Laura Erickson's For the Birds

Monday, April 23, 2007

If the flower fits the bill...

Today's LiveScience has a cool story about flowers evolving to fit bird and bat "snouts." Check it out!

I've been lucky enough to see some pretty cool hummingbird bills:

Sword-billed Hummingbird (Ecuador, 2006)
Green-breasted Mango (Costa Rica, 2002)

Broad-billed Hummingbird (Arkansas, 2006)
Green Thorntail (Costa Rica, 2007)

Volcano Hummingbird (Costa Rica 2007)
Gray-tailed Mountain Gem (Costa Rica, 2007)
Cinnamon Hummingbird (Guatemala, 2007)


  1. I always thought that the flower and the bill evolved together - not that the bill evolved to fit the flower or vice versa.

  2. I thought so, too. The flower couldn't have successfully evolved TOO much faster than the bird bill or bat snout or who would fit into it until the bird or bat caught up?

  3. Did you happen to see the cover of the latest Africa Birds & Birding? It features a Malachite Sunbird; a striking creature that is part of the family standing in the place of the nectarivore niche of the hummingbirds that are absent from that biogregion. Perhaps some enterprising ornithologist will someday cross-examine the data discovered on New World hummingbird bills with those of the Old World sunbirds?