Male southern double-collared sunbird on rocket pincushion flower, Kirstenbosch Garden, Cape Town, South Africa
© Martin Willis/Minden Picture
Pollinators: not to be sneezed at
The pollinator we're featuring today—a male double-collared sunbird—is hanging out on a rocket pincushion flower not only to complement his groovy vibe, but also because the bright-orange bloom is providing his lunch. The sunbird family of nectar-feeders extends from here in South Africa throughout warmer parts of Europe. Sunbirds are unrelated to the Americas' hummingbirds, but the two feathered families' similar, florally rich habitats set them on similar evolutionary paths—a phenomenon called convergent evolution—to become key pollinators in their ecosystems.