Despite its tiny size, the bee hummingbird is capable of beating its wings around 80 times a second in a figure-of-eight pattern, giving it the ability to hover and move with astonishing agility. During its intricate courtship display, the number of wing beats can increase to an almost unbelievable 200 times a second (4) (6). The breeding season is typically between March and June, and the female bee hummingbird constructs a tiny cup-shaped nest out of thin twigs, held together by cobwebs and lichens. The female then lays a clutch of 2 tiny eggs, no bigger than 6 millimetres in length, which are incubated for around 22 days. The new chicks are fed and cared for solely by the female, until leaving the nest after 18 days (2) (7).
The bee hummingbird preferentially feeds on nectar, which it obtains from a wide variety of plant species by inserting its bill into the flower of the plant while hovering horizontally above it. It will also eat small insects (2) (4). Because the bee hummingbird is so small, it must consume a large amount to meet its very high energetic demands, typically ingesting up to half its body mass in food each day, and up to eight times its body mass in water (6).