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Hummingbird Beaks May Be More Violent Than We Thought

We know that hummingbirds use their long, slender, tube-like beaks to sip the nectar from flowers and that's why they are structured in that way. They can feed as much as six times in an hour so as to sustain their active lifestyle. However, a new research suggests that their beaks may be capable of a more offensive feature than we would expect.

Hummingbird beaks are also used to snatch insects and for self-defense, but their primary purpose is for nectar feeding—or so we thought. New research published today in Integrative Organismal Biology shows that males of some tropical hummingbird species from South America have beaks more suited to fencing, poking, and pinching behaviors.
Ornithologist Alejandro Rico-Guevara, the lead author of the study and a professor at UC Berkeley, said these appendages are used by male hummingbirds to fight off other males, which they do to gain access to food resources and females.

(Image credit: Cristian Irlan/Finca El Colibri Gorriazul via Gizmodo)

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My back yard used to be the scene of many hummingbird battles. (Got rid of the pomegranates, so they don't come round much anymore.) They can be fierce.
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