For some hummingbirds, fighting outweighs feeding

Sparkling violetear (Colibri coruscans) and Brown violetear (Colibri delphinae) display their neck-side feathers, trying to dissuade each other from using their serrated bill edges and dagger-like tips on their bills. ©Cristian Irian, Finca Colibrí Gorriazul, Colombia

Hummingbird bills are designed to draw nectar from flowers, but researchers have found that some male hummingbirds have developed bills better suited for stabbing their rivals. “It is all about feeding efficiency in flowers versus proficiency in fighting,” said Alejandro Rico-Guevara, a Miller Postdoctoral Fellow at University of California, Berkeley, and the lead scientist on a project that captured hummingbird fencing and feeding strategies in slow motion.

Watch the video below. Read more about their research here, or find their study in Integrative Organismal Biology.