Hummingbirds are very special bird: very small, colorful, and flies very fast. Even though they do not occur naturally in the cool weather country, you can see them in zoos, where their living environment is imitated. In evolution, many special animals have arisen. Two of them are the hummingbirds and hummingbirds butterfly. As the name of the butterfly suggests, it looks exactly like its feathered counterpart. How can an insect and a bird evolve so similarly?
The hummingbird is a very small bird in the swift family. There are more than 300 species in the family to be recognized. They are most common in South America. The color of the male is usually metallic green on his back and the throat has a red, blue, or green color. The females have no striking colors.
Hummingbirds are birds that drink from flowers. For that, they need a certain kind of beak that can get into the crown of the flower. Some species have bills as long as their bodies, others have one with the tip curling upwards. The beak is inspired by the type of flower from which the hummingbird gets its food. A hummingbird has to hang still in order to drink from the flower.
Depending on the size of the bird, the wings beat 15 to 80 times per second. For example, it can stick its beak into the flower and lick the nectar from the flower with its forked tongue. They usually choose orange or red flowers. These flowers have also adapted to the hummingbird and produce more nectar than other flowers.
A hummingbird is also the only bird that can fly backward because of the speed with which it can flutter its wings. It can also fly up and down and is therefore sometimes called a ‘helicopter bird’.
- Latin name: Trochilidae
- Species: Bird
- Type: Mainly carnivore (except for the nectar)
- Where do they occur: Mainly in South America, but also in Central and North America.
- How old can they get: Between 6 and 12 years?
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The Hummingbirds Butterfly
The hummingbird butterfly looks exactly like the bird variant. It has a short broad body with two grey-brown forewings and orange hindwings. The wings have a wingspan of 20-24 mm. There are black and white tufts of hair on the ‘tail’. The butterfly has a long tongue and two feelers on its head above the eyes. The wing beat is just as fast as a hummingbird and therefore the butterfly can also hang still in the air to drink nectar. The caterpillar of the butterfly is long and green/brown with a white and yellow stripe along the entire length.
The butterfly is found in North Africa, Europe, and from China to Japan. He can also sometimes be seen in the Benelux. The butterfly is best seen from August to September.
A hummingbird uses a lot of energy and therefore needs to rest regularly. When they sleep, they sleep so deeply that they don’t notice anything about their surroundings. The hummingbird’s plumage and body are usually glossy green or blue. some species of hummingbirds live in the forests and others migrate, mostly toward North America.
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Hummingbirds have long bills that they use to collect nectar from flowers. They also catch insects such as flies, bees, spiders, and other small insects. The bill consists of a flexible lower jaw, which makes it easier to catch insects. The special thing is that a hummingbird has to eat something every 10 to 15 minutes, because of its fast metabolism.
Characteristics Of The Body
Hummingbirds can fly both forwards and backward and even hover in the air. When flying, the hummingbird beats its wings 10 to 80 times! There are as many as 320 different species of hummingbirds, most of which are recognizable by the shape of the bill, tail, and also by collars and crests that some species may or may not have. In most hummingbird species, the body length is about 5 centimeters and they weigh between 5 and 7 grams.
During the incubation process, the female does most of the work. She builds the nest, incubates the eggs, and takes care of the young. The hummingbird lays 2 eggs and it takes 14 days for the eggs to hatch. As soon as the young are born, they can already fly.
The Evolutionary Process In Both Animals.
It is quite remarkable that in an insect species and a bird species there exist two animals that resemble each other so exactly. They both drink from flowers, can hang still due to rapid wing beats, and have a long tongue/beak. Even the colors match.
When animals develop, they are left with what is most useful in their situation. In these cases, it is useful to be small, to have a long tongue, and to be able to hang still in the air. So they have developed the same properties in different animal species. A number of other animals have also evolved to be more like different species so that they have better defenses.
Examples of these are the hoverfly that wants to resemble a wasp, the stick insect, stick insect, and butterflies with eyes on their wings. In the case of the hummingbirds’ moth and the bird, it doesn’t seem to be a defensive tactic, but about getting nectar from flowers easily. It’s about survival, but they haven’t come to resemble each other to fend off enemies.
Other Hummingbirds Species
- Giant Hummingbirds: This hummingbird species is the largest and has a body length of 20 centimeters and comes from the Andes Mountains.
- Bee Hummingbirds: This hummingbird species is the smallest with a body length of 4 centimeters and is mainly found in Cuba.