Insects get all the headlines when it comes to pollinating, but other animals contribute to this essential function, including some birds. In the United States, hummingbirds, in particular, are vital for their role as pollinators, according to BirdNote. Other birds that do important work as pollinators include sunbirds in Africa and honeyeaters and lorikeets in Australia.
Hummingbirds typically pollinate flowers that are tubular in shape, or have cups, funnels or tubes and offer strong support for perching, according to the U.S. Forest Service. They prefer red, orange and yellow flowers, and they often visit flowers without a pleasant fragrance because they don’t have a good sense of smell.
How does pollination work? It’s how plants reproduce. When hummingbirds, or any other pollinators, visit flowers, they become covered in pollen. This is incidental. They aren’t there for the pollen. Most often, they are looking for nectar. When they move on to other flowers, they transfer pollen from one flower to the next. When pollen is transferred from the male anther to the female stigma, the plant can reproduce.
Other pollinators besides birds and insects include bats and some reptiles, including some species of lizards, skinks and geckos. Even some large mammals are pollinators. In Madagascar, the black and white ruffed lemur is a pollinator, making it the largest pollinator in the world, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
They work as a cleanup crew