Male southern double-collared sunbird on rocket pincushion flower, Kirstenbosch Garden, Cape Town, South Africa
© Martin Willis/Minden Picture
Flying colours. On the lookout for something sweet
This male double-collared sunbird knows how to strike a pose on a rocket pincushion flower, the bright orange bloom providing its lunch. Varieties of sunbird can be found from South Africa to the warmer parts of Europe and they are important pollinators, often favouring red or orange flowers with long tubular flowers. (That curved beak comes in particularly useful when it comes to sipping nectar.)
Pollinators come in all shapes and sizes, from bees and birds to bats and beetles and are a crucial part of the reproduction of many plant species – including many crops and wildflowers. But climate change, pollution, habitat loss and invasive species are among threats faced by pollinator animals, in particular bee populations, which are in decline.