Two years ago, I saw a tiny flying fauna moving super-fast from flower to flower to collect nectar. You can watch the video below to get an idea how fast it is:
Though it only showed up for a few seconds, from its body as small as a baby finger and the way it hovered, I was pretty sure that it was a humming bird. However, all the bird guides I met said the same thing, “No way! Sabah has no humming bird. Probably you saw a sun bird.” I was kind of upset that nobody believed me, so I wanted to take the photo of the humming bird to prove them wrong.
However, I didn’t see the bird again for next few years so I almost forgot about this. Then the blossom jasmine flowers in my garden attracted the “old friend” again. My mom saw it first because she water the flowers during dusk. When I was having my dinner around 6:30pm in the following day, my sibling told me that the humming bird was around again.
Quickly I stopped eating and grabbed a camera to shoot the humming bird. And to my surprise, there were 3 or 4 of them collecting nectar. When they fly pass me, I can even hear the high-speed flapping wings.
They fly really fast but I was still able to take some photos. However, when I zoom into these photos for closer look, I find that they are not birds! With a pair of antenna and a long proboscis, I can tell that they are moth.
To find out what they are, I search the Internet and learn that they are Hummingbird Hawk Moth (species: Macroglossum stellatarum), a moth that looks remarkably like a humming bird while feeding on flowers and always mistaken as a hummingbird.
Humming Bird Hawk-Moth is common in Northern Hemisphere regions such as Japan and Europe. There is very limited documentation of this insect in Malaysia so I’m not sure how widespread they are in Sabah. Though it is not the humming bird that I has been looking for, I think that it’s still an extraordinary bug. The wings of Humming-bird Hawk Moth can beat at an incredible speed of 70 – 80 times per second, which makes audible humming sound and allows them to hover in the same way real hummingbirds do.
Did you see it in your garden too? Please share with me.
Photos taken in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo
20 thoughts on “Humming Bird in Malaysia?”
Your blog has been REEALLYY helpful! My family and I have been seeing this in my garden quite often and we thought it was a hummingbird but my online research led me here. If it really is rarely seen in Malaysia (I’m from KL btw) then this is definitely something to be excited about ๐
Hi Hazel, thanks for sharing. Now I know this moth is also found in KL. :) It’s really a cool bug.
I saw one in my garden at KL few days ago around 6:45 pm.
Hi Joshy, I didn’t see it for some times in Sabah. May be they all fly to KL already. ๐
I took this photo a few days ago in my garden in KL.
Good job Jun. Look like a humming bird isn’t it? ๐
Cool bug. I saw it before in my parent’s farm (somewhere in sabah also). I tot it was a humming bird but the one i saw is red.
It’s probably a different species of Hawk moth ๐
Thanks for the information. i met these moths on 19 feb 2018 in my kampung in pokok sena, kedah. i thought they were hummingbirds. The flying technique mimicking the hummingbird made my wife and i amazed with them.
They were amazingly fast….
You are welcome, Khairil. Though they are not hummingbird, they are still fascinating animal, aren’t they? ๐
Baru ja nampak pagi ni…trbg dr bunga ke bunga…laju betul…..ingatkan hummingbird..x sempat ttgkp gambr…changloon kedah
We have one in our garden.
I kept seeing this moth in my garden for 3 years. I started to plant more flowers to attract them thinking they were hummingbirds. Now I know it is a moth. Still want to attract more of them. -tawau, sabah-
I saw one in my parents garden on and off for the past few months (MCO really a good time to stay home and be outdoors XD). At first I thought it was a hummingbird or sunbird but the size and proboscis led me to look up Google which led me to this site!
lol that’s true. I discover my garden also has many strange visitors.
Almost 10 years after your post, I saw one in my garden in KL a week ago and then just now. I didn’t get a clear picture from my phone camera, but have a short video of the flight. Which camera did you use?
Hey bro, your video and photos are nice! I was using my Canon EOS 50D for the photos. But this old model has no video recording function, so I used a cheap Olympus compact camera for the video.
I saw one at dusk today so it was low light but I managed to get my son to witness. Told him it could be a hummingbird but a bit small. And I didnโt know if such small hummingbird exists๐ . Highlighted to him that it seems more like a type of insect but Iโve not seen one that moves quite like it. Thanks to your page, I can safely tell him itโs actually a hawk moth. Btw, Iโm from Puchong Selangor.
It’s cool that you find the answer here. ๐ I didn’t expect so many people find my article about hummingbird.
I also saw this kind of moth here in my front yard, in Pontianak, Kalimantan Barat, Indonesia.