Hummingbirds—Fantastic . . . from Head to Tail

on July 1, 2017

Did You Know . . .

Our planet is filled with at least 338 species of hummingbirds? These tiny acrobats wear a fantastic array of colorful costumes! Most make their homes in the tropics of Central and South America, but some venture as far north as Alaska.

Rufous-Crested Coquette

Most hummingbirds keep their heads well trimmed, but not the rufous-crested coquette. Males sport quite the “do” with orange spikes.

Tyrian Metaltail

The “Tyrian metaltail” sounds like some sort of comic book hero. Its shimmering armor is a great example of the striking colors that hummingbirds are known for. Their metallic color comes from reflected sunlight, not their own pigments.

Sword-Billed Hummingbird

The sword-billed hummingbird is the only bird with a beak longer than its body frame. Its extended nozzle makes sipping nectar from tube-shaped flowers a snap.

Violet-Tailed Sylph

The nation of Ecuador is known for its beautiful hummers, and the violet-tailed sylph leads the show. As the males zip across the Andes Mountains, they appear to be wearing a deep violet cape.

Rufous Hummingbird

The rufous hummingbird is truly a road—or rather, a sky—warrior. They can migrate 3,000 miles each year, flying from as far north as Alaska to as far south as Mexico.

Booted Racket-Tail Hummingbird

The booted racket-tail hummingbird wears fluffy white “boots.” These accessories aren’t needed for warmth in the hot tropics of South America, but for a dazzling display. Males like to show off their tails, which are longer than their bodies!

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