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16 Stunning photos of hummingbirds’ wings reveal a magical rainbow of colours

16 Stunning photos of hummingbirds’ wings reveal a magical rainbow of colours
Source: Wings of Ligt’ © Christian Spencer

‘Winged Prism’ is a collection of breathtaking hummingbird images by multi-award winning Australian photographer Christian Spencer.

The magical rainbow of colours in hummingbirds’ wings

Multi-award winning Australian photographer Christian Spencer has lived within Brazil’s Itatiaia National Park for almost 20 years. The artist’s hummingbird series captures sunlight filtering through the wings and tail of a black and white Jacobin hummingbird. The jaw-dropping visual phenomenon is naturally occurring and the images have not been digitally manipulated in any way. All images shared with kind permission of the artist.

Christian Spencer (born Melbourne, Australia, 1977) is a professional artist, filmmaker and photographer. Since a young age Christian was always interested in nature and started painting professionally in 1996 in Adelaide. In 1998 he moved to a sheep station in a isolated farm in the heart of the Flinders Ranges in South Australia to work and paint.
1. ‘VITRAL’ Christian Spencer (born Melbourne, Australia, 1977) is a professional artist, filmmaker and photographer. Since a young age Christian was always interested in nature and started painting professionally in 1996 in Adelaide. In 1998 he moved to a sheep station in a isolated farm in the heart of the Flinders Ranges in South Australia to work and paint. Source: @christianspencer
Since 2001 he has spent long periods in Brazil exhibiting his paintings and going on to win 19 international wards for his artistic documentaries on nature.
2. ‘WINGED PRISM’ Since 2001 he has spent long periods in Brazil exhibiting his paintings and going on to win 19 international wards for his artistic documentaries on nature. Source: @christianspencer

Hummingbirds 101 — From the hummingbird society

WHAT ARE HUMMINGBIRDS?

Hummingbirds are tiny birds weighing 2 to 20 grams (.06-.60 ounces). They feed on nectar and insects, as well as tiny spiders. They have long and slender beaks and extensible tongues. They always have 10 primary feathers, 6 or 7 secondaries, nearly always 10 rectrices (tail feathers), and an extremely large sternum. Their feet are tiny and not well suited for walking but well designed for perching.

Adult males often display iridescent plumage, rarely females (sexual dimorphism).

Their wings are relatively long and pointed, usually having short arms and forearms but long hands. They fly with a unique method of rotating the entire wing, with little or no flexing of the wrist or hand joints.

As a result of their unique but inefficient means of flight, they must consume enormous amounts of food each day, with nectar often amounting to 100-200% of their body weight. Insects provide protein for their diet.

The exact number of species is perhaps 338, although not all scientists agree. This makes them the second largest family of birds after flycatchers. They are found only in the New World, from Alaska in the north to Tierra del Fuego in the south. Most species are found in the tropics.

Source: TheHummingbirdSociety.org

Recently Christian has been awarded many prizes in international photo competitions. Winning best overall photo 2014 and 2015 in the Ecological Society of Australia Photo Competition; winner in World Meteorological Organization photography awards and finalist in Head On Awards in Sydney Australia and Travel Photographer of the year and best photo award in the Canon college photography competition in Brazil in 2017.
3. ‘WINGS OF LIGHT’ Recently Christian has been awarded many prizes in international photo competitions. Winning best overall photo 2014 and 2015 in the Ecological Society of Australia Photo Competition; winner in World Meteorological Organization photography awards and finalist in Head On Awards in Sydney Australia and Travel Photographer of the year and best photo award in the Canon college photography competition in Brazil in 2017. Source: @christianspencer

IMPORTANT HUMMINGBIRD FACTS TO KNOW:

  • Of the 338 known species, 16 breed in the U.S.
  • Hummers are found only in the Americas.
  • Hummingbirds migrate in the fall or spring at a time determined by genetic programming.
  • It is illegal to possess a hummingbird, feather, nest or any part of it without a permit.
  • Do not care for an injured or baby hummingbird without the assistance of a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.

Source: TheHummingbirdSociety.org

In his 18-year career, Christian Spencer has used the canvas, film, music and photography to sustain his unique art, a representation of the abstraction that he sees in nature, capturing the inter-relationship between the micro and macro, “the invisible orchestrated cosmos”.
4. ‘CLOUD ANGEL’ In his 18-year career, Christian Spencer has used the canvas, film, music and photography to sustain his unique art, a representation of the abstraction that he sees in nature, capturing the inter-relationship between the micro and macro, “the invisible orchestrated cosmos”. Source: @christianspencer
Hummingbirds are tiny birds weighing 2 to 20 grams (.06-.60 ounces). They feed on nectar and insects, as well as tiny spiders.
5. ‘COSMIC ANGEL’ Hummingbirds are tiny birds weighing 2 to 20 grams (.06-.60 ounces). They feed on nectar and insects, as well as tiny spiders. Source: @christianspencer
Hummingbirds have long and slender beaks and extensible tongues.
6. ‘HUMMINGBIRD FLOWER’ Hummingbirds have long and slender beaks and extensible tongues. Source: @christianspencer
Hummingbirds always have 10 primary feathers, 6 or 7 secondaries, nearly always 10 rectrices (tail feathers), and an extremely large sternum.
7. ‘RAINBOW BALLET’ Hummingbirds always have 10 primary feathers, 6 or 7 secondaries, nearly always 10 rectrices (tail feathers), and an extremely large sternum. Source: @christianspencer
Hummingbirds’ feet are tiny and not well suited for walking but well designed for perching.
8. ‘THE HERMIT AND THE JACOBIN’ Hummingbirds’ feet are tiny and not well suited for walking but well designed for perching. Source: @christianspencer
Adult males often display iridescent plumage, rarely females (sexual dimorphism).
9. ‘THE FAIRY’ Adult males often display iridescent plumage, rarely females (sexual dimorphism). Source: @christianspencer
Hummingbirds’ wings are relatively long and pointed, usually having short arms and forearms but long hands.
10. ‘THE ECLIPSE’ Hummingbirds’ wings are relatively long and pointed, usually having short arms and forearms but long hands. Source: @christianspencer
Hummingbirds fly with a unique method of rotating the entire wing, with little or no flexing of the wrist or hand joints.
11. ‘TANAGER GALACTICA’ Hummingbirds fly with a unique method of rotating the entire wing, with little or no flexing of the wrist or hand joints. Source: @christianspencer
As a result of their unique but inefficient means of flight, they must consume enormous amounts of food each day, with nectar often amounting to 100-200% of their body weight. Insects provide protein for their diet.
12. ‘HUMMINGBIRD GEOMETRY’ As a result of their unique but inefficient means of flight, they must consume enormous amounts of food each day, with nectar often amounting to 100-200% of their body weight. Insects provide protein for their diet. Source: @christianspencer
13. ‘DIVINE LIGHT’ Source: @christianspencer
14. ‘STARDUST’ Source: @christianspencer
‘THE FLAME’ Source: @christianspencer
16. ‘SUNDANCE’ Source: @christianspencer

For more of Christian Spencer’s awesome art

All images are subject to copyright and are shared with kind permission of the artist. Please note, these images have been compressed — to view the original high resolution images, check out Christian’s website where you can also purchase limited edition prints to own and keep forever. Spencer’s Instagram is another gallery of stunning photos of hummingbirds and other beautiful images of the natural world. Spencer’s dedication to his art has garnered him a plethora of prestigious awards and honourable mentions:

  • Highly Commended  | Bird Photographer of the Year | England | 2020
  • Winner | Tokyo Photo Awards | Japan | 2020
  • Winner  | category “CEO Award”| Heritage Bank Photographic Awards | Australia | 2018
  • Winner | category “Exuberant Nature”| CANON college | Brazil | 2017
  • Highly commended | Tokyo International Photo Awards | Japan | 2017
  • Highly commended | Nature Photographer of the Year | Holland | 2017
  • Highly commended | Australian Photographer of the Year | 2017
  • Honorable Mention | Monochrome Awards International Black and White Photography Contest | 2017
  • Prize “Fundação Casa da Cultura Macedo Miranda” | 44º Art Salon | Museum of Modern Art of Resende-RJ| 2016
  • Honorable Mention | Monochrome Awards International Black and White Photography Contest | 2015
  • Best Overall Photo | Ecological Society of Australia Photo Competition | Australia 2015
  • Finalist | Monocrome category | Travel Photographer of the Year 2015
  • Finalist | Head On Awards | Sydney Australia 2015
  • Commended Photo | Sony World Photography Awards | 2015
  • Highly Commended | Bio Photo Contest | Italy 2015
  • Highly Commended ZSL Animal Photography Prize London 2015
  • Winner of World Meteorological Organization Photography Awards 2015
  • Best Overall Photo | Ecological Society of Australia Photo Competition | Australia 2014

Make an Impact

THE HUMMINGBIRD SOCIETY: YOUR AUTHENTIC RESOURCE FOR HUMMINGBIRD INFORMATION AND ENDANGERED SPECIES PROTECTION

The Hummingbird Society was created in 1996 as a nonprofit organisation to help people understand and appreciate hummingbirds and to provide a channel to help save the ones that are endangered. That sums it up well for the purpose of the Hummingbird Society's mission: teach people about hummingbirds, and they will understand them better; and from that understanding and caring, will come support for their protection. To join, donate or simply look at hummingbirds and learn more about them, click on this link.