So alike in form, colour and mode of flight are those Lepidoptera that when on the wing it is almost or quite impossible to distinguish one from the other, and the resemblance between members belonging to different sub-families cannot be assigned to affinity.
In agility they are unsurpassed; in fact they are stated to be so swift in their movements as to be able to capture birds on the wing with their paws.
If they flew like ordinary flies their resemblance to Hymenoptera would be obscured by the rapidity of their flight and they might be caught on the wing by insectivorous birds or other insects; but when poised they display their coloration.
Graceful in form and active in motion, sun-birds flit from flower to flower, feeding on small insects which are attracted by the nectar and on the nectar itself; but this is usually done while perched and rarely on the wing as is the habit of humming-birds.
By the time the army reached the little Ukrainian fortress of Hadjacz in January 1709, wine and spirits froze into solid masses of ice; birds on the wing fell dead; saliva congealed on its passage from the mouth to the ground.
Although the figure-of-8 represents with considerable fidelity the twisting of the wing upon its axis during extension and flexion, when the insect is playing its wings before an object, or still better when it is artificially fixed, it is otherwise when the down stroke is added and the insect is fairly on the wing and progressing rapidly.