingbirds live?

Andean hillstar hummingbird
Hummingbirds are only found in the Americas, from southern Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, including the Caribbean. The majority of hummingbird species occur in tropical and subtropical Central and South America, but several species also breed in temperate climates. Surprisingly, some hillstar hummingbirds occur even in alpine Andean highlands at altitudes of up to 17,100 ft!

The greatest number of species are found in  the humid tropical and subtropical forests of the northern Andes and adjacent foothills. However, the number of hummingbird species found in the Atlantic Forest, Central America or southern Mexico also far exceeds the number found in southern South America, the Caribbean islands, the United States and Canada.

Ruby throated hummingbird
While fewer than 25 different species of hummingbirds have been recorded from the United States and fewer than 10 from Canada and Chile each, Colombia alone has more than 160 and the comparably small Ecuador has about 130 species.

Only the migratory Ruby-throated Hummingbird breeds in North America.

The Black-chinned Hummingbird, its close relative and another migrant, is the most widespread and common species in the western United States, while the Rufous Hummingbird is the most widespread species in eastern United States.

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