Lightning fast metabolism: The heart of this amazing little creature pumps about 1,200 times per minute in flight. Its wings beats 70 times each second. Its body temperature ranges from 105° to 108°F (40.5° to 42.2°C). To survive, it must eat several times its weight in nectar each day. To survive the night (when it can’t feed), it goes into a state of temporary hibernation, during which time the body heat escapes and the heart rate drops dramatically down to 19 °C (66 °F) in order to save energy.
It has skeletal and flight muscle adaptations that allows it to rotate the wings almost 180° – enabling it to fly forwards, backwards, up, down, sideways, even upside down, or remain still in space. Its normal flight speed is 30 mph (48 km/h), but it can reach 50 mph (80 km/h) during an escape and even 63 mph (101 km/h) during a dive.
Relevant Bird Species Information Page (includes more stunning photos of this bird species)
Learn more about / contact photographer: Tommy Pedersen – http://www.flickr.com/photos/sandmanindubai/