Hummingbird Clearwing

July 7, 2015

It’s a good time of year to keep your eyes open for sphinx moths, such as this hummingbird clearwing, as they forage nectar from prairie flowers. I found this one right outside our door in our garden prairie. I’ve already posted on other clear-winged sphinx moths, including the white-lined sphinx and snowberry clearwing, but this was my first decent flight shot of the hummingbird version. Actually, the white-lined sphinx (see previous post here) fools more people with its hummingbird appearance than the actual hummingbird clearwing. The snowberry clearwing (see previous post here) is the one that mimics a bumblebee. When I first saw a snowberry I was definitely fooled for a few seconds.


Clearwing sphinx moths are fun to photograph in flight because of their puppy-dog eyes, vivid colors, and stained-glass-window wings. I prefer to use a 300 mm lens so I can capture the critter freehand (without a tripod) and also include some of the flower on which it is feeding. Also, I try to constrict my aperture as much as possible to get significant depth of field across the little beast. Of course your aperture setting has to be weighed against the shutter speed you require to catch a moth in flight!

I wish you luck catching your own sphinx moth in flight as the summer progresses. Your subjects should allow plenty of time for experimentation because they usually stick around for a while once you find them.

Thanks for looking,

Danny Brown

Email:  NatureFrames@Rocketmail.Com

Gallery of Images: Here

2 comments on “Hummingbird Clearwing”

  1. Watching “em and catching ’em (on a camera) are two entirely different things, the second much more frustrating than the other! I wouldn’t even try the latter, especially because I have such lovely images from you to “go to”as the latest catchphrase has it! Thank you for the crisp shots.I did see a couple last week in Milwaukee, but they were outside my photograph-ability!

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