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Dublin: 5 °C Sunday 23 February, 2020

Irish people reporting sightings of hummingbirds that are actually moths

There has been an increase in sightings of hummingbird hawk-moths around the country this summer.

Image: hummingbird hawk-moth image via Shutterstock

THERE HAS BEEN a “higher than usual number” of reported sightings of hummingbirds in recent weeks, but experts say these birdwatchers are being deceived.

These creatures are actually a rare species of moth that can pull off a good imitation of a hummingbird.

Birdwatch Ireland said around this time every year it receives phonecalls and emails from people reporting sightings of these birds in various locations around the country. This year, it said there appears to have been an increase in numbers as there has been a higher than usual number of reports.

Hummingbird hawk-moths hover at flowers as they feed on the nectar, their wings beat rapidly making a humming sound and they have large eyes to help them find the best flowers. Their long hollow tongues also look like the beak of a hummingbird.

Actual hummingbirds are confined to the Americas and Caribbean as they have a fast metabolism and are reliant on nectar from flowers so they could never manage to cross the Atlantic.

Birdwatch Ireland is asking members of the public to continue getting in touch if they spot these pretty-looking moths around the country.

Read: Shape of bird eggs related to their ability to fly – study>

Read: Dublin Airport is looking for better ways to scare off birds>

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