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They move so fast that human eyes see only a hovering spot of color, a blur of wings. But when frozen in time by high-speed cameras, hummingbirds yield their secrets.
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Hummingbirds live exclusively in the Americas. The smallest can weigh less than two grams. The largest, the giant hummingbird found in Peru and Chile, tips the scales at around 20 grams. You could send something that weight in the U.S. mail with a single first-class stamp. World’s smallest birds is just one of several distinctions that hummingbird species claim. They’re the only birds that can hover in still air for 30 seconds or more. They’re the only birds with a “reverse gear”—that is, they can truly fly backward. And they’re the record holders for the fastest metabolic rate of any vertebrate on the planet.
Read the entire National Geographic magazine story on hummingbirds.
This video was based on research done by Clark lab at US Riverside, Dudley lab at UC Berkeley, and the Altshuler lab at the University of British Columbia.
The photographer would also like to thank Victor Ortega-Jimenez, Katie Johnson, Sean Wilcox, David Rankin and Nicholas Donnelly.
Learn more about photographer Anand Varma and his work here.
See Hummingbirds Fly, Shake, Drink in Amazing Slow Motion | National Geographic