The hummingbird family (Family Trochilidae) includes over 300 species of birds. They are the second largest family of birds (only flycatcher family contains more species). The family is subdivided into two subfamilies, the hermit hummingbirds (Subfamily Phaethornithinae) and the trochilines (Subfamily Trochilinae). Hummingbirds are small birds with long narrow beaks and long thin tongues. They exhibit a unique hovering flight ability.
Male hummingbirds often have brighter coloration than females, with iridescent feathers and longer tail feathers. Hummingbirds have muscular bodies and extremely flexible wings. Their elbow joint is very close to their body giving them increased leverage over most other birds when beating their wings. Hummingbirds feed primarily on nectar from flowers, occasionally they also eat insects or sap.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Aves
- Order: Apodiformes
- Family: Trochilidae
The Family Trochilidae contains the following subgroups:
- Subfamily: Phaethornithinae (hermit hummingbirds)
- Subfamily: Trochilinae (trochilines)
Range and Habitat:
Hummingbirds are found throughout North America including ranges from Alaska to Labrador and in South America including Brazil, Ecuador. Hummingbirds inhabit a variety of temperate and tropical habitats. Their basic habitat requirement is the presence of sufficient nectar producing flowers. Habitat types that meet these requirements include tropical rainforest, Neararctic pine forests, arid scrub, desert oasis, coastal lowland, and alpine tundra.
- Burnie D, Wilson DE. 2001. Animal. London: Dorling Kindersley. 624 p.
- Camfield A. 2004. Family Trochilidae, Animal Diversity Web. June 08, 2005.