Friday, August 20, 2010

Sunbird, Honeyeater, Hummingbird - compared!

Finding out small birds makes the hobby of Bird-watching quite interesting. Unless we search eagerly for their details of identification these birds will seem to be of one and the same kind of birds! For example, Sunbirds, Honeyeaters and Hummingbirds are there. Though these birds have a common feeding style of taking in nectar (sweet fluid of flowers), they are different and are not related!

Sunbirds (Nectarinia asiatica, Purple Sunbird, ''Thean Sittu' in Tamil) perch and feed unlike the Hummingbirds which feed in midair, hovering! Honeyeaters can feed hanging upside down!

Hummingbird is the smallest of these three birds (as also it is in the whole birds' world!). It weighs 1.8 gm and is 5 cm long! [eg. Bee Hummingbird (Mellisuga helenae)].

Hummingbirds are mostly dull in color. Others are brightly colored (only males).
Nests of Sunbirds are purse-shaped while those of Hummingbirds are cup-shaped and are built in leaf.
Honeyeaters (Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris, Eastern Spinebill) are found in Australia, Sunbirds in Africa and Asia. But Hummingbirds are seen restricted to America only!
But these birds resemble in feeding adaptations for taking nectar! They have tubular or grooved tongues, that are tipped with a brush to soak in the nectar and take! And they have also long and curved beaks for that.
These small birds are wonders in the wonderful bird world itself. As we go on searching for details of each, more wonders will be revealed!

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