Smallest bird species
Avifauna bird park now offers visitors a chance to view two unusual bird species. One of the two is the smallest bird species found in any European zoo: the 'witneksaffier', a species of hummingbird that weighs only 3.5 grams and is a mere 8 cm long.
Together with the fork-tailed woodnymph, another hummingbird species native to Suriname, these birds were smuggled into the Netherlands via Schiphol airport—where they were confiscated and subsequently brought to Avifauna. Hummingbirds have long been present at the bird park, but none as small as the ‘witneksaffier’. Though these tiny birds are difficult to spot, visitors are helped with a tip: because hummingbirds have to eat every six minutes, keeping an eye on the drinking bottle means seeing them when they show up to feed.
Hummingbirds are special birds, and hold many records. They are the smallest birds, yet their eggs are the heaviest in relation to their own weight. They also have—again, relatively—the largest flight muscles, and some hummingbird species have been clocked flying at nearly 100 kilometres per hour. These birds can hang still in the air, and can fly both forwards and backwards. A hummingbird flaps its wings more than 4000 times in a single minute: 70 to 80 times a second! Energy consumption is very high for these birds, so they visit up to 2000 flowers each day to drink their nectar. Zoos, of course, provide nectar in special bottles.