I used to think hummingbirds used their bills as straws to suck up nectar, but they actually extend their very long translucent tongues into feeders and flowers to get the goods! According to a website about ruby-throated hummingbirds, here are some interesting facts about their phenomenal tongues: “The tongue of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird is split and somewhat broadened and brushy at the tip. Hummingbirds lap up nectar with their tongues by extending and contracting it about 13 times per second. They do NOT use the tongue and bill as a straw.”
I got this shot of a hummingbird as it flicked its tongue in and out of its bill after feeding on the sugary nectar I provide for them. If I’m not mistaken, that bit of reddishness visible inside the tongue (View larger) is probably some leftover nectar the little biddy is slurping up.