Hummingbirds, BIRDS THAT CAN FLY BACKWARDS

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Costa's Hummingbird wallpaper

A male Costa's Hummingbird (Calypte costae) at the San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park, California - wallpaper size: 1024 x 768

Here is a wallpaper designed from a free public domain photo depicting a vividly colored male Costa’s Hummingbird (Calypte costae), one of the several species of very small birds known commonly as hummingbirds.

The hummingbirds belong to the family of birds called Trochilidae, the smallest of the extant species, and the Bee Hummingbird measuring only 5 cm (less than 2 inches) from head to tail.

These birds are very special among all birds not only because of their very small sizes, their most beautiful plumage of vibrant vivid colors rivaling even the male peacock, but their ability to perform aerial acrobatics, sometimes reminiscent of helicopter maneuvers. Thinking from that point of view, possibly, the first designers and scientists who developed helicopters would have been influenced and inspired by the flying habits of humming birds as much as the aero planes were inspired by the flight of birds and their streamlined design dynamics.

Humming birds can hover or stay stationary in midair as if they are suspended by a thread, but by flapping their wings at superfast speeds, near supersonic speeds, as rapidly as 80 times per second, almost making them invisible or a pale shadow to human eyes. Their flight speed is not so fast, though they can easily fly at speeds exceeding 54 km/ hour (or 34 mph).

Heard of birds that fly backwards? Most people neither may have heard of birds flying backwards nor seen them doing so. And interestingly most birdwatchers must have seen birds flying backwards but they might not have so observed it to remember. In fact humming birds are the only BIRDS THAT CAN FLY BACKWARDS.

HUMMING BIRDS DO NOT HUM, but they got the name humming birds because of the humming sound generated by the rapid flapping of their wings.

The Costa’s Hummingbird, the one shown in the picture above, is a very small bird that can grow to a maximum length of only 3 to 3½ inches (about 8 to 10 cm) in length. Males have green back and flanks, small black tails and wings, brightly colored purple gorgets (patches of distinctive color on throats of birds or animals) and patches of white or yellowish tinges below their gorgets on their throats. Female Costa’s Hummingbirds are not as vividly colored as they have rather grayish green colors with white underbellies.

Hummingbirds, if not exactly the species Costa’s Hummingbirds, are very commonly seen in most places, in parks, gardens, farms, and near homes and offices, in home gardens and even terrace gardens with potted plants, because their favorite food consists of flower nectar and very tiny insects, and they vie with butterflies and other honey suckers around flowers.

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