About animals

Optical illusion or unusual flower? Hummingbird-like petals are arguing on the Internet


There was one man in the world. He traveled to different countries, collected plants unknown to the world, studying and exploring them.

Once, his fate brought him to the outlandish forests, to the overseas forests. A lot of interesting and incomprehensible was in those distant places. A man scored a whole bunch of plants unknown to the world and did not notice how a small bird Hummingbird got into the basket with them. Carefully packed the collected flora in jars, he safely got home to his research laboratory.

Sitting comfortably at a large work table, the man began to take turns opening jars of plants. And suddenly, opening one of the cans, he heard a subtle, faint buzzing. Looking more closely at the contents of the can, the man saw a small bird Hummingbird. She was so small that he did not immediately understand that it was a bird, but not a bumblebee or some kind of bug.

So, Hummingbird was in the harsh Siberian lands.

The little bird was very bad in foreign lands, the man wanted to help her and did everything for her to make her feel good. He brought her various overseas flowers, which cost a lot of money, whose nectar would quench her thirst and hunger. He created her living conditions for those places where she was from. He surrounded her with warmth, care and affection, but she was unhappy anyway. The baby believed that only this person was to blame for her troubles, which means that let him suffer, the stronger, the better ...

It was not easy for a man with a little hummingbird. He even had to give up his favorite work in order to please this arrogant bird.

Once, a man went into his laboratory and walked past a hummingbird without even looking at her. All day, until the evening, he worked with his plants. The bird was upset that they did not notice her. She flew out of her cozy nest and sat right on the man’s hand, preventing him from working. The man got up from the table, took it gently in his hands and put her in his house, but Hummingbird did not calm down on this. She flew out of her house and began to circle in front of the man’s nose, stopping him from even breathing.

Then the man took the bird, put it in an empty matchbox, put it in his pocket and went to the city park. There he released a hummingbird at liberty with the words: “Fly and live your life.”

Little Hummingbird fought desperately for her life. It was difficult for her to survive in this terrible world, where at every “step” she was in danger. She experienced a lot of grief, evil, deceit and injustice from her brothers. I saw the suffering of other living beings, but did not become embittered, but became kinder, wiser. Hummingbirds were able to overcome a huge fear for their lives and survive in difficult conditions.Find loyal friends who later helped her take her place in the conservatory. There she learned a lot. And u little birds have appeared “Big” good deedsthat were noticed by other inhabitants of the bird world. Hummingbird has become a respected and revered bird in the urban botanical conservatory.

She was well in the new world. She considered herself happy and was sincerely grateful to the person who once, long ago, so abruptly changed her life. And she realized thatnever have to hope for anyone and expect nothing from anyone - this is the best way

To be happy!

Pareidolia - visual illusion

One half of the commentators suggested that this was an optical illusion:

“... a process in which our brain recognizes that which is not really there. For example, the howling of the wind, which sounds like speech, a tree that looks like a person or an animal ... ”, writes one of the users of reddit.

In fact, this is the flower of Crotalaria cunninghamii

Atlas of Living Australia / commons.wikimedia.org Cressflower / commons.wikimedia.org

The plant that everyone argued so noisy about is actually called Crotalaria cunninghamii, or the bird's flower. It grows in Northern Australia, and its petals really resemble hummingbirds.

Some photos look so strange that it is generally not clear what is happening on them. As in this material, for example.

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Origin of view and description

Over the past 22 million years, hummingbirds have evolved rapidly into hundreds of different species. Their development story is amazing. She carries small birds from one continent to another, and then back, constantly diversifying and developing their distinctive features.

The branch leading to the modern hummingbird appeared about 42 million years ago, when the ancestors of the hummingbird split off from relatives, swifts and formed a new look. This probably happened in Europe or Asia, where fossils similar to hummingbirds dating to 28-34 million years ago were found.

Video: Hummingbird

These birds found their way to South America through Asia and the Bering Strait in Alaska. On the Eurasian continent there are no descendants left. Once in South America about 22 million years ago, birds quickly formed new ecological niches and developed new species.

Interesting fact! Genetic analysis shows that hummingbird diversity continues to grow, while the rate of emergence of new species exceeds extinction rates. In some places, more than 25 species are found in the same geographical area.

It remains a mystery how hummingbirds could get along in South America. Because they depend on the plants that developed with them. There are now 338 recognized species, but the number could double in the next few million years. Traditionally, they were divided into two subfamilies: hermits (Phaethornithinae, 34 species in 6 genera) and typical (Trochilinae, all other species). However, phylogenetic analyzes show that this division is inaccurate, and there are nine main groups.

Appearance and features

Photo: Hummingbird Bird

Hummingbird distinctive features are a long beak, bright plumage and a buzzing sound. Most individuals are multi-colored, but there are also plain brown or even white albinos. Colors change with each reflection of light and give feathers a metallic sheen. Only some of the spectrum of colors are visible to the human eye. Understanding physical characteristics helps determine what makes these crumbs unique:

  • The size. Hummingbird is the smallest bird (5-22 cm). The hummingbird is the tiniest of all birds in the world. The hummingbird male is more colorful than the female, but the females are larger in size. The largest is a giant hummingbird. The body weight of the bird is 2.5-6.5 g.
  • The form. All members of the family are characterized by the same external features, which makes them instantly recognizable. Short streamlined body, elongated wings and a narrow elongated beak.
  • Beak. The needle-like beak is the most unique physical characteristic of a bird. It is elongated and thin relative to the size of a hummingbird, used as a tube for licking a long tongue of nectar from flowers.
  • Wings. Long, narrow, taper to increase maneuverability in the air. They have a unique design. The wing joints (shoulder + ulnar) are located close to the body, this allows the wings to bend and turn. Which positively affects the maneuverability of a hummingbird when changing flight direction and hovering.
  • Paws Tiny and short, they are extremely small, so the birds do not walk. They have four fingers with an anisodactyl arrangement of the fourth finger pointing back. This makes it possible to grab onto the branches and sit. Birds can do awkward side jumps, but the main thing for a hummingbird is flying.
  • Plumage. Most species have rich colors and bold patterns. A brightly colored throat in the form of a frill collar is a key sign of a male in shape and color. The structure of the feathers on the body consists of 10 levels. The coloration of females is simpler, but in some species it contains rainbow colors.

The heart rate in hummingbirds varies from 250 to 1200 beats per minute. At night, during a numbness, it decreases and ranges from 50 to 180 beats per minute. The heart of the bird is twice as large as the stomach in volume and occupies ½ of the body cavity. The maximum hummingbird flight speed is 30/60 miles per hour.

Where do hummingbirds live?

Photo: Hummingbird little bird

Hummingbirds are natives of the New World. They have long settled in South, North and Central America. Most species have chosen tropical and subtropical regions and the Caribbean islands. Numerous colonies are found in the midlands and only a few species are seen in temperate latitudes.

Often, the range of some species covers one valley or slope, while for other representatives of the genus, habitats stretch in a narrow strip along the eastern or western slopes of the Andes, and there are also many island endemic species.

The richest territory for different types of hummingbirds is the transition zone from the mountains to the foothills at an altitude of 1800-2500 m with a constant daily temperature of 12 - 16 ° C. The rich flora is represented by creeping plants, shrubs, ferns, orchids, trees, bromeliads, etc. Hummingbirds in this area have a variety of body sizes and beak shapes.

Curious! Hummingbirds are very smart and able to remember places and individuals from year to year.

A tiny hummingbird can fly an impressive 2,000 miles with the goal of migration, sometimes a bird continuously travels up to 500 miles. Usually they fly south in winter and north in summer. To make an incredible migratory feat, they feed hard and double their body weight.

Ruby-throated hummingbirds have the most extensive breeding range among all North American species. Hummingbirds with black chins are the most adaptable species in North America. Found from deserts to mountain forests and from urban areas to untouched natural areas.

What do hummingbirds eat?

Photo: Hummingbird animal

Birds in the process of evolution have developed unique adaptive abilities for feeding. Mostly eaten flower nectar, wood juice, insects and pollen. Fast breathing, a fast heartbeat and high body temperature require frequent meals and a huge amount of food every day.

Hummingbirds eat various insects, including mosquitoes, fruit flies and midges in flight or aphids on leaves. The lower beak can bend 25 °, expanding at the base. Hummingbirds hover in flocks of insects to facilitate feeding. To meet their energy needs, they drink nectar, a sweet liquid inside the flowers.

Fun fact! Like bees, hummingbirds, unlike other birds, can estimate the amount of sugar in nectar and refuse flowers that produce nectar with a sugar content of less than 10%.

They do not spend all day flying, as the cost of energy will be excessive. Most of the activity consists of sitting or sitting. Hummingbirds eat a lot, but in small portions and every day consume about half their weight in nectar. They quickly digest food.

Spend somewhere 15-25% of their time on feeding and 75-80% on sitting and digesting. They have a long tongue, with which they lick food at a speed of up to 13 faces per second. Two halves of the beak have a distinct overlap. The lower half is tight to the upper.

When the hummingbird feeds on nectar, the beak opens only slightly, allowing the tongue to pop out into the flowers. When catching insects in flight, the hummingbird's jaw bends downward, widening the hole for successful capture. To maintain their energy, the birds feed 5 to 8 times per hour.

Features of character and lifestyle

Photo: Hummingbird Red Book

Hummingbirds fly in any direction and steadily soar in place. Few other birds can do something like this. These birds never stop flapping their wings, and the tiny size makes them look like large bumblebees.

They fly mainly along a direct path, if the male does not make a male demonstration flight. Males can fly in a wide arc - about 180 °, which looks like a semicircle - swaying back and forth, as if suspended from the end of a long wire. Their wings buzz loudly at the bottom of the arc.

Curious! Hummingbirds contain special cells in their feathers that act as prisms when exposed to sunlight. Light is divided into long waves, creating iridescent colors. Some hummingbirds use these vibrant colors as a territorial warning.

Hummingbirds have the highest metabolism among non-insect animals. Increased metabolism allows you to maintain fast movement of the wings and an extremely high heart rate. During the flight, their oxygen consumption per gram of muscle tissue is about 10 times higher than that of elite athletes.

Hummingbirds can dramatically decrease their metabolic rate at night or if they have trouble finding food. They immerse themselves in a state of deep sleep. They have a fairly long life span. Although many die during the first year of life, those who survived can survive up to ten, and sometimes more, years.

Social structure and reproduction

Photo: Hummingbird Birds

The beginning of the mating season in hummingbirds is associated with a period of mass flowering and is very different in different species and in different regions. Nests are found in habitats throughout the year. Hummingbirds - polygamous individuals. They create pairs only for fertilizing eggs. Males are near the female for a short time and do not participate in other reproductive duties.

During the period of sexual synchronization, males present themselves to the female with the help of singing and a bright appearance. Some of them during the breeding season during the daytime sing about 70% of the time. Some species flow, making loud, intermittent sounds. During mating flights, hummingbirds can flap their wings 200 times per second, making a humming sound.

Most birds build nests in the form of a cup on a branch of a tree or shrub, but many tropical species attach their nests to leaves and even rocks. The size of the nest varies with respect to a particular species - from miniature (half the walnut shell) to larger ones (20 cm in diameter).

On a note! To connect the materials of the nest into a single whole and fix its structure, birds often use cobwebs and lichens. The unique properties of the materials allow the nest to expand as young chicks grow.

Females lay 1-3 eggs, which are relatively large when compared with the body of an adult. Incubation is from 14 to 23 days, depending on the type of bird and the ambient temperature. The mother feeds the chicks with small arthropods and nectar. Young individuals begin to fly 18-35 days after hatching.

Hummingbird's natural enemies

Photo: Hummingbird animal

Many people have fallen in love with magnificent little precious birds and hang up feeders, providing them with water and sugar. Thus, trying to help prevent the loss of one of the most amazing birds in nature. However, cats are often found near dwellings, as pets and hummingbirds become their victims.

Interesting fact! In addition to speed and excellent vision, hummingbirds can protect themselves with the tail. If a predator catches a hummingbird at the back, freely attached tail feathers can quickly stretch out. This gives the bird a chance to survive. Moreover, these wonderful feathers grow quickly.

Hummingbirds use a web to create a nest. Therefore, sometimes they fall into it and cannot be released, becoming the prey of spiders and large insects.

In addition, hummingbird predators are:

  • Mantis - in particular, the large Chinese mantis was imported from China and released in the gardens as an insect predator, but also became a hummingbird predator.
  • Ktyr who wrap hummingbirds with their wings, preventing it from flying away. It kills hummingbirds without much trouble.
  • Frogs. Hummingbirds were found in the stomach of frogs. Apparently, they were caught near water sources.
  • Large birds: hawks, owls, crows, orioles, gulls and herons can be predators. However, hummingbirds are aggressive and often fend off large birds on their territory.
  • Snakes and lizards are also dangerous for these birds.

Hummingbirds are very agile, constantly monitor the danger and can quickly fly away from any predator.

Population and species status

Photo: Little bird hummingbird

It is difficult to estimate the size of the population because there are many different species spanning large geographic areas. From history it is known that hummingbirds were killed because of feathers, however today birds face no less destructive threats.

Changes in Earth's temperature due to climate change affect the nature of hummingbird migration, as a result of which various species can be found in places far beyond their normal range, where it is difficult to find food.

Hummingbirds are popular all over the world. Many people produce hummingbird feeders or grow flowers that attract birds in the warmer months when they make long flights. Hummingbird fans are doing everything possible to ensure that in every backyard, in the park and in the garden there is a great place for these wonderful birds.

There are laws against capturing hummingbirds in any form. However, some human activities can be a threat to birds. The main problem is habitat reduction, as people continue to build cities, parking lots, etc.

Weather is another problem for hummingbirds. Whatever the reason, our climate is changing. Storms threaten bird migration. The absence of wildflowers due to irregular flowering, fires and floods affects birds.

Hummingbird guard

Photo: Hummingbird from the Red Book

In the XIX century, millions of bird skins were exported to Europe to decorate hats and create other accessories for the capital's fashionistas. More than 600 thousand hummingbird skins per year fell on the London markets alone. Scientists could describe some types of hummingbirds having only a skin of birds available. These birds disappeared from the face of the earth, due to the addiction of man to bright jewelry.

Habitat loss and destruction is a major threat to birds today. Since hummingbirds often specially adapt to a specific unique habitat, and can live in the same valley and nowhere else, all species listed as vulnerable or threatened with extinction are listed in the IUCN Red List.

Habitat loss caused by:

  • residential and commercial buildings,
  • tourism and recreation areas,
  • agriculture
  • deforestation,
  • livestock development,
  • roads and railways.

In 1987, all members of the family were listed in CITES Appendix II, which restricts trade in live individuals. In application I, only the bronze-tailed ramphodon is listed. For the plumage, many individuals were destroyed in the past. hummingbird, which led to a sharp decrease in the species. Therefore, the countries in which hummingbirds live have banned the export of these extraordinary birds.