The right time, right place, right angle, right exposure and a lot of patience are all required to capture the full brilliance of a Hummingbird’s gorget. The gorget is the brilliantly colored area on the throat of a male Hummingbird and is a result of iridescence and not color pigments. *The throat feathers on a male Hummingbird contain very thin, film-like layers of platelets, set like tiles in a mosaic against a background that is dark. Light waves reflect and refract off the mosaic and creates the colors that you see [Bird Note]. Changes in the angles from which light strikes the gorget give the effect of different colors. When sunlight is not striking the gorget at the right angle the feathers will appear all black.
Bird Photography: Ruby-throated Hummingbird Gorget
These photos were difficult to capture because the light had to be just right, the angle at which I was situated had to be just right and, of course, the Hummingbird had to cooperate. Over a period of two days, and filling a 16gb CF card with photos of this bird, I was left with the following captures that shows the beautiful flaming gorget of the male Ruby-throated Hummingbird.
The following photos were taken with a Canon 7D and a Canon 400mm f/4 L IS lens. Simply click a thumbnail below for a full-sized view. ©2011 John Briggs Photography | All Rights Reserved
*Bob Sundstrom. (March 2010). Why a Gorget Glitters
Transcript-631. In Bird Note. Retrieved June 29, 2011, from