Which Bird Lays the Smallest Egg?

Hummingbird eggs are among the smallest eggs ever laid by birds.
Hummingbird eggs are among the smallest eggs ever laid by birds.

The smallest egg on record was laid by the Vervain hummingbird as recorded in October 1998. However, the record seems to be going back and forth between the Bee hummingbird and the Vervain hummingbird. The record in 1998 indicates that the smallest egg laid by any bird measured less than 10mm in length and weighed about 0.365g. This egg was laid by the Vervain hummingbird which is native to Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

The bee hummingbird is the smallest bird in the world and goes by other names such as zunzuncito, or Helena hummingbird. Recently, the Guinness Book of World Records indicates that the smallest egg laid by any bird belongs to the bee hummingbird. Usually, the bee hummingbird lays eggs that weigh only 0.0009 ounces and measure 0.275 inches long (6.985mm).

Apart from laying the smallest eggs of any bird, the bee hummingbird is also the lightest bird in the world. A fully mature bee hummingbird weighs only 0.07 ounces.

The Bee Hummingbird

The bee hummingbird is only 2.4cm long and weighs 0.07-0.09 ounces making it the smallest bird in the world. It is close in size to a bee and hence its name. The Vervain hummingbird in the second-smallest bird in the world with a typical length of 6 cm and lays among the smallest eggs in the world.

The bee hummingbird is a strong and swift flier found in subtropical and tropical lowland forests. The favorite source of food for the bee hummingbird is nectar from shrubs and flowers, just like most other species of hummingbird. Particularly, the most popular source of nectar for the bee hummingbird is the cup of gold vine. It has been noted that most popular plants species preferred are endemic to Cuba. These include Pavonia paludicola, Turnera ulmifolia, and Forsteronia corymbosa.

Breeding Habits

The bee hummingbird breeds between March and June which is the end of the rainy season and beginning of the dry season. Breeding rituals are performed by the male hummingbird in order to win a mate. Such rituals include a colorful display, singing and flight displays which are intended to win over a female. Once the ritual is done, mating takes place and the male bee hummingbird leaves the female to build a nest and raise the youngsters.

They lay two eggs which are pea-sized. The female then incubates the eggs for 14 days after which the chicks hatch. The chicks depend wholly on their mother’s protection and warmth until they are able to fend for themselves.

Role In Bird-Plant co-evolution

Bee hummingbirds are important players in bird-plant coevolution. They depend fully on flowers for nectar and in the process aid in the reproduction of the plants by transferring pollen grains from one flower to another. The bill is slender and pointed and is adapted to seeking deep into the flower for sweet nectar. It is estimated that a single bird can visit over 1500 flowers in a day which helps in widespread plant reproduction.


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