Oh my–a ‘hummingbird moth’

Many people have seen these ‘hummingbird moths’ and mistook them for actual hummingbirds. Easy to see how that can happen since they hover at nectar producing flowers and stick their proboscis (the long, thin tube they drink from)  into the flower to such up the nectar–just like actual hummingbirds.

The hummingbird moth in the top photo has it’s proboscis curled up.  The website Butterflies and Moths describes this as follows:  “The proboscis rolls up like a party noisemaker when not in use….”


‘Hummingbird moths’ are not their real names just how many people refer to them. Here is what the  World of Hummingbirds   website says about them:

  • “The hummingbird moth belongs to the family of moths technically call the Sphingidae family or Sphinx family of moths.”
  • “There are many different types of Hummingbird Moths. These can include the Snowberry Clearwing Hummingbird Moth, the Tersa Sphinx Hummingbird Moth, and the White-lined Sphinx Hummingbird Moth”


 This hummingbird moth is a White-lined Sphinx Moth which is obviously named for the white line across their wings.  Notice the long proboscis on the hummingbird moth in the photos just above and below–it is inside the flower on my Sonoran Sunset cana Agastache plant.  I wrote about White-lined Sphinx Moths getting nectar from this long blooming plant in an earlier article here.  Birds and Blooms Magazine’s editor Kirsten Sweet  wrote about another species of hummingbird moth, the clearwing moth.


Even though we have had hard freezes on two nights so far this fall, I still have several of these cute hummingbird moths feeding on the Sonoran Sunset agastache plants in my yard in Colorado.  Have you seen any of these hummingbird moths?

  1. says

    I love the first picture showing the curled up proboscis. I had a bumblebee moth (Hemaris diffinis, a type of hummingbird moth) visit my pot of verbena this summer. Hummingbird moths are such fun to watch.

  2. says

    I have a photo I took of a hummingbird moth going to my yellow Columbine flowers. I took it through my window and was so excited. It isn’t the quality of this photo here! But I think it is the same kind of moth. I looked up on internet about them and I learned there are many. I feel blessed to have a photo of one.

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