PINNACLE OF EVOLUTION METAL PRINT

PINNACLE OF EVOLUTION METAL PRINT

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A white-tipped sicklebill hummingbird pollinates a Heliconia flower in a lowland rainforest in Costa Rica. This species has evolved in concert with species of Heliconia that have extremely curved flowers in a classic example of co-evolution. The hummingbird can't live without these flowers, and the flowers would not be pollinated without the white-tipped sicklebill. I used 4 flashes and a lot of patience to photograph this hummingbird, which only visited for less than a minute over a 2 day span. The hummingbird approaches from behind and immediately perches on the flower to feed. I imagine that inserting the absurdly curved beak into an equally absurdly curved flower would be very difficult in mid-flight, hence the preference for perching while feeding. Note that the space between the red bracts is precisely the right distance to help support the bird as it feeds!

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