Be Your Own Birder

A Bill to (Wednesday) Smile About!

Our featured bird this week, the boat-billed heron, has an amazing “smile” with its broad, distinctive bill, so to smile our way through the work week, we’re going to enjoy another smiling bird. The sword-billed hummingbird is the bird with the world’s longest bill in proportion to its overall size – the bird’s bill is actually longer than its body!

Sword-Billed Hummingbird

Sword-Billed Hummingbird – Photo by Andy Morffew

These tiny birds use their bills to good advantage, since they are able to sip nectar from much deeper flowers than other hummingbirds, or reach flowers that are tucked deeper into thick foliage. Their bills are also fearsome weapons, and they will threaten competitors or other intruders in bold displays. When perched, sword-billed hummingbirds often cock their bill upwards or may even perch with the bill held straight up to relieve strain on their neck muscles.

See the sword-billed hummingbird in action – don’t you wish these beauties would appear at your nectar feeders? Now that would be something to truly smile about!

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