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The Horned Sungem Is A Tiny Hummingbird With Amazing Rainbow 'Horns'

Amy Pilkington 8 May 2020

The 'flapping' sound of bird wings is so familiar to us, that we named an entire family of birds after the fact that they flap so quickly that the sound is more of a hum.

Yes, I'm talking about hummingbirds. Though we often just reference hummingbirds as a single thing, there are actually 338 known species in the family of teeny tiny birds.

Each species has the same basic features in common: tiny size, wings that flap so fast that the birds can hover, and the ability to go into torpor when food is scarce.

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But they can also vary wildly in other ways, particularly when it comes to size and color.

The average hummingbird is about 3-5 inches long, though they can be as small as 2 inches. For color, they range from camouflage-worthy earth tones to bright, iridescent rainbows.

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The horned sungem has found a way to be both.

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Though most of its body is white and green with black accents, the males sport a very distinctive frill above each eye. Their "horns", if you will.

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These horns are mostly bright pink and gold, and look like they glow with their own inner light.

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Compared to the horns, even the iridescent shine on their blue heads seem dull.

Small pockets of the birds can be found in Suriname and Amapá, but their habitat is mostly across the lower half of Brazil.

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Horned sungems average about 4-5 inches in length and weigh 0.063-0.099 ounces.

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Females don't have the horns, iridescent head, or black throat.

Thankfully, these beautiful hummingbirds aren't currently threatened, though their habitat is affected somewhat by climate change and deforestation.

h/t: Birds of the World

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