More on the Humming Birds at The Leatherback Lodge

Courtesy Theo and Gloria at the Yerette Humming Bird Centre.. a must see tour.

 

 

Hi Folks

Today I highlight the iridescence of the Copper-rumped Hummingbird, the most common of the 13 species of hummingbirds at Yerette. Also, it is our most aggressive hummingbird and the name Bejeweled Warrior is well earned.


The many hues and tones of the rich metallic emerald greens make this hummingbird a living jewel of the natural world. The copper-coloured rump and metallic-blue tail of this hummingbird stand in sharp contrast with the brilliant greens. I never cease to be amazed by its jewel-like brilliance. No wonder human beings in the 19th century could not resist the temptation to wear the iridescent feathers of hummingbirds as jewelry.

The iridescence derives from the refraction of light in air trapped in microscopic melanin platelets located deep in the feathers of the birds. The rapidly changing jewel-like colours come from the interplay of light - both intensity and angle. The shimmering effect is further exaggerated by a rapidly beating (500-1200 bpm) jumbo-sized heart, giving the feathers a magical fluttering effect when viewed through a long lens or powerful binoculars.

Also, I find it amazing that the bird has finely-tuned control over the angle of display of its feathers thus giving it the ability to turn its iridescence on and off at will by rapidly changing the angle of interception of light. It is as though they have "brighters" in the same way that we have "dimmers" for controlling the brightness of light in our homes. Thus, the Copper-rumped Hummingbird (like other hummingbirds) have the ability to display controlled flashes of their glowing iridescence in acts of defense, aggression and courtship.

I stand in awe of this living gem. 

Attached are four photos that illustrate the iridescence of the Copper-rumped Hummingbird - our 
Bejeweled Warrior

By the way, I am now unable to identify, Jonathan, our favourite Copper-rumped Hummingbird, since he matured and blended in among the other mature birds. He is now 14 months old and should be a fully iridescent Bejeweled Warrior..

Cheers   Theo

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Copper Rumped Humming Bird dazed after bumping into a window. He was fine after a few minutes