About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
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Monday, June 7, 2010

A Very Tiny Hummingbird (Moth)?

We have Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, but my husband and I also spotted a dark hummingbird that was smaller than the ruby-throated. What is it? Betty~ Laingsburg, MI

Oh a mystery! If you remember my June 1, 2010 post, I talked about how only five species of hummingbirds have been spotted in Michigan. And of those five, the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird is the smallest bird. In fact it’s the smallest bird found in Michigan at 2.8–3.5 inches long and weighing 0.1–0.2 oz.

So what did you see? I suspect that it was a hummingbird moth also known as Sphinx Moth. There are many species of sphinx moths, that usually have heavy, football-shaped bodies and relatively narrow wings for a moth. The moths’ fast beating wings give them the appearance of small hummingbirds as they buzz flowers to drink nectar.

For more information on these mysterious moths go to: http://ning.it/bBN8cx

18 comments:

Ivan said...

I see that creature every afternoon at my garden..its fly very fast flower by flower.. I impressed if it is a smallest bird. but I doubt after I read your information.. I would make it sure about what creature it is after I catch it tomorrow..

Anonymous said...

I just saw one of these and found this site while trying to figure out what it was. Pretty cool, and thanks for the info.

Anonymous said...

I have seen this one before..its very small and fly very fast..

Elizabeth said...

They are so neat looking. I see one very often on my flowers in my front yard. Was wondering if it was a bird or moth until I looked it up just now.

Anonymous said...

We have one of these moths. Very odd but fascinating. It was sort of spooky watching it because it really does look like a cross between a bird and bee.

Anonymous said...

I just took lots of photos of this month. So glad I found this site and figured out what is was! Thanks for sharing. It really does look like a cross between a hummingbird and a bee.
Ginny
I live in Lakeland, MI

Anonymous said...

Just saw one of these on some bee balm---amazing! Thought it was a bee at first- but the antenae confused me--but the movement and the tiny (beak) had me convinced it was a hummingbird! Guess I was wrong again.
Mary from Luxemburg WI

Anonymous said...

I have only seen a hummingbird moth once in my life. It was in my mothers flowers. Year after year I look to see if one will show again. What flowers draw them in?

Anonymous said...

my wife,my parents son and myself seen 3 of theese moths tonight.my mother told me it was a very small humming bird and i had to look it up.i couldnt believe that was a bird.amazing how close this moth resembles and acts like the humming bird.

Anonymous said...

I have been seeing this in my garden in NY and just looked it up and found this sight. Interesting. I wasn't sure it was actually a little hummingbird because of the insect-like legs. Thanks for the info!

Anonymous said...

July 28, 2012

I, too, have seen a green very small looking hummingbird, which I now see is a moth! I live in Northern North Carolina and we seem to have a lot of wildlife. A marsh hawk thought our garden soaker was a black snake and we got a few good photos of her.

Anonymous said...

I just saw one of these in my flowers in souther Texas and was sure it was a hummer. Looked it up and to my surprise a "moth". Wow. Love having the info. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

August 15,2012
Just saw one of these little guys this morning at the40 acer rurle Church/ camp campous where I work near Rushville ,Il.Thought I was crazy for a minute. Looked like a humming bird to me. Thanks for the info. :)

taxfact said...

I saw one in Lenexa, Ks. 83rd and Clare. I have pictures I can posts.

Nice info and picture. thanks to who did it.

Anonymous said...

I saw the tiniest Humming bird, and it was NOT a moth. I was having my daughter's picture taken for graduation and the professional photographer had a stream in the back of the place. I saw this bee size, what I thought at first, an insect, until I saw the long beak like a Humming Bird and I knew it was indeed a hummer, with the fast wings. To me the beak confirmed it. I actually wanted the photographer to come out, but he thought I was nuts! It was not a moth, but indeed the tiniesr Hummer I ever did see. It was so amazing....

Anonymous said...

Spotted what I thought was a rare hummingbird last night at dusk feeding off of a flowering sage plant. Turned out to be a hummingbird moth. I live in Vernon BC Canada.

Anonymous said...

4:55 EST. BBQ-ing on the deck. Spotted two hummingbird moths again. They seem to love the purple lantana. I also have peach lantana on the deck, but either they haven't spotted it yet or don't like the color. They have also been seen around the butterfly bush. I love it when they return each year and purposely plant purple lantana in the boxes on the deck!!

c. first said...

I live in New Mexico and have seen several of these moths in and around the wild flowers. My husband said it was a bird, but I had a chance to see it up close and realized it was some kind of moth. Your site has verified the information! Thank you!