Hummingbirds harvesting nectar

posted in: Feeding-plants, Sunbirds | 1

Cedric Ng Shuwei a.k.a flexi showcased his images of hummingbirds photographed recently in El Valle de Antón, Coclé, Panama. The Violet-crowned Woodnymph (Thalurania colombica) (below left) and the Rufous-crested Couquette (Lophornis delattrei) (below right) are shown hovering in front of the flowers of Stachytarpheta mutabilis,.

The image on below (left) shows the Violet-headed Hummingbird (Klais guimeti) collecting nectar from the same herb.

These smallish, highly colourful hummingbirds are constantly active, darting from flower to flower and hovering in front of flowers to harvest the nectar. This is an energy demanding activity and the birds need to be sustained by harvesting a large amount of nectar.

Although we do not have the hummingbirds in this part of the world, we do have the flowering plant, Stachytarpheta mutabilis, an introduced ornamental from Tropical America. Here, the flowers attract sunbirds. Another species we have, also from the same continent, is S. indica or snakeweed, a weed of open areas.

Asians, especially those from Southeast Asia, tend to be more familiar with hummingbirds, as until so many years back, we were exposed to publications, videos and films produced overseas, showing neo-tropical rather than tropical flora and fauna. So most of us we grew up believing that the many sunbirds that flock to our flowers are hummingbirds.

Well, sunbirds are from this part of the world while hummingbirds are from the American tropics, the so-called neotropics. The former do not usually hover in front of a flower to harvest nectar. They perch on a branch or the flowering head to get at the flower. Hummingbirds on the other hand always hover in front of flowers.

This post is a cooperative effort between and BESG to bring the study of bird behaviour through photography to a wider audience.

  1. cocle

    […] today and runs through January 31st. If you are interested, head on over to Cocl© and join theBird Ecology Study Group Hummingbirds harvesting nectarCedric Ng Shuwei a.k.a flexi showcased his images of hummingbirds photographed recently in El Valle […]

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