In areas of primary forest, the scissor-tailed hummingbird mainly feeds at bromeliad flowers, using its slim bill and long tongue to access the sugar-rich nectar. In addition, it will often glean insects from bromeliad leaves, or alternatively hawk them from the air. In disturbed, secondary forests, most feeding is associated with the flowers of Helicona aurea and Costus species (2) (5).
The power, size and unique wing structure of the hummingbird allows it to fly with phenomenal agility (4) (6)
. However, the metabolic costs of hummingbird flight are extremely high. To compensate, hummingbirds are known to periodically go into a state of torpor during the night, especially when there is little available food or the weather conditions are unfavourable (4) (6) (7) (8)
. By entering a deep, sleep-like state, hummingbirds are able to significantly slow-down their metabolic functions and maintain a very low body temperature (6)