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Meet The Species: Hummingbird Hawkmoths

With spring looming, I wonder if anyone in the UK has managed to sight a hummingbird yet?

Most often sighted in bright sunshine, Hovering over pollen rich flowers, gently supping the nectar with their long specialised beak. They can’t survive the winter in the northern parts of Europe. Yet during the spring and summer months there are usually quite a few sightings…

Hold on! Hummingbirds aren’t native to Europe.

If you’ve seen what may appear to be one of these elusive creatures, it may actually be its insect doppelganger; the hummingbird hawkmoth.

An unusual member of its family, who often spends its days flying in bright sunshine. Bearing a close resemblance to the well-known hummingbirds from across the Atlantic. They can beat their wings up to eighty times per second and legend has it that they are a good omen.

Most populations are found on the European continent. Often across France, Iberia, Germany and the east. Some populations have even been noted in far eastern Asia.

Most commonly these fascinating little moths, which are around 40-55mm (1.5”-2”) in length only cross the English Channel when the weather is warmer. Being able to migrate enormous distances, they then cross back over to the continent or choose to perish when the English weather begins to turn cold.

However experts now believe that this fascinating moth  be establishing a population in the united kingdom. Mainly due to the weather being milder than it has been in previous decades.

Alexander S. Howson

Alexander S. Howson is a naturalist and nature writer.

Along with a heavy interest in Aquatics, birds and ecology. Alexander now directs a large deal of energy attempting to re-educate the public about aquatics and promoting the conservation of a range of wildlife species.

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