We routinely see hummingbirds using their long slender bill to feed on the nectar stored in flowers and feeders. However, most of us have never seen a hummingbird trying to catch flying insects. Until recently those that have witnessed this fascinating behavior believed that the hummingbird uses its long slender bill to pluck insects out of the air at the tip of its bill. Recent research has shown that this is not the case.
Experiments conducted by Gregor M. Yanega and Margaret A. Rubega have discovered that the hummingbird actually catches small, elusive flying insects at the base of its bill. Two University of Connecticut researchers made this remarkable discovery by photographing hummingbirds feeding on flying fruit flies. The revelation was revealed they used a video camera capable of recording images at a rate of 500 frames per second.
The video revealed that as a hummingbird opens its beak to engulf its prey, its lower bill miraculously bends down from the tip to a point roughly halfway down this bill. This enhances the chances the bird will capture a hapless fruit fly,
Once again researchers equipped with modern research tools have demonstrated that when it comes to the natural world, often things are not what they appear to be.