(noun) The scientific family of birds that includes all hummingbirds. While there are more than 320 species of hummingbirds in the world, all of these birds are found in the wild only in the Western Hemisphere or New World. The majority of Trochilidae species are found in tropical equatorial regions, though there are a variety of suitable hummingbird habitats ranging from mountains and canyons to deserts, forests and grasslands from Alaska to southern Chile.
Hummingbirds come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors, but most Trochilidae birds share several characteristics, including:
- Extremely small size.
- Iridescent plumage on the upperparts and throat, more pronounced on most males.
- Nectivorous and insectivorous diets.
- Specialized needle-like bill for feeding on flowers.
- Superb flight capability that includes the ability to hover extensively.
- Ability to enter a state of torpor to conserve energy.
Familiar examples of birds in the Trochilidae family include the ruby-throated hummingbird, buff-bellied hummingbird, magnificent hummingbird, red-billed streamertail and the black-chinned hummingbird.
Photo – White-Necked Jacobin © Bill Bouton
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