Hummingbird, Hawk Or Moth

June 9th, 2011 by Ray Burman Leave a reply »

Hummingbird hawk mothWell its all of them! (in name anyway)

Its a type of moth that can fly like a Hummingbird and also has a very long tongue (proboscis)

It’s called the Hummingbird hawk moth!

Its an amazing moth to observe, when you see it for the first time it takes a while to realize that its actually a type of moth and not a tiny bird.

It’s wings move so fast that they are just a blur,  and you can hear a humming sound, if you can get close enough.

The Hummingbird hawk moth has the same flight maneuverability as a real humming bird.  This means it can hover and fly backwards!

Due to its very fast metabolism it has to drink nectar quite frequently as it would soon burn up it’s supply of energy.

Hummingbird hawk moth is a hard moth to photo

 The one seen here I photographed a couple of summers ago in my front garden.

They like the budleia flowers, as do many other insects, due to the abundance of flowers and their life giving nectar.

It’s not an easy moth to take a picture of as it doesn’t stay still for long and when they do finally land they can be quite hard to see thanks to their camouflage and then can be quite easy disturbed.

Due to the orange color of  one pair of wings, they seem to glow when caught in a certain light.

The Hummingbird hawk moth is a migratory moth!

Due to this  its not a permanent fixture to the UK, (except possibly in the southwest) due to its liking of warmer climbs so some years it can be hard to find.   It actually comes over from Africa!

I am luckly to live in one of the warmer parts of England (Kent) so the Hummingbird hawk moth is thankfully quite common in the summer months.

See feature on my favourite four UK hawk moths



  1. Peter says:

    We had a humming bird Hawk moth in our garden today 27.6.2011
    Fantastic moth and great to watch it taking nectar
    Herne Bay site – Kent

    • Ray Burman says:

      Hi Peter,
      I was told about them by my old next-door neighbour. Once I saw one flying around, I could see why he was so interested. amazing how similar they are to an actual hummingbird.

  2. Ray Lovett- Bristol says:

    We had one in my garden yesterday, didnt know what it was, what a fab sight to see.

    • Ray Burman says:

      Yes, when you see them for the first time you can think your seeing things….

      • Shirley says:

        One comes to visit my Forest Blue plant everyday, its a wonderful sight to see here in Welney, Norfolk.

        • Ray Burman says:


          Yes, it’s an amazing thing to see. Nice to know that you can see them in Norfolk as well.


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