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I Dream Africa

I Dream Africa

Sunbird

   

The sunbirds and spiderhunters are very small passerine birds which feed largely on nectar, although they will also take insects, especially when feeding young. Flight is fast and direct on their short wings. Most species can take nectar by hovering like a hummingbird, but usually perch to feed. There are 131 species worldwide and 13 species which occur in Namibia.

  • Collared Sunbird Hedydipna collaris
    The Collared Sunbird, Hedydipna collaris (formerly placed in the genus Nectarinia), is a sunbird. The sunbirds are a group of very small Old World passerine birds which feed largely on nectar, although they will also take insects, especially when feeding young. Collared Sunbird is in fact mainly insectivorous.

    Sunbird flight is fast and direct on their short wings. Most species can take nectar by hovering like a hummingbird, but usually perch to feed most of the time.

    Collared Sunbird is a common breeder across most of sub-Saharan Africa. Two or three eggs are laid in a suspended nest in a tree. It is a seasonal migrant within its range.

    Collared Sunbirds are tiny, only 9-10 cm long. They have short thin down-curved bills and brush-tipped tubular tongues, both adaptations to nectar feeding.

    The adult male has glossy green upperparts and head with a yellow belly and narrow purple breast band. The female is a duller green above and entirely yellow below.  This species is found in forests near water.
     
  • Amethyst Sunbird Chalcomitra amethystina
    The Amethyst Sunbird (Nectarinia amethystina) is a species of bird in the Nectariniidae family. It is found in Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Its natural habitat is dry savanna.
     
  • Scarlet-chested Sunbird Chalcomitra senegalensis
    The Scarlet-chested Sunbird (Nectarinia senegalensis) is a species of bird in the Nectariniidae family. It is found in Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
     
  • Malachite Sunbird Nectarinia famosa
    The Malachite Sunbird, Nectarinia famosa is a small nectivorous bird found in the southern part of the Southern African region.The sunbirds are a group of small Old World passerine birds, and are placed within the family Nectariniidae, which is found across Africa, the Middle East and into South-east Asia.

    The breeding male Malachite Sunbird, which has very long central tail feathers, is 25cm long, and the shorter-tailed female 15 cm. The adult male is metallic green when breeding, with blackish-green wings with small yellow pectoral patches. In non-breeding (eclipse) plumage, the male’s upperparts are brown apart from the green wings and tail, the latter retaining the elongated feathers. The underparts in eclipse plumage are yellow, flecked with green.

    The female has brown upperparts and dull yellow underparts with some indistinct streaking on the breast. Her tail is square-ended. The juvenile resembles the female.

    This large sunbird is found in hilly fynbos (including protea stands as well as areas with aloes) and cool montane and coastal scrub, up to 2,800m altitude in South Africa. It also occurs in parks and gardens (often nesting within those located in the Highveld). It is resident, but may move downhill in winter.

    This species, like most sunbirds, feed mainly on nectar, although they will also take insects, especially when feeding young. This sunbird may hunt in a similar manner to a flycatcher, hawking for insect prey from a perch.

    Most sunbird species can take nectar by hovering like a hummingbird, but usually perch to feed most of the time. As a fairly large sunbird, the Malachite Sunbird is no exception. They have long thin down-curved bills and brush-tipped tubular tongues, both adaptations to nectar feeding.

    The oval nest is usually suspended, as with most sunbirds, or built in a bush. The female incubates one to three dark-blotched greenish eggs for two weeks. The chicks are fed by both parents until fledging; they will continue to return to the nest to roost. The Malachite Sunbird is often double-brooded, but may be parasitised by Klaas's Cuckoo or Red-chested Cuckoo. It is territorial and aggressive when nesting, but highly gregarious when not breeding, forming flocks of more than 1000 birds.

    The call is a loud tseep-tseep, and the male Malachite Sunbird has a twittering song, often accompanied by pointing its head upward and displaying the yellow pectoral tufts with its wings half open. Males also have an elaborate display flight.
     
  • Southern Double-collared Sunbird Cinnyris chalybeus
    The Southern Double-collared Sunbird or Lesser Double-collared Sunbird, Cinnyris chalybeus (formerly placed in the genus Nectarinia), is a small passerine bird which breeds in southern South Africa. It is mainly resident, but partially migratory in the north-east of its range.

    This sunbird is common in gardens, fynbos, forests and coastal scrub. The Southern Double-collared Sunbird breeds from April to December, depending on region. The closed oval nest is constructed from grass, lichen and other plant material, bound together with spider webs. It has a side entrance which sometimes has a porch, and is lined with wool, plant down and feathers.

    The Southern Double-collared Sunbird is 12 cm long. The adult male has a glossy, metallic green head, throat upper breast and back. It has a brilliant red band across the chest, separated from the green breast by a narrow metallic blue band. The rest of the underparts are whitish. When displaying, yellow feather tufts can be seen on the shoulders. As with other sunbirds the bill is long and decurved. The bill, legs and feet are black. The eye is dark brown. The male can be distinguished from the similar Greater Double-collared Sunbird by its smaller size, narrower red chest band and shorter bill.

    The female Southern Double-collared Sunbird has brown upperparts and yellowish-grey underparts. The juvenile resembles the female. The female is greyer below than the female Orange-breasted Sunbird, and darker below than the female Dusky Sunbird.

    The Southern Double-collared Sunbird is usually seen singly or in small groups. Its flight is fast and direct on short wings. It lives mainly on nectar from flowers, but takes some fruit, and, especially when feeding young, insects and spiders. It can take nectar by hovering like a hummingbird, but usually perches to feed most of the time.

    The call is a hard chee-chee, and the song is high pitched jumble of tinkling notes, rising and falling in pitch and tempo for 3–5 seconds or more.
     
  • Greater Double-collared Sunbird Cinnyris afer
    The Greater Double-collared Sunbird, Cinnyris afer (formerly placed in the genus This sunbird is common in gardens, fynbos, forest edges and coastal scrub. The Greater Double-collared Sunbird breeds all year round, with a peak from July to November. The closed oval nest is constructed from grass, lichen and other plant material, bound together with spider webs. It has a side entrance which sometimes has a porch, and is lined with feathers.

    The Greater Double-collared Sunbird is 14 cm long. The adult male has a glossy, metallic green head, throat upper breast and back. It has a broad brilliant red band across the chest, separated from the green breast by a narrow metallic blue band. The rest of the underparts are pale grey. When displaying, yellow feather tufts can be seen on the shoulders. As with other sunbirds the bill is long and decurved. The bill, legs and feet are black. The eye is dark brown. The male can be distinguished from the similar Lesser Double-collared Sunbird by the latter’s smaller size, narrower red chest band and shorter bill.

    The Greater Double-collared Sunbird is usually seen singly or in pairs. Its flight is fast and direct on short wings. It lives mainly on nectar from flowers, but takes some fruit, and, especially when feeding young, insects and spiders. It has the habit of hovering in front of webs to extract spiders. It can take nectar by hovering like a hummingbird, but usually perches to feed most of the time.

    The call is a hard chut-chut-chut, and the song is a high pitched jumble of tweets and twitters, richer than the calls of the Southern Double-collard Sunbird.
     
  • Mariqua Sunbird Cinnyris mariquensis
    The Mariqua Sunbird or Marico Sunbird (Nectarinia mariquensis) is a species of bird in the Nectariniidae family. It is found in Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
     
  • Shelley's Sunbird Cinnyris shelleyi (A)
    The Shelley's Sunbird (Nectarinia shelleyi) is a species of bird in the Nectariniidae family. It is found in Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The species is named after George Ernest Shelley.
     
  • Purple-banded Sunbird Cinnyris bifasciatus
    The Purple-banded Sunbird (Nectarinia bifasciata or Cinnyris bifasciatus) is a species of bird in the Nectariniidae family. It is found in Angola, Botswana, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

    The Tsavo Sunbird, sometimes lumped with the Purple-banded, is here considered a separate species.
     
  • White-breasted Sunbird Cinnyris talatala
    The White-breasted Sunbird (Nectarinia talatala) is a species of bird in the Nectariniidae family. It is found in Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
     
  • Variable Sunbird Cinnyris venustus
    The Variable Sunbird, Cinnyris venustus (formerly Nectarinia venusta), is a sunbird. The sunbirds are a group of very small Old World passerine birds which feed largely on nectar, although they will also take insects, especially when feeding young. Flight is fast and direct on their short wings. Most species can take nectar by hovering like a hummingbird, but usually perch to feed most of the time.

    The Variable Sunbird is a fairly common resident breeder in equatorial Africa. Two eggs are laid in a suspended nest in a tree. This species is found in open woodland and cultivation.

    Variable Sunbirds are small, only 10cm long. They have medium-length thin down-curved bills and brush-tipped tubular tongues, both adaptations to their nectar feeding.

    The adult male has a glossy green head, throat and nape with maroon breast band and a yellowish belly. The female has grey-brown upperparts and yellowish underparts, and an obvious pale supercilium. The eclipse male is like the female, but shows some green, especially on the throat. The call is a clear tew-tew-tew-tew-tew .
     
  • Dusky Sunbird Cinnyris fuscus
    The Dusky Sunbird (Nectarinia fusca) is a species of bird in the Nectariniidae family. This relatively dull sunbird is found in arid savanna, thickets and shrubland (e.g. Karoo) in Angola, Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa.
     
  • Copper Sunbird Cinnyris cupreus
    The Copper Sunbird (Cinnyris cupreus) is a species of bird in the Nectariniidae family. It is found in Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
   
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