Wild Things: Life as We Know It

Hummingbirds, birch trees, queen bees, northern quolls and more…

Northern quolls, cat-size Australian marsupials (FLPA / David Hosking / AGE Fotostock)


purple-throated carib
(Cheryl Carlin)
Name: The purple-throated carib (Eulampis jugularis), a Caribbean hummingbird that feeds on the nectar of Heliconia flowers
Fighters? Males defend unusually large territories.
Lovers? Their territories include a Heliconia species whose nectar only female E. jugularis can reach with their long, curved beaks. Males gain an advantage in mating by allowing females to feed on the flowers.
Farmers? It’s the first time researchers have documented male birds guarding a food only females eat. Study authors W. John Kress of Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and Ethan Temeles of Amherst College call it “nectar farming.”

Learn more about the purple-throated carib at the Encyclopedia of Life.


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