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This photo of the 'smallest bird in the world' actually shows a work of art

This photo of the 'smallest bird in the world' is actually an artwork.
This photo of the 'smallest bird in the world' is actually an artwork. © FRANCE 24

There's been a new sensational discovery in the bird world, according to social media: a photo showing the smallest bird in the world. But as cute as it is, it's not real – it's an April Fools' joke based on work by a Bulgarian artist. 

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The same photo has circulated in both French and English. In French, some posts call the tiny bird "the Hobbit of small birds!", while others describe is as "the Parsonsa zabangi species [...], as heavy as a beetle". Posts in English say it's the "Bee Hummingbird", usually found in Cuba, and that it "beats its tiny wings an incredible 80 times a second".

It's been posted mostly on Facebook, but actually started circulating in April after an online April Fools' joke.

We can find the original post with a reverse image search (click here to find out how to do one yourself). It was shared 21,000 times after being posted on the Italian Facebook page Scienze Naturali on April 1 with a similar caption in Italian. 

The next day, the Facebook page announced that it had been an April Fools' joke – but it had already taken off. That explanation, posted below, was shared only 17 times.

Spiegazione breve: il post di ieri era un pesce d'Aprile. Si tratta di un'opera dell'artista bulgara Ina Malinik. Lo...

Publiée par Scienze Naturali sur Vendredi 2 avril 2021

The original photo was taken from the Instagram account of the Bulgarian artist "Malinik_miniatures". It was posted alongside the hashtags #dollhouseminiatures and #handsculpted.

In 2018, there was a very similar fake story making the rounds: the 'Colibri Topaz, the world's smallest bird'. That was much the same story: the tiny bird in question was in fact a small origami artwork.

>> READ ON THE OBSERVERS: Does this viral photo really show the world’s smallest bird?