Rainbow wings of the black Jacobin hummingbird

The Kid Should See This

Artist and photographer Christian Spencer was standing on his verandah in Rio de Janeiro when he made an amazing discovery. When the black Jacobin hummingbird flew with the sun striking its open wings, a beautiful prism effect appeared. At that moment, it was as if its body was made of rainbows.

Via My Modern Met and Colossal, see sunlight diffract through black Jacobin hummingbirds’ wings in the trailer for Christian Spencer’s award-winning film The Dance of Time (2011), above.

christian spencer hummingbird
Then see Spencer’s recent photos of the birds’ rainbow wings on Instagram. With each image, he emphasizes that there has been no digital manipulation of the images, “just diffraction of light through the wings of this special hummingbird.”

Related reading: Thin-film interference.

Watch these videos next:


A Yosemite Falls rainbow in real-time


Hummingbird Battleground in the Talamanca Mountains


LENSES, an interactive light & sound installation

Watch more videos about…



Rion Nakaya