Here we present the Top 25: Birds with a Sugar Rush, a spectacular collection of the many different birds that feed on nectar. Plants produce nectar as an incentive for birds and insects to pollinate them. Some plants are particularly well suited for bird pollinators, their flowers are often red or orange and have tubular flowers. Birds that specialise in feeding on nectar have long, narrow bills, well suited to reaching into these flowers. These birds and these plants have evolved together to form a mutually beneficial relationship, where the plant gets pollinated and the bird gets a sugary treat. But it is not just the specialist nectarivores that enjoy nectar, many birds are partial to nectar and will either feed on flowers they can reach into, or puncture tubular flowers to release the nectar. This collection features both the nectar specialists and nectar opportunists.
Thank you to everyone who submitted photographs this week, if you would like to take part in next week’s Top 25, look out for the announcement of the next theme on our Facebook page.
Plants like this Wild Dagga have co-evolved with nectar specialists like this White-bellied Sunbird. the long tubular flowers only allow birds like sunbirds to reach the nectar (Brian Culver)
A Little Wattlebird mid call in Don Reserve, Tasmania. These birds rely on nectar, mainly from Eucalyptus and Banksia flowers (Radhakrishnan Sadasivam)
A Streaked Spiderhunter forages for nectar in Fraser Hill, Malaysia (Arun Samak)
The Olive-backed Sunbird is native to south-east Asia and north-eastern Australia. This one was photographed in Singapore (Bharath Srinivasan)
A male Calliope Hummingbird drinks from a Red Salvia flower (Jola Charlton)
As this female Purple Sunbird drinks nectar from this flower, pollen brushes onto her bill, this pollen will then brush off onto the next flower she feeds on, in this way she plays a vital role in pollinating these plants (Paneendra BA)
like the little wattlebird, This White-cheeked Honeyeater feeds mainly on nectar from Eucalyptus and Banksia species (Jamie Dolphin)
Oriental White-eyes are generalist feeders, they eat a variety of vegetable matter, fruits and in this case, nectar (Panthera Tigris)
Parrots like this Northern Rosella eat mainly seeds but will also feed opportunistically on nectar (Janis Otto)
The Little Spiderhunter belongs to the Sunbird family. like other sunbirds they specialise in eating nectar, but they also supplement their diet with insects and spiders (Radhakrishnan Sadasivam)
Crimson Sunbirds are typically found in wooded areas, including mangrove forests (Jasvir Faridkot)
The eye-catching iridescent colouring on this Van Hasselt’s Sunbird is created by structures in the feathers, which refract light. this is why at different angles the colour may look slightly different (Saravanan Krishnamurthy)
A Blue-faced Honeyeater enjoys a nectar meal in Humpty Doo, Australia. The Honeyeaters are native to Australasia. while they may resemble nectarivores in other parts of the world, like sunbirds and flowerpeckers, they are in fact not related to them (Janis Otto)
These Pale-billed Flowerpeckers dwell in the canopy of forests, here they forage on insects, fruits and nectar (Ganesh Rao)
A female Rufous Hummingbird demonstrates her amazing hovering ability as she feeds on this Blanket Flower (Tim Nicol)
A Brahminy Starling feeds on nectar from the flowers of an Indian Coral Tree. These starlings do not specialise on nectar but they will take it opportunistically (Indranil Bhattacharjee)
This photograph of a Rufous Sibia beautifully illustrates pollination in action (Nandita Halder)
The Allen’s Hummingbird is one of the smaller species of the hummingbird family. at food sources they tend to be dominated and pushed out by larger species. but They have adapted to this by feeding at lower levels and earlier in the morning than many of the larger species (Barbara Wallace)
A Beautiful Sunbird perched alongside Lake Baringo in Kenya (Wasif Yaqeen)
This Gilbert’s Honeyeater is only found in south-western Australia (Jamie Dolphin)
Great Barbets mainly eat fruit but they will also drink nectar from time to time (Nandita Halder)
A Green-tailed Sunbird photographed in the village of Chaffi, India (Shantharam Holla)
A female Anna’s Hummingbird hovers with precision while she takes a drink of nectar (Barbara Wallace)
This amazing bird is a Sword-billed Hummingbird, the only bird in the world whose beak is longer than its body (Melissa Penta)
This White-necked Jacobin belongs to the Hummingbird family, they occur in central and south America. This male was photographed in Costa Rica by Joel Delmas
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Edited by Christie Craig, Campaign Manager