Just like Koreans believe some stupid stuff about foreigners---I've heard "foreigners don't like coffee" and "foreigners don't like to travel" this year---some foreigners have their own pieces of misinformation about Koreans. For example, there's the belief that all black taxis are luxury cabs and will charge you an arm and a leg. There's also the belief held by many that walking into a 다방 will ultimately get you laid. I myself am no exception to dumbassery, as my readers know, because I believed for, like, a year-and-a-half that Jeollanam-do was home to these tiny, awesome hummingbirds (벌새, "bee bird"). Not really my fault, because I read about them on the internet *cough*, but sorry to say I am guilty of telling other people about them. I mean, I saw them many times, and I even captured one on film, but the video is far too out of focus for even Youtube standards. Here's a poor photo I took of one at a temple in Gangjin last year:
See? Awesome! However, I learned a few days ago that there are no hummingbirds in Korea. I first came across that kind of talk among the comments to this photo of a "hummingbird," and went over to Wikipedia to learn that the smallest hummingbirds are much larger than the things I've seen around here. (Plus, hummingbirds have beaks, strangely enough). Turns out they're actually hummingbird moths (꼬리박각시?), and Wikipedia has a write-up and some decent photos here. Also some pictures and information on related moths from "What's That Bug" here and here, the latter one mentioning the faux-hummingbird in Korea. Lots of photos on Flickr, and another mention of mistaken hummingbird-sightings in Korea here, from the Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory.
Stolen from Flickr.
Stolen from Wikipedia.
Though insects are foul creatures, and nobody can argue with that, I must admit that these hummingbird moths are really awesome. They're a little bigger than a big bumblebee and are pretty common, at least down here. I'll bet they'll be in attendance at the Hampyeong World Butterfly and Insect Expo, going on through June 1st, because they seem attracted to the same flowers as butterflies. To close, here's a half-decent video of one taken in Korea: