Anatomy of a Hummingbird's Tongue

by Steve Abbott
(Cameron Park, CA)




This Anna's Hummingbird has been visiting our feeders all year (they are year-round residents in California). I was shooting out the slider when she decided to stretch out her tongue. You can see where the tongue forks here (before wrapping itself around the skull and attaching between the eyes). I used a Canon 5D with the 100-400mm L lens and a bracket mounted EX550 flash.

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Dec 29, 2011
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About yoiur picture
by: Anonymous

I use a similar technique with my hummingbird photos. Really like the capture.
I had more trouble attracting hummingbirds to my house than photographing them once they arrived.I moved last year. My new house is in a suburban neighborhood in Rhode Island.I didn't see hummingbirds anywhere. Still, I put out feeders, hung red ribbons everywhere and one came.Hopefully, I will have more next year.I planted some flowers but it was late in the season.

Dec 29, 2011
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About yoiur picture
by: Anonymous

Thanks for giving me the information about the camera you used to get the shot. I am in the market for a camera now. I like to photograph birds especially hummingbirds. So I hope to try your technique.

Dec 29, 2011
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Anatomy of a Hummingbird's Tongue
by: Josh

Aren't hummingbirds great! I think your photograph is unique.
I don't have any hummingbirds. My neighbor's have them. I read on this website that you need to hang red ribbons on them to attract initially.I am going to try this. I would love to have hummingbirds in my yard.

Dec 29, 2011
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Anatomy of a Hummingbird's Tongue
by: Evelyn

I like your picture.I am in high school. I am interested in birds and nature. I want to study animal biology in college.

Dec 29, 2011
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Anatomy of a Hummingbird's Tongue
by: Mike

What a different photo.I had heard recently that a hummingbird has a split tongue.When it eats the nectar goes between and then into the mouth. It was something like that anyway. I know that nectar sticks to their heads when then go from flower to flower.That way, they pollinate the flowers.I was told this at my nursery. Hummingbirds are good for gardens. You are a very good photographer.

Jul 16, 2010
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Interesting title
by: Ruth &Jim

Wonderful photo Steve. Interesting visual anatomy lesson.Few of us have seen this detail of a hummingbird's tongue before.

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