Hummingbird Moth Facts

You may have noticed something flying in your garden that looks like a tiny hummingbird. It may not have been a hummingbird at all.

Hummingbird Moth Facts

The Hummingbird Moth is an example of convergent evolution. This phenomenon describes two entirely different species that share similar features and functions.

One similarity is their appearance. The moth looks almost identical to the bird. However, it is approximately half the size of a hummingbird. A second difference is hummingbird moths have two antennae.

Their flying habits are similar. They can stay in flight as long as necessary for feeding. They can fly backwards and sideways, too.

Hummingbird Moths usually produce at least two broods per year. Reproduction occurs more frequently in the southern range.

Each brood contains up to 200 eggs. The tiny green eggs are usually laid on the underside of leaves. It takes 6-8 days for the eggs to hatch. The hatched eggs produce larvae. The larval stage lasts approximately 20 days.

The next stage, known as pupa or chrysalis, can last around 2 weeks before the moth emerges. This stage can last longer if they are protected in leaf litter. If it is fully protected, it can stay in this stage throughout the entire winter.

As humming sounds come from hummingbirds as they hover, the moth shares this characteristic. The same flowers hummingbirds feed from also attract the moths, and they share the same ability to detect color. They both love bright red flowers.

There are different species of Hummingbird Moths. Only four species can be found in North America. The Clearwing is the most common.

Moths do not have the same lifespan as hummingbirds. While the life-expectancy of hummingbirds is 3-8 years, moths rarely live more than 7 months.

The birds and moths have different flying and feeding habits. While hummingbirds fly and feed in the daytime, moths like the nighttime, too.

Hummingbirds have beaks, but a moth does not. Instead, it has a tongue-like appendage which rolls out from a coiled tube. This feature helps moths obtain nectar from long-throated flowers.

The moth is fast. It can fly up to 12 mph, and its wingbeat can reach up to 70 beats in a second.

Hummingbird Moth Facts And Myths

Contrary to myth, moths are not harmful. They will not harm hummingbirds or other birds, people, or plants. The only problem is if a large number of moths take over your garden.

A second misconception is based on its name. Although it shares the name of this popular garden bird, it is not a bird. It is actually an insect.

When you hear that familiar sound in your garden, take time to take a closer look. The unmistakable humming could be coming from a Hummingbird Moth.

8 Rare Hummingbird Species

There are more than 300 species of hummingbirds, along with 115 genera, primarily in South America. These birds are not found outside of the Western Hemisphere, and nearly fifty percent of them live inbetween the equator’s northern and southern sides. Less than twenty-four species enter Canada and the US, and just a handful of species stay throughout the year. There are fifty-one rare hummingbird species, which are classed as endangered or threatened. It is difficult to choose the best ones, but the following eight are certainly worth a mention:

Rufous Hummingbirds

Male Rufous Hummingbirds are bright orange, while the female birds are orange and green. These birds are fairly small, compared to other species of hummingbirds, however they are quite feisty and frequently scare bigger hummingbirds off from feeders. The Rufous Hummingbird spends winter in Mexico, and commonly migrates to Ohio during the late fall and early spring.

Anna’s Hummingbirds

In all likelihood, if you live on North America’s west coast, you will be familiar with Anna’s Hummingbirds. Pacific Coast residents often report sightings of these creatures. They use a courtship ritual that is truly unique. The males shoot up into the air at over 100 feet, then fly back down to the ground at great velocity, chirping as they do so, prior to launching themselves into the air once more.

Glittering Starfrontlets

Male Glittering Starfrontlets are big hummingbirds, with black heads adorned with iridescent emerald patches. Also, they have glistening greenish gold bellies and deep blue throat patches. Formerly called Dusky Starfrontlets, these hummingbirds from the western Andes of Colombia were only known from one specimen retrieved in the early 1950’s. However, they were rediscovered in 2004, close to Urrao city in Colombia. Subsequently, a few extra subpopulations have been discovered, one of which is located in the Tatamá National Park. Nonetheless, the entire population of Glittering Starfrontlets is thought to be less than 250, and the species only inhabits small areas.

Calliope Hummingbirds

The Calliope Hummingbird is the smallest species found in America. Like Rufous Hummingbirds, these creatures migrate to Mexico during the winter. They are the world’s smallest long distance avian migrants. The females have dull, pale throats and the males have throats with white and red streaks.

Cinnamon Hummingbirds

These wonderful birds have long wings, and are named after the light brown color on the underside of their bodies. They live in the area between north west Costa Rica and west Mexico, and particularly enjoy dry forest environments. Occasionally, they are found further north in Texas and south west America.

Colorful Pufflegs

Male Colorful Pufflegs are awash with color, with mainly green emerald upper bodies complementing their blue bellies, reddish feathers beneath their tails, white feather puffs over their feet, and tails with a golden green underside. This rare hummingbird species was discovered in 1967, with four collected museum specimens. In 1997, it was reconfirmed close to where it was first found, which is currently the Munchique National Park in Colombia. It is thought that just 250 to 999 birds are left.

Green Crowned Brilliant Hummingbirds

These emerald birds are among the biggest hummingbirds species. They inhabit the highlands from western Ecuador to Costa Rica. In contrast to most types of hummingbirds, which hover at flowers, green crowned brilliant hummingbirds perch while they feed.

White Necked Jacobin Hummingbirds

Finally, this hummingbird species is pretty unmissable, with the male’s dark blue head and pale white tail and belly. Similar to other types of hummingbirds, Jacobins feed on the protein of small insects, as well as nectar. They catch insects by grabbing or ‘hawking’ them from the air.

Hummingbird Food Recipes

Feeding and caring for hummingbirds is one easy, inexpensive and rewarding part-time. So many hummingbird food recipes are super-easy to make, particularly because everything basically rests upon preparing nectar for those lovely birds.

But you can’t talk of these recipes without first mentioning the fact that hummingbirds are known sugar junkies. These slender, petite-sized birds have one of the fastest metabolism in the world and this help convert the sugars to energy to power their bodies.

Hummingbird

A classic example is the ruby-throated species who is believed to have the highest metabolism rate because it flaps its wings over 70 times a second. In terms of us, humans, the food that would trigger the same rate of metabolism would be sugary foods worth 300 pounds. This simply means, if you were to live on the typical diet of a Hummingbird, you would surely have cavities in addition to becoming overweight or diabetic.

Hummingbird Food Recipes Hacks

With that said, if you need to make the right hummingbird food, don’t just copy what all these recipes filling the web advocate for, without having a grasp of the nitty-gritty. Master the following Hummingbird Food Recipes hacks and your backyard will soon be an oasis for the beautiful, frenetic and miniature winged birds.

Always use boiled water

You must never use unboiled water (or tap water) when making the nectar solution. And even when it is boiled and cooled, make sure to filter the water before dissolving the white sugars in them.

Fake sugars are a No-no!

This refers to all those pink sugars, fructose corn syrup, and the likes.

You see, fake sugars have no calories, yet hummingbirds require calories for their abnormally high metabolism. Further, artificial sweeteners can harm these birds in a number of ways, something that might even kill them. So, because hummingbirds won’t tell the difference and will, instead, suck them, it is upon you to ensure you only use natural white or cane sugars.

Dyes are a big No!

Hummingbirds love spending time in a calm, serene place that’s identical to their natural habitat. And so, if you would like to see them thrive peacefully, don’t try to recreate the same environment using any form of synthetic paint or dye. Red dye is strictly forbidden as it can harm them and it’s normally recommended that you choose a large ‘bull matador’ cap instead.

Keep changing the recipe

Hummingbird food connoisseurs advise that you don’t stick to the same food for long. After a couple of days, you should change the nectar since heat breaks down the sugars in the water, making the nectar solution less sugary. Also, if the solution is left unchanged for longer, it will remain susceptible to harmful bacteria.

More importantly, always keep the hummingbird feeder clean by using a bottle brush and warm soapy water. If you don’t observe this, yeast will act on the sugars, fermenting the solution and subsequently harming the birds.