Have You Seen A Hummingbird Moth? Here Are 10 Facts That Will Amaze

Is it a bird? Is it a bug? Whatever it is, this wing-beating creature is sure to cause you to do a double take! Meet the hummingbird moth. It’s one of the most fascinating insects (yes, it’s an insect!) to roam the garden. Here are 10 facts that will amaze you:

10 Fascinating Facts About The Hummingbird Moth

1) Hummingbird moth is the common name used for the genus Hemaris, which include: Hummingbird Hawk-Moth, Sphinx moth, Common Clearwing Hummingbird moth, Snowberry Clearwing Hummingbird moth, Five-Spotted Hawkmoth, and White-Lined Sphinx.

2) Loathed by gardeners, the tomato or tobacco hornworm caterpillar that you see munching on your tomato plants will eventually morph into a Hawk moth, or Sphinx moth, each a type of hummingbird moth.

3) The moths featured in the 1991 film, The Silence of the Lambs were death’s head hawk moths, a type of hummingbird moth (of the Sphingidae family of moths, in the genus Hemaris). According to IMDb, the moths were treated like celebrities. “They were flown first class… and had special living quarters.”

4) The fast-moving hummingbird moth has a rapid wingbeat up to 70 beats per second (depending on the species), enabling it to fly up to 12 mph.

5) Instead of a beak like a hummingbird, it has a long tongue-like proboscis that rolls out of its coiled tube to reach the nectar deep inside flowers. Its tongue is about double the length of the moth’s body.

6) It has large, menacing eyes that appear to warn predators to keep their distance. Also protecting it from potential predators is its close resemblance to a bird, instead of a bug.

7) They range in length from 2—2.5 inches long and are covered in gray hair that resembles feathers, with white, rust or brown markings or variations. Their wingspan ranges from 2 to 6 inches depending on the species. The Snowberry Clearwing moth has clear wings.

8) The hummingbird moth can be found not only in North America, but in Europe, Africa, and Asia. They have a wide range in the US from Texas and Florida to Maine and Alaska.

9) After mating, the female moth lays eggs on plant leaves such as honeysuckle, cherries, hawthorns, and viburnums. The hatched caterpillar feeds on its host bush or vine.

10) These moths actively feed on flower nectar in the daytime, but you may also get a glimpse of one feeding at dusk on night-blooming flowers such as the evening primrose or night blooming jasmine.

Farmers’ Almanac Members Learn More About Hummingbird Moths Here.

Join The Discussion!

Have you seen one of these fascinating creatures?

Where are you based? Please share your photos with us here.

Tell us about your experience in the comments below!

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10 Amazing Facts About Hummingbirds

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Deborah Tukua

Deborah Tukua is a natural living, healthy lifestyle writer and author of 7 non-fiction books, including Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. She has been a writer for the Farmers' Almanac since 2004.

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SamJ

Seen on southern Sea islands of South Carolina coast

SamJ

My son and I watched this tiny hummingbird go to town on our jasmine and doing so at such a pace it melted our brains a wee bit. I recall stating that hummingbirds generally hit a few buds and take off with their little zipping squeaks away but this fella wouldn’t quit, he was going to drink all the nectar from each trumpet before nightfall that evening. That’s when we started questioning the possibility of whether it was a mini hummingbird at all. A web search later and here we are. We have an abundance of these enormous sphinx moths that are gorgeous in detail and size enough that my 12 yo has done a report for school on them a couple of years ago (also, wondering why we never found these interesting tidbits of info on them previously as well!). As soon as we saw the picture here of the hummingbird moth we knew that THAT was our mystery greedy, mini, brown hummingbird! Thank you for the interesting article and facts! This little guy is going to be my new arts and crafts topic of obsession for the next little while! Lol. Xo,
-SamJ.

Michele Woodford

Good morning- I believe I have a male hummingbird moth in my garden! Really likes the Esperanza flower

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Sandie

October 2022. Just seen a hummingbird moth in my garden Fareham, Hampshire UK. Exceptionally warm autumn.

Lisa

Hi the first hummingbird moth I see was 4 years ago in NYC 124th street in morning side park I didn’t know what it was I got scared was like a hummingbird/ bee after a long time I move out of state to florence sc I just see another one color black and brown roaming around my rose’s they are beautiful they to fast for me to take a picture 📸 im fascinated by the looks I need more info about this insect.

Kay Blue

Located in northern Illinois close to lake Michigan and just saw my first hummingbird moth. Black with a small white stripe across it’s back. We have many ruby throated hummingbirds in the summer and for a minute I mistook it for a tiny hummingbird on migration but it was definitely an insect and spent a long time on our verbeena. It’s amazing to watch and a very special moment.

GizzySeph

I just now saw a humming bird moth , exactly the one shown here ontop, im from Benicasim Spain, i never seen one before and was amazed with my daughter how cute they are

Jane

It seems that every fall, after the hummingbirds leave, these fascinating moths come to my black and blue salvia, usually at dusk. I’ve seen them in Ohio and now in my garden in Charleston, SC. I love to watch them flit from bloom to bloom!

Jess

Im from South East Queensland in Australia and I was living in a little town called Murgon 2 years ago when I saw a Hummingbird Moth around my Jasmine vine. I wasnt able to get a photo as it was too quick for me. I had never seen one before and I have not seen one since. Was an amazing sight to see

Angie

I saw a couple for the first time a few days ago in Cypress, TX. I wasn’t sure what they were but looked like small hummingbirds. Called my neighbor over and she told me what the were. Too cool!

Shannon

I have one of these hummingbird moths feeding on a purple lantana flower everyday here in Sheridan,AR wasnt sure what it was and was too busy looking at it to be able to get a picture. It is kinda grey in body but has a pink dusty color in its wings

Denise

I’ve seen one only once, at least 10 years ago. I was standing beside a planter of petunias when I heard a sound I thought was a hummingbird. I looked down, and at first thought I was looking at a hummingbird. It took me a little while to realize what I was seeing. I had never seen, or heard of, a hummingbird moth prior to that experience.

Dutch

I was excited at first because I thought it was a humming bird. I tried so hard to attract them even before I worte my book dmtjourneys and was published. Then i had time to focus on my garden finally I seen something flying fast. I was so happy than look again and was like wait what that’s not a humming bird. Surprisingly I seen 3 of them and they let me get close to them take pictures and videos. They flew around me got really close and wasn’t scared at all. So I was like ok we have a mutual respect and understanding. I thought they look weird no lie I wanted to kill it but I love animals and insect plus they seem really cool just minding there own business, so I did the same😎.

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Alana

Hello I seen 2 of them could not get a picture but the was on my thorn bushes I was so excited I live in wyoming thought I was loosing my mind lol

Patrice Willams

Saw several of the pink hummingbird moths this evening on my Rangoon Creeper in Pearland, TX. They were too fast for a clear picture.

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Lindsay Baum

Wow I found one in my horses stall!!! I’ve never seen a Caterpillar so large he was a good 5-6″ and as thick as a man’s finger! I quickly relocated him or her to a much safer part of the yard.

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Pam

This Pink Hummingbird Moth was feeding on our petunias this evening!

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Linda

I have several feeding at the flowers around my patio In Pueblo West Co. They are so amazing

Sandi Duncan

Wow! It’s so fun to hear where people are seeing them! Thank you for sharing.

Julie Thostenson

Larvae of Braconid wasps feast on tomato hornworms, Sphinx Moth caterpillars. Drama unfolding.

Sandi Duncan

Hey friends! We’ve been so amazed by all of your comments, photos, and observations of this special moth, we’ve put together a list of more hummingbird moth facts that may answer some additional questions. Be sure to check it out! And keep sharing your observations! Thanks so much! https://www.farmersalmanac.com/learn-more-about-hummingbird-moths

Last edited 2 months ago by Sandi Duncan
Daniel

I have them on my lilac tree in the spring time. They show up and camp there till they dry up. Love me my little hummingbird moths.

Kelly

Just saw one feeding on my flowers in the front yard. They are beautiful, I thought it was a hummingbird! Looked it up and it is not! Amazing! Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Frostie

Have videos of the entertaining creatures on our zinnias, along with various bees and butterflies

Lu Ann

There were about 12 feeding on my lantanas this evening. Las Vegas NV 9/9/2022

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Sandi Duncan

Wow Great shot!

D Bradley

Been looking at these on Sal , Cape Verde.

Donna

There are about a dozen feeding on the bushes today in our front yard in Colorado Springs.

Sandi Duncan

Amazing!! So nice to hear they’re still being spotted!

Angel pepel

I have seen two of them they’re gorgeous.

Chris J Conrad

Got a video of one this morning in my back yard in Moline IL. Had no idea these guys existed until today.

Sandi Duncan

They are very cool looking aren’t they? We had to look them up as well when we first spotted them here among the phlox! We haven’t spotted any for about a month here in NJ.

Dianna

Pretty sure this is what I saw on my flowers last night in Columbus Indiana. Awesome

Leroy Svec

We have had numerous hummingbird moths on our Zinnias the last few days in eastern Nebraska in mid-September 2022. Also lots of monarch butterflies liking the zinnias!

Sandi Duncan

Zinnias to the rescue! Such pretty flowers and glad to hear they are attracting the pollinators! Thanks for your comment and being part of our community here!

Leroy Svec

Had a number of the hummingbird moths on our zinnia flowers the last few days in eastern Nebraska, along with lots of monarch butterflies. It is mid-September and both have been around for a while.

Shelley

Southeastern WI, had no idea what is was, had to Google it!

Wendy

I see them every day here in GA!

Rebecca

Saw several while visiting Georgetown, Colorado last month. Had never seen one before. Snapped a lot of pictures to capture this one good one!

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Sandi Duncan

Nice picture! Thanks for sharing Rebecca!!

Steve

Just saw one this morning in Olathe KS. Amazing! Never saw one before.

Richard

Spotted this Hummingbird Hawk Moth at Byrkley Park Garden Centre, Rangemore, Staffordshire UK. Didn’t know what it was, had to look it up later. Thought at first it was a small hummingbird.

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Sandi Duncan

They do look similar to hummingbirds for sure! Thank you for visiting our site and commenting from across that big pond!

Patricia

Just seen my first hummingbird moth in my garden in the Basque Country, northen Spain. It was busy pollinating my salvia plants

Alexa Diaz

I saw one a few nights ago for the first time. It was feeding on a flower and it made me stop and do a double take. Fascinated and creeped out from Southern California.

Leona

Just saw one enjoying my marigolds at 8:20 pm in L’Anse Mi (upper michigan) near Lake Superior.

Debra Wagoner

I’ve been watching 3 of these beautiful creatures on my deck this evening in McPherson, Kansas.

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Elisabeth Wadman

Literally just saw one in our yard feeding on petunias! I’ve never seen one before! (Waseca, MN)

Wenda

We have one in our garden this year. Colorado

ahthony campion

saw one today 17 of sept 2022 in shirland derbyshire

A Metcalf

I live in Boulder City, NV and took a video of what I thought was a baby hummingbird. We have a few hummers that hang out around our house all thru the year. I couldn’t figure out what this was but after looking online I think I figured it just be this moth. Fascinating!

Dan ONeal

I saw two at Lowes in the garden area this evening. Cool insects!

Dan ONeal

I saw two at Lowes in the garden area this evening. Cool insects!

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Frank Budworth

Just seen this beautiful humming moth in our garden in Bolton Le Sands, Lancashire, UK

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Byron Berwick

I saw one in my flower garden several weeks ago. Yesterday i found a cocoon in the leaf litter. Put it back and hope it hatches. Trenton, Ontario, Canada

Jacquelyn

Just saw one hovering over my purple petunia and it was so fascinating!

Mary Howe

I have been wanting to catch a picture of the one for quite some time. They love my bright petunias. Beautiful , colorful, striped
and cool to watch.

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Randy

Just saw one in our flower bed, Mount Shasta, California.

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