Hummingbird Moth

It is a bird! No, it is a moth, a hummingbird moth. You can easily be fooled by this little gem of a moth. It looks and sounds like a miniature hummingbird when suspended in the air in front of a flower; wings fluttering so fast that they are just a blur and emitting a buzz quite similar to that a hummingbird makes when in flight.
Hummingbird moths are one of the exceptions to the general rule that moths fly at night. They do it in the sunshine and visit flowers that bloom during the day, most commonly, long throated flowers.

Hummingbird moth at Monarda flower

Like other moths and like butterflies they have a long tongue which they can unfold and use for drinking well hidden nectar that many other insects cannot reach. When they do so, some pollen adheres to their tongues and gets carried away to other flowers, where it performs pollination.
Another name for this moth is clearwing moth because of the see through patches without scales on its wings. It is rather chunky, with a tail that can open like a fan. The color is a rich reddish brown, with some greenish shades.

Habitat. Fields, forest edges, gardens.

Season. They are most commonly seen from May to August, although in southern states they start flying earlier and stay through autumn.

Flowers. They take nectar from deep throated flowers such as honeysuckle, bee balm or horse mint, clover, phlox, petunia. Bee balm is probably their favorite.

Hummingbird moth

Back to guide

Beginners Guide to Pollinators and Other Flower Visitors


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One Response to “Hummingbird Moth”

  1. Gaia gardener Says:

    These guys hold a special place in my heart! I feel like a kid when I notice one feeding.

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