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That’s not a hummingbird, it’s a hummingbird MOTH!

By Gary Bogue
Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009 at 6:46 am in hummingbirds, Moths.

Hummingbird moth in Greve, Italy, about 25 miles south of Florence. Photo by Don Morgan, Concord, CA
hummer moth

Hi Gary:
This past June my family took a trip to Italy (Chianti region). Our last day there, I spotted what first looked like a very large bug in a patch of lavender. It was moving between the flowers. It had a long bill which then made me think it was a hummingbird. But when I looked at its body, it almost looked like the body of an insect. Based on the bill and the hovering between flowers I’m sticking with my hummingbird theory.
Don, Concord

Hi Don:
Not a hummingbird. It’s a “hummingbird” moth. Note the two antennae, which birds don’t have. The “bill” is actually a long proboscis that curls up when not in use and uncurls when it probes into a flower for nectar. We have a similar San Francisco Bay Area species called a sphinx moth. They hover in front of flowers like hummingbirds as they feed on the nectar.

Sometimes I think Mother Nature likes to play with our minds. /Gary

Italian hummingbird moth (Don Morgan/Concord)
hummer moth

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2 Responses to “That’s not a hummingbird, it’s a hummingbird MOTH!”

  1. Kaaren Smith Says:

    My Italian nature loving grandfather never told me about these amazing creatures. I wish I could talk to him about this beautiful photo. I miss his teachings and sharing nature experiences. Thanks for sharing this.
    Kaaren Smith

  2. bill Says:

    hi gary i have lived in sunol for three years and ive never seen a moth infesdation like what we are having now can you tell me whats going on please?

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