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Science Behind the Adorable Sleeping Hummingbird

This video of a sleeping hummingbird is quite possibly the most adorable thing you will ever see. But did you know that this incredibly cute bird is not actually snoring but is, in fact, in a state of torpor?

 

Science Behind the Adorable Sleeping Hummingbird

 

The fascinating hummingbird in this video that appears to be snoring is actually in a state of torpor. Torpor is a state of decreased physiological activity (like a short-term hibernation), which allows an animal to conserve energy. While a hummingbird is in torpor, their heart and metabolic rate slows down considerably, helping their tiny bodies survive the cold nights.

 

 

Experts believe that this hummingbird, which is a female amethyst-throated sunangel (Heliangelus amethysticollis), is waking up from torpor and is rapidly restarting its metabolic engine, which requires a lot of oxygen. Waking up from torpor is considerably difficult for this little munchkin, but it sure is cute!

Hummingbirds have the highest metabolism of any vertebrate, and their small size means that they lose a lot of body heat in the air, so saving energy is extremely important for them.

Some commentators have claimed that this hummingbird is exhibiting signs of distress, however the filmmaker of this video has stated that once the bird woke up, it flew away, appearing happy, healthy and in search of its next meal!

 

FASCINATING HUMMINGBIRD FACTS:

 

  • Hummingbirds primarily eat nectar, tree sap, insects and pollen – they consume the human equivalent of a refrigerator full of food every day!
  • There are over 300 species of hummingbird, all of which are found in the western hemisphere.
  • They might appear small and ineffectual, but these adorable birds are highly territorial and have been known to chase off other birds as big as hawks from their territory.
  • Hummingbirds beat their wings between 15 and 80 times per second!
  • Historically, hummingbirds were killed for their brightly coloured feathers, though today, like much of our world’s wildlife, they are faced with the threat of habitat loss and destruction.

 

If you want to learn more about these incredible birds, or wish to find out how you can help them, please visit The Hummingbird Society.

 

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