Fun Honeybird Facts For Kids

Devangana Rathore
Jan 05, 2023 By Devangana Rathore
Originally Published on Sep 02, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi
Honeybird facts are some of the most exciting ones around.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.0 Min

The honeybird is a member of the hummingbird family. These small hummingbirds are found all across Sub-Saharan Africa. They are yellow-gray in color and are very avid eaters. Not only do they eat nectar from flowers, but they also eat bees and other small bugs! Their omnivorous diets work for them especially since there can be a lack of flowers, and therefore, nectar in their natural habitat. This is why eating bees will also help them to stay nourished for their lives in the desert. In a harsh climate, these birds are rarely able to look after their own eggs. This is why they put their eggs in the nests of other birds of a similar genus and family, so that they inadvertently look after their chicks and eventually, adults. Though this species of hummingbird is declared as a species of Least Concern by the IUCN list, they are fast losing their habitat to human agriculture and may soon fall into endangerment.

The honeybird is definitely an interesting bird you should read all about! Scroll on to know all about this hummingbird, or choose from a variety of other interesting birds such as the honey bee and the honey possum.

Honeybird Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a honeybird?

These hummingbirds are a type of bird.

What class of animal does a honeybird belong to?

This hummingbird belongs to the class of birds called Aves.

How many honeybirds are there in the world?

The estimated population of these hummingbirds is not known. With a conservation status of Least Concern, we know that they have a stable and thriving population for now.

Where does a honeybird live?

These hummingbirds, the smallest birds of the honeyguide family, live in woodlands.

What is a honeybird's habitat?

In Sub-Saharan Africa, this small-sized hummingbird is a resident breeder. It can be found in a range of tree-rich settings including dry open woodland, although not in the West African forest.

Who do honeybirds live with?

This hummingbird is mostly solitary. Unlike other species, this hummingbird does not migrate during the spring and or fall in flocks.

How long does a honeybird live?

Although the exact lifespan of this hummingbird is unconfirmed, larger honeyguides have been known to survive up to 12 years in the wild.

How do they reproduce?

They are brood parasites that deposit one egg in another species' nest over the course of five to seven days in a sequence of roughly five eggs. Sunbirds, Cisticolas, and other dome-nesting species of birds have their nests parasitized. Prodotiscus birds parasitize cup-nesters like warblers and white-eyes, but this bird prefers hole-nesting species usually related to woodpeckers and barbets. Honeybird nestlings have been observed to evict their host's offspring from the nests physically, and their beaks are equipped with needle-sharp barbs that penetrate the host's eggs or destroy the nestlings.

African honeyguide birds are reported to deposit their eggs inside bee-eating bird species' underground nests. Hummingbird chicks, like cuckoo bird hatchlings, destroy the host's hatchlings with the needle-sharp beaks shortly after hatching. The honeyguide mother makes sure that her chick emerges first by incubating the egg for an additional day before laying it, giving it an advantage over the host's progeny in terms of development.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of these hummingbirds is Least Concern declared by IUCN Red List.

Honeybird Fun Facts

What do honeybirds look like?

These small body-sized hummingbirds have gray or grayish-green upperparts and gray or whitish-gray underparts and are all dull in color. These birds are some of the hummingbird family's smallest members. The outermost tail feathers of this hummingbird are light. They have small bills in comparison to the rest of the family.

Honeybird

How cute are they?

This grayish-green-colored hummingbird appears to be charming and calm.

How do they communicate?

Male hummingbirds produce loud calls to attract females, and they normally do this from the same location each year. However, female hummingbirds have been seen imitating male hummingbird sounds in areas where males also congregate. In addition, male birds engage in aerial and aural displays during courtship.

How big is a honeybird?

This hummingbird length measures between 4-8 in (10-20.3 cm). Approximately 2.1-2.4 in (5.3-6 cm) is the length range of the bee hummingbird species, the world's smallest birds.

How fast can a honeybird fly?

The precise flying speed of honeybirds is not known. Usually, rufous hummingbirds flutter their wings at a pace of 50 times per second. However, during pairing, it can happen up to 200 times per second. This fast flapping of wings is the reason that a hummingbird sounds like it is humming.

How much does a honeybird weigh?

The average weight of these hummingbirds is between 1.95-2.6 oz (55.2-73.7 g). The calliope hummingbird is the smallest identified bird in the United States with a weight comparable to a ping pong ball.

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male and female of these hummingbird birds that can fly forward, backward, sideways, up and down, do not have specific titles.

What would you call a baby honeybird?

A baby honeybird hummingbird is named a young honeybird or juvenile honeybird.

What do they eat?

Hummingbirds eat nearly 50% of their body weight with insects and nectar, eating every 10-15 minutes and reaching 1,000-2,000 blooms during the day. These birds actually feed on insects, ants, beetles, aphids, mosquitoes, and spiders, combining nectar off flowers and feeds. Natural sucrose, the sugar present in floral nectar, is digested by hummingbirds.

Are they poisonous?

A hummingbird that mostly feeds on the nectar of flowers is not poisonous.

Would they make a good pet?

Hummingbirds are not allowed to be kept as pets. This is because hummingbirds cannot thrive in confined spaces. Hummingbirds also eat bugs and nectar which many of us do not have and cannot give to these birds.

Did you know...

Hummingbirds lack the sense of smell. While they are unable to detect feeding, they do have excellent color vision. These hummers can fly about 3,000 mi (4828 km) from their breeding habitats.

The wings of a hummingbird flap 10-15 times each second. Hummingbirds can fly in all directions, including backwards and upside down. Hummingbirds get their moniker from the humming sound their wings produce as they beat so quickly. As hummingbirds fly fast through flowery gardens, they can be difficult to spot. Hummingbirds migrate twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall.

The gray catbird is particular about its song or where it sings it, so it avoids open regions and prefers to sing in deep thickets.

What are the different types of honeybirds?

There are three different species of honeybirds.

The brown-backed honeybird (Prodotiscus regulus), also recognized as Wahlberg's honeybird and the sharp-billed honeyguide, is found in Angola, the Central African Republic, South Africa, Tanzania,  Uganda, and Zambia.

The green-backed honeybird (Prodotiscus zambesiae), also named the eastern green-backed honeyguide and slender-billed honeyguide, resides in Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe.

The Cassin's honeybird (Prodotiscus insignis), also referred to as Cassin's honeyguide, is located in Angola, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Senegal, South Sudan, and Uganda.

How do African honeyguide birds help humans?

Plants like callistemon (bottlebrush), strelitzia, butea monosperma, bombax, and coral trees benefit from the pollination of these hummingbirds. Honeyguides get their name from a unique behavior observed in only a few species. They lead  humans to beehives. This hummingbird lives on the leftover larvae and wax after the hive is opened and the honey is extracted.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these radjah shelduck facts and yellow warbler facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable honeybird coloring pages.

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Written by Devangana Rathore

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Language, Master of Philosophy

Devangana Rathore picture

Devangana RathoreBachelor of Arts specializing in English Language, Master of Philosophy

Devangana is a highly accomplished content writer and a deep thinker with a Master's degree in Philosophy from Trinity College, Dublin. With a wealth of experience in copywriting, she has worked with The Career Coach in Dublin and is constantly looking to enhance her skills through online courses from some of the world's leading universities. Devangana has a strong background in computer science and is also an accomplished editor and social media manager. Her leadership skills were honed during her time as the literacy society president and student president at the University of Delhi.

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