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Smallest bird in the world? It’s hand-cut paper art

A photo shared on Facebook in South Africa shows what seems to be an impossibly small bird sitting on a twig held between someone’s fingers. Users marvelled at the size of the bird - but is it real?

Created by artists in India

The caption reads: “God our creator, God! This is the Hummingbird ‘Topaz’, the smallest bird on earth. Look at the colour and detail. He is the great creator.”

But according to an 2018 report by the Observers, a France-based fact-checking site, the “bird” is actually a paper cut-out, designed and crafted by artists in India.

The photo appears on the Deviant Art page of the artists “NVillustration”. Deviant Art is a website where artists showcase their creations. 

The page links to an Instagram page, which makes clear that two artists, Nayan Shrimali and Vaishali Chudasama, created the paper art. 

A series of miniature art

The photo was originally posted on Instagram on 3 June 2018. Here the caption says the paper crimson topaz is “number one hundred and fifty six from our 365 days of miniature art”. The duo set themselves the goal of creating one mini paper bird every day for a year, according to an article on My Modern Met

On their Deviant Art page, the artists explain that their artwork is finely hand-cut from thick paper. It is then painted and the different parts of the bird assembled in layers that give a three-dimensional effect. 

Crimson topaz real but not smallest

The crimson topaz is a real bird, a “resident (non-migratory) South American hummingbird that occurs naturally in Amazonian Brazil to south of the Amazon River, in southern Venezuela and the Guianas”, according to the website Beauty of Birds

The crimson topaz is small: males measure 21 to 23 centimetres, including their tail feathers, which are 12 to 13 centimetres long, and weigh 14 grams. Females are 13 to 14 centimetres long and weigh about 10 grams. 

But the smallest bird in the world is the bee hummingbird of Cuba, says Guinness World Records. Males measure 57 millimetres, weighing 1.6 grams, and females are slightly larger. — Taryn Willows


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