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Sword-billed hummingbird - in flight approach IV, Jardin, Colombia The least favorite of my in-flight shots of this bird, yet usable. What I like about this pose is that if you rotate this photo so that the bill is straight, it shows that its entire body from bill to tail is an almost perfectly straight line. <br />
<br />
More in-flight shots:<br />
<figure class="photo"><a href="https://www.jungledragon.com/image/60767/sword-billed_hummingbird_-_in_flight_approach_jardin_colombia.html" title="Sword-billed hummingbird - in flight approach, Jardin, Colombia"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.jungledragon.com/images/2/60767_thumb.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=05GMT0V3GWVNE7GGM1R2&Expires=1569456010&Signature=fEXNr6mFkN%2Fkm%2FlXn6rLCMTH%2Bfw%3D" width="200" height="132" alt="Sword-billed hummingbird - in flight approach, Jardin, Colombia Yeah, so let&#039;s skip the 200 failed attempts at getting this spectacular bird in focus whilst flying. Here&#039;s a first usable one where it is approaches the feeder from the side. Note its tilted head position which it maintains until it arrives as the feeder. Only then will it tilt down whilst increasing wing speed, to compensate for its heavy bill. Imagine also the precision of flight needed to actually aim such a bill at the tiny feeder holes.<br />
<br />
More in-flight shots:<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/60770/sword-billed_hummingbird_-_in_flight_approach_iv_jardin_colombia.html<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/60768/sword-billed_hummingbird_-_in_flight_approach_ii_jardin_colombia.html<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/60769/sword-billed_hummingbird_-_in_flight_approach_iii_jardin_colombia.html Antioquia,Colombia,Colombia Choco &amp; Pacific region,Ensifera ensifera,Fall,Geotagged,Jardin,Jard&iacute;n,South America,Sword-billed hummingbird,World" /></a></figure><br />
<figure class="photo"><a href="https://www.jungledragon.com/image/60768/sword-billed_hummingbird_-_in_flight_approach_ii_jardin_colombia.html" title="Sword-billed hummingbird - in flight approach II, Jardin, Colombia"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.jungledragon.com/images/2/60768_thumb.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=05GMT0V3GWVNE7GGM1R2&Expires=1569456010&Signature=Xo%2BNGr61K0B6eFLqnRpXJJSWMIk%3D" width="200" height="134" alt="Sword-billed hummingbird - in flight approach II, Jardin, Colombia This is my personal favorite of the few in-flight shots I got of this amazing bird. Out of the other shots, this one has the best angle, it is completely cleared from the feeder itself, and does not suffer from hard flash effects. I also like the wing blur to indicate how fast it needs to beat its wing to keep in the air. <br />
<br />
There is no spectacular &quot;making of&quot; or special skill involved here. The approach is a tele to have some distance, a strong head flash that can cover this distance, auto focus (so no prefocus), and simply trying many many times. Out of a few hundred attempts, I failed almost all of them because auto focus was too late to lock on, the bird had already moved on. Prefocus does not seem fruitful to me as you cannot foresee the depth at which the bird will appear, so it will never really be fully in focus. <br />
<br />
The funny thing is, the camera I took this with (D850) was brand new and I was still learning it on this trip. Now I know it has continuous AF with 3D tracking, which would probably have a dramatically increased success rate. <br />
<br />
So looking back, I compensated pure ignorance with sheer persistence. Here&#039;s another one taken about 30 mins later:<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/60769/sword-billed_hummingbird_-_in_flight_approach_iii_jardin_colombia.html<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/60767/sword-billed_hummingbird_-_in_flight_approach_jardin_colombia.html<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/60770/sword-billed_hummingbird_-_in_flight_approach_iv_jardin_colombia.html Antioquia,Colombia,Colombia Choco &amp; Pacific region,Ensifera ensifera,Fall,Geotagged,Jardin,Jard&iacute;n,South America,Sword-billed hummingbird,World" /></a></figure><br />
<figure class="photo"><a href="https://www.jungledragon.com/image/60769/sword-billed_hummingbird_-_in_flight_approach_iii_jardin_colombia.html" title="Sword-billed hummingbird - in flight approach III, Jardin, Colombia"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.jungledragon.com/images/2/60769_thumb.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=05GMT0V3GWVNE7GGM1R2&Expires=1569456010&Signature=9eOP2eAzKraUAYRoqPJPLN5BJes%3D" width="200" height="130" alt="Sword-billed hummingbird - in flight approach III, Jardin, Colombia Taken 30 mins after this in-flight shot (which is my favorite):<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/60768/sword-billed_hummingbird_-_in_flight_approach_ii_jardin_colombia.html<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/60767/sword-billed_hummingbird_-_in_flight_approach_jardin_colombia.html<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/60770/sword-billed_hummingbird_-_in_flight_approach_iv_jardin_colombia.html Antioquia,Colombia,Colombia Choco &amp; Pacific region,Ensifera ensifera,Jardin,Jard&iacute;n,South America,Sword-billed hummingbird,World" /></a></figure> Antioquia,Colombia,Colombia Choco & Pacific region,Ensifera ensifera,Fall,Geotagged,Jardin,Jardín,South America,Sword-billed hummingbird,World Click/tap to enlarge

Sword-billed hummingbird - in flight approach IV, Jardin, Colombia

The least favorite of my in-flight shots of this bird, yet usable. What I like about this pose is that if you rotate this photo so that the bill is straight, it shows that its entire body from bill to tail is an almost perfectly straight line.

More in-flight shots:

Sword-billed hummingbird - in flight approach, Jardin, Colombia Yeah, so let's skip the 200 failed attempts at getting this spectacular bird in focus whilst flying. Here's a first usable one where it is approaches the feeder from the side. Note its tilted head position which it maintains until it arrives as the feeder. Only then will it tilt down whilst increasing wing speed, to compensate for its heavy bill. Imagine also the precision of flight needed to actually aim such a bill at the tiny feeder holes.<br />
<br />
More in-flight shots:<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/60770/sword-billed_hummingbird_-_in_flight_approach_iv_jardin_colombia.html<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/60768/sword-billed_hummingbird_-_in_flight_approach_ii_jardin_colombia.html<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/60769/sword-billed_hummingbird_-_in_flight_approach_iii_jardin_colombia.html Antioquia,Colombia,Colombia Choco & Pacific region,Ensifera ensifera,Fall,Geotagged,Jardin,Jardín,South America,Sword-billed hummingbird,World

Sword-billed hummingbird - in flight approach II, Jardin, Colombia This is my personal favorite of the few in-flight shots I got of this amazing bird. Out of the other shots, this one has the best angle, it is completely cleared from the feeder itself, and does not suffer from hard flash effects. I also like the wing blur to indicate how fast it needs to beat its wing to keep in the air. <br />
<br />
There is no spectacular "making of" or special skill involved here. The approach is a tele to have some distance, a strong head flash that can cover this distance, auto focus (so no prefocus), and simply trying many many times. Out of a few hundred attempts, I failed almost all of them because auto focus was too late to lock on, the bird had already moved on. Prefocus does not seem fruitful to me as you cannot foresee the depth at which the bird will appear, so it will never really be fully in focus. <br />
<br />
The funny thing is, the camera I took this with (D850) was brand new and I was still learning it on this trip. Now I know it has continuous AF with 3D tracking, which would probably have a dramatically increased success rate. <br />
<br />
So looking back, I compensated pure ignorance with sheer persistence. Here's another one taken about 30 mins later:<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/60769/sword-billed_hummingbird_-_in_flight_approach_iii_jardin_colombia.html<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/60767/sword-billed_hummingbird_-_in_flight_approach_jardin_colombia.html<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/60770/sword-billed_hummingbird_-_in_flight_approach_iv_jardin_colombia.html Antioquia,Colombia,Colombia Choco & Pacific region,Ensifera ensifera,Fall,Geotagged,Jardin,Jardín,South America,Sword-billed hummingbird,World

Sword-billed hummingbird - in flight approach III, Jardin, Colombia Taken 30 mins after this in-flight shot (which is my favorite):<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/60768/sword-billed_hummingbird_-_in_flight_approach_ii_jardin_colombia.html<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/60767/sword-billed_hummingbird_-_in_flight_approach_jardin_colombia.html<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/60770/sword-billed_hummingbird_-_in_flight_approach_iv_jardin_colombia.html Antioquia,Colombia,Colombia Choco & Pacific region,Ensifera ensifera,Jardin,Jardín,South America,Sword-billed hummingbird,World

    comments (2)

  1. It has a look of sheer determination in this photo. Posted one year ago
    1. lol yes, I think when this bird decided to fly, there really is no going back.
      Just a figure of speech, because it actually CAN fly backwards, like most hummingbirds.
      Posted one year ago

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The sword-billed hummingbird is a neotropical species of hummingbird from the Andean regions of South America. It is the sole member of the genus ''Ensifera'' and is characterized by its unusually long bill size; it is the only bird to have a beak longer than the length of its body. ''E. ensifera'' uses its bill to drink nectar from flowers with long corollas and has coevolved with the species ''Passiflora mixta''. While most hummingbirds preen using their bills, ''E. ensifera'' must use its feet.. more

Similar species: Swifts And Hummingbirds
Species identified by fchristant
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By fchristant

All rights reserved
Uploaded May 29, 2018. Captured Oct 30, 2017 08:50 in Riosucio - Jardin, Jardín, Antioquia, Colombia.
  • NIKON D850
  • f/7.1
  • 1/60s
  • ISO64
  • 220mm