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Nectariniidae

Birds Guide

Nectariniidae

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Sunbirds and Spiderhunters
Purple-rumped Sunbird
 
Purple-rumped Sunbird
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
 
Phylum: Chordata
 
Class: Aves
 
Order: Passeriformes
 
Family: Nectariniidae
Vigors, 1825
Genera
Many: see text

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.

Although they are completely unrelated, the sunbirds find counterparts in the hummingbirds of the Americas and the honeyeaters of Australia. The resemblances are due to convergent evolution due to the similar nectar-feeding lifestyle.

The sunbirds are tropical species, with representatives from Africa to Australasia; however, the greatest variety of species is in Africa where the group probably arose. Most species are sedentary or short-distance seasonal migrants.

Like the hummingbirds, they are strongly sexually dimorphic, with the males usually brilliantly plumaged in metallic colours. Sunbirds have long thin down-curved bills and brush tipped tubular tongues, both adaptations to their nectar feeding. Up to three eggs are laid in a purse-shaped suspended nest.

  • Family: Nectariniidae
    • Genus Chalcoparia (sometimes included in Anthreptes)
    • Genus Deleornis (sometimes included in Anthreptes)
      • Scarlet-tufted Sunbird, Deleornis fraseri Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Grey-headed Sunbird, Deleornis axillaris (sometimes considered subspecies of D. fraseri) Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
    • Genus Anthreptes
      • Plain-backed Sunbird, Anthreptes reichenowi Conservation status: Lower risk (nt)
        Anchieta's Sunbird, Anthreptes anchietae Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Plain Sunbird, Anthreptes simplex Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Plain-throated Sunbird, Anthreptes malacensis Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Red-throated Sunbird, Anthreptes rhodolaemus Conservation status: Lower risk (nt)
        Mouse-brown Sunbird, Anthreptes gabonicus Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Western Violet-backed Sunbird, Anthreptes longuemarei Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Kenya Violet-backed Sunbird, Anthreptes orientalis Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Uluguru Violet-backed Sunbird, Anthreptes neglectus Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Violet-tailed Sunbird, Anthreptes aurantium Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Little Green Sunbird, Anthreptes seimundi (sometimes included in Nectarinia) Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Green Sunbird, Anthreptes rectirostris Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Banded Sunbird, Anthreptes rubritorques Conservation status: Vulnerable
    • Genus Hedydipna (sometimes included in Anthreptes)
      • Collared Sunbird, Hedydipna collaris Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Pygmy Sunbird, Hedydipna platura Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Nile Valley Sunbird, Hedydipna metallica Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Amani Sunbird, Hedydipna pallidigaster Conservation status: Endangered
    • Genus Hypogramma
    • Genus Anabathmis (sometimes included in Nectarinia)
      • Reichenbach's Sunbird, Anabathmis reichenbachii Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Principe Sunbird, Anabathmis hartlaubii Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Newton's Sunbird, Anabathmis newtonii Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
    • Genus Dreptes (sometimes included in Nectarinia)
    • Genus Anthobaphes (sometimes included in Nectarinia)
    • Genus Cyanomitra (sometimes included in Nectarinia)
      • Green-headed Sunbird, Cyanomitra verticalis Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Blue-throated Brown Sunbird, Cyanomitra cyanolaema Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Blue-headed Sunbird, Cyanomitra alinae Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Cameroon Sunbird, Cyanomitra oritis Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Bannerman's Sunbird, Cyanomitra bannermani Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Eastern Olive Sunbird, Cyanomitra olivacea Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Western Olive Sunbird, Cyanomitra obscura Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Mouse-colored Sunbird, Cyanomitra veroxii Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
    • Genus Chalcomitra (sometimes included in Nectarinia)
      • Buff-throated Sunbird, Chalcomitra adelberti Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Carmelite Sunbird, Chalcomitra fuliginosa Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Green-throated Sunbird, Chalcomitra rubescens Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Amethyst Sunbird, Chalcomitra amethystina Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Chalcomitra senegalensis Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Hunter's Sunbird, Chalcomitra hunteri Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Socotra Sunbird, Chalcomitra balfouri Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
    • Genus Leptocoma (sometimes included in Nectarinia)
      • Purple-rumped Sunbird, Leptocoma zeylonica Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Crimson-backed Sunbird, Leptocoma minima Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Copper-throated Sunbird, Leptocoma calcostetha Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Purple-throated Sunbird, Leptocoma sperata Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Black Sunbird, Leptocoma sericea (formerly Nectarinia aspasia) Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
    • Genus Nectarinia
      • Bocage's Sunbird, Nectarinia bocagii Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Purple-breasted Sunbird, Nectarinia purpureiventris Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Tacazze Sunbird, Nectarinia tacazze Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Bronze Sunbird, Nectarinia kilimensis Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Golden-winged Sunbird, Nectarinia reichenowi Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Red-tufted Sunbird, Nectarinia johnstoni Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Malachite Sunbird, Nectarinia famosa Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
    • Genus Cinnyris (sometimes included in Nectarinia)
      • Olive-bellied Sunbird, Cinnyris chloropygius Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Tiny Sunbird, Cinnyris minullus Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Miombo Sunbird, Cinnyris manoensis Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Southern Double-collared Sunbird, Cinnyris chalybeus Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Neergaard's Sunbird, Cinnyris neergaardi Conservation status: Lower risk (nt)
        Stuhlmann's Sunbird, Cinnyris stuhlmanni (sometimes considered subspecies of C. afer) Conservation status: Lower risk (nt)
        Prigogine's Sunbird, Cinnyris prigoginei (sometimes considered subspecies of C. afer) Conservation status: Lower risk (nt)
        Montane Double-collared Sunbird, Cinnyris ludovicensis Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Northern Double-collared Sunbird, Cinnyris preussi Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Greater Double-collared Sunbird, Cinnyris afer Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Regal Sunbird, Cinnyris regius Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Rockefeller's Sunbird, Cinnyris rockefelleri Conservation status: Vulnerable
        Eastern Double-collared Sunbird, Cinnyris mediocris Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Moreau's Sunbird, Cinnyris moreaui Conservation status: Lower risk (nt)
        Beautiful Sunbird, Cinnyris pulchellus Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Loveridge's Sunbird, Cinnyris loveridgei Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Mariqua Sunbird, Cinnyris mariquensis Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Shelley's Sunbird, Cinnyris shelleyi Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Congo Sunbird, Cinnyris congensis Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Red-chested Sunbird, Cinnyris erythrocerca Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Black-bellied Sunbird, Cinnyris nectarinioides Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Purple-banded Sunbird, Cinnyris bifasciatus Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Tsavo Sunbird, Cinnyris tsavoensis (sometimes considered subspecies of C. bifasciatus) Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Violet-breasted Sunbird, Cinnyris chalcomelas Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Pemba Sunbird, Cinnyris pembae Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Orange-tufted Sunbird, Cinnyris bouvieri Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Palestine Sunbird, Cinnyris oseus Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Shining Sunbird, Cinnyris habessinicus Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Splendid Sunbird, Cinnyris coccinigaster Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Johanna's Sunbird, Cinnyris johannae Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Superb Sunbird, Cinnyris superbus Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Rufous-winged Sunbird, Cinnyris rufipennis Conservation status: Vulnerable
        Oustalet's Sunbird, Cinnyris oustaleti Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        White-breasted Sunbird, Cinnyris talatala Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Variable Sunbird, Cinnyris venustus Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Dusky Sunbird, Cinnyris fuscus Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Ursula's Sunbird, Cinnyris ursulae Conservation status: Lower risk (nt)
        Bates' Sunbird, Cinnyris batesi Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Copper Sunbird, Cinnyris cupreus Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Purple Sunbird, Cinnyris asiaticus Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Olive-backed Sunbird, Cinnyris jugularis Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Apricot-breasted Sunbird, Cinnyris buettikoferi Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Flame-breasted Sunbird, Cinnyris solaris Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Souimanga Sunbird, Cinnyris sovimanga Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Seychelles Sunbird, Cinnyris dussumieri Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Madagascar Sunbird, Cinnyris notatus Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Humblot's Sunbird, Cinnyris humbloti Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Anjouan Sunbird, Cinnyris comorensis Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Mayotte Sunbird, Cinnyris coquerellii Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Long-billed Sunbird, Cinnyris lotenius Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
    • Genus Aethopyga
      • Gray-hooded Sunbird, Aethopyga primigenia Conservation status: Lower risk (nt)
        Mount Apo Sunbird, Aethopyga boltoni Conservation status: Lower risk (nt)
        Lina's Sunbird, Aethopyga linaraborae Conservation status: Lower risk (nt)
        Flaming Sunbird, Aethopyga flagrans Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Metallic-winged Sunbird, Aethopyga pulcherrima Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Elegant Sunbird, Aethopyga duyvenbodei Conservation status: Endangered
        Lovely Sunbird, Aethopyga shelleyi Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Handsome Sunbird, Aethopyga belli Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Gould's Sunbird, Aethopyga gouldiae Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        White-flanked Sunbird, Aethopyga eximia Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Green-tailed Sunbird, Aethopyga nipalensis Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Fork-tailed Sunbird, Aethopyga christinae Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Black-throated Sunbird, Aethopyga saturata Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Western Crimson Sunbird, Aethopyga vigorsii (sometimes considered subspecies of A. siparaja) Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Crimson Sunbird, Aethopyga siparaja Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Scarlet Sunbird, Aethopyga mystacalis Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Temminck's Sunbird, Aethopyga temminckii (sometimes considered subspecies of A. mystacalis) Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Fire-tailed Sunbird, Aethopyga ignicauda Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
    • Genus Arachnothera - spiderhunters
      • Thick-billed Spiderhunter, Arachnothera crassirostris Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Spectacled Spiderhunter, Arachnothera flavigaster Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Long-billed Spiderhunter, Arachnothera robusta Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Little Spiderhunter, Arachnothera longirostra Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Yellow-eared Spiderhunter, Arachnothera chrysogenys Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Naked-faced Spiderhunter, Arachnothera clarae Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Gray-breasted Spiderhunter, Arachnothera modesta (sometimes considered subspecies of A. affinis) Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Streaky-breasted Spiderhunter, Arachnothera affinis Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Bornean Spiderhunter, Arachnothera everetti Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Streaked Spiderhunter, Arachnothera magna Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
        Whitehead's Spiderhunter, Arachnothera juliae Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)

External links


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