One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A small nectar-feeding tropical American bird that is able to hover and fly backwards, and typically has colourful iridescent plumage.
Family Trochilidae: many genera and numerous species
- ‘The principal characteristic that sets hummingbirds apart from all other birds is their mode of flight.’
- ‘Like other birds, hummingbirds communicate through both auditory and visual signals.’
- ‘Nectar-producing plants are very popular for attracting hummingbirds and orioles.’
- ‘Without the ability to hover, hummingbirds would not be able to obtain nectar from flowers.’
- ‘Thus, hummingbirds represent an ideal system in which to gain understanding of how animals achieve energy balance.’
Mid 17th century: so named because of the humming sound produced by the rapid vibration of the bird's wings.
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