Saturday, February 14, 2015

Two thieves

We all know about flowers and nectar and pollination, for some flowers the pollinators are hummingbirds, for most it's bees or other insects.  We came across a couple birds that cheat however.

The Slaty Flowerpiercer is one of those birds.  They use their oddly shaped bill to grasp the base of a flower and then poke a hole in to drain out the nectar, bypassing that whole messy pollination process.

They're not the only one who does this.
 On each trip I've made into the highlands I've seen Stripe-tailed Hummingbirds nectaring from the holes the flowerpiercers make.

The Stripe-tailed's looked to be moulting.  These birds were a couple hundred yards apart and on opposite sides of a river
 Both are down to 3 primaries which remarkably was sufficient.

Not so with the Violet-ears, whose plumage seemed fairly pristine.

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