The Zunzún, gem of Cuban nature
By Mercy Ramos, Photos by José Tito Meriño
Cuba, the largest island in the Antilles, is a true natural paradise, due to its abundant flora and its rich fauna, within which birds constitute a great wealth, since the country boasts around 369 wild species, 28 of them endemic.
Among those 28 is the Zunzún which belongs to the Hummingbird family that has more than 300 species typical of the American continent, well known for their rapid flight; its powerful and fast wings that produce a buzz. Its flight is static and in all directions.
The Zunzún (Chlorostilbon ricordii) is one of the two native Cuban hummingbirds and the most common. This precious creature can be found not only in the fields, but also in gardens surrounding houses in the cities.
A characteristic of the Zunzún is that they do not go in pairs. The female is rarely found next to the male, indicating the courtship season.
According to researchers, the females lay two white eggs, in places little frequented by males, so as not to be disturbed by them.
The Zunzún is a very low-key bird, capable of going to a bouquet of flowers held by a person's hand without moving. Another of its characteristics is that it generally uses its legs very little since it is found flying almost all the time.
Its food is the nectar of flowers, using its long, fine beak and is a quintessential pollinator. These birds are always alone, so it is difficult to find a female next to the male, which nests alone in less frequented places, especially in spring and is faithful to the places where it nests. Something that characterizes them is that they cannot live in captivity.
A CURIOUS NOTERecently, it was learned that in Havana, in the heart of the city, an unprecedented event occurred. A couple found a little chick of Zunzún in the surroundings of their house, who apparently fell from its nest and its wings were fractured.
Imagine if an adult Zunzún measures about 10 centimeters, what was the size of the chick. The family welcomed him as one more member and created the conditions necessary to take care of him, "breastfed" him and got him to heal and then returned him to his habitat. Curiously, the mother came every hour for almost a month and a half to feed her little one without fear. At first she did it in the garden and then in the hand of Perla Margarita, Rafael Morales' wife, who told us this beautiful story.
Unfortunately, after five months the baby bird died, because despite the care of the family, he was unable to overcome his ailments. However, Perla Margarita and Rafael now have the memory and testimony of having helped lead a singular and unique event in a moving story of maternal love.