It's A Bird, It's A Plane, It's Mothera?

I used to see hummingbirds quite frequently in southern California, especially when I lived out in some orange groves for a couple of years. We had a feeder on our patio to attract them. They are really beautiful birds with amazing flying and hovering skills. There weren't any hummingbirds to be seen in Hawaii.

They aren't to be found in Japan either, they exist only in the Americas. So I was really taken aback today as Momo and I took an early morning walk and I heard that humming noise. I looked and for a moment thought I saw a hummingbird.

It was hovering like a hummingbird, making the same sound as it furiously beat its wings hundreds of times per second, and was going from flower to flower just like a hummingbird. I'd never seen such a thing. At about 6 or 7 cm (2.5 inches) in length, it was a bit too small to be a bird - perhaps some kind of insect. It had orange coloring on its wings and what looked like a long pointed beak. After hovering at a few flowers just a meter or so distance from me, it flew away.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Hummingbird Hawk-Moth

What I had seen was a Hummingbird Hawk-Moth. A big moth. The beak is actually its proboscus which it curls up when not in use. Maybe my readers have seen them before, but this was my first and I hope I see another soon. They are really beautiful and like the hummingbirds, fascinating to watch.


Robin said...

I would have swear I saw a hummingbird.

why is there no humming bird in Japan?

I think we have them in SG, once in a while

Pandabonium said...

Robin - hummingbirds only live in the Americas and mostly the tropical areas from Mexico down to Peru and Brazil.
The ones seen further north are just there to breed, then fly south again.

They are not found in Europe, Asia, Africa, or Australia.

Why? Just where they evolved.

If you saw a hummingbird in Singapore, it must have been one that escaped from a cage, or perhaps another kind of bird or hummmingbird hawk-moth.

nzm said...

Fascinating - I didn't realise that these moths existed - what an amazing creature.

Pandabonium said...

NZM - yeah, surpised the heck out me. Very cool.

The Moody Minstrel said...

I see those things in my yard quite a bit, and the first time I saw one I actually did think it was a hummingbird. I wondered if perhaps it had either escaped from a zoo or accidentally stowed away on a ship or something. It wasn't until I finally got a good look up close that I figured out the truth.

Those antennae were a dead giveaway.

Damned thing. I hate being deceived! I should've gotten the pesticide sprayer and taught it a lesson in honesty.

I like hummingbirds. They come to my parents' place every summer, and there's a special feeder set up just for them. It's amazing that a bird can be so tiny.

Pandabonium said...

MM - the deception was in your mind. Perhaps you should have sprayed yourself. ^O^

Hummingbirds are amazing. Their hearts beat up to 800 times a minute when they are flying.

Robin said...


yes, it is all in your mind..

and we call it KUNTAK!

YD said...

... and i thought i have seen hummingnbird...

Pandabonium said...

Ah YD. I wonder if these moths sometime fool even a cat?