The Little Spiderhunter (Arachnothera longirostra) is a species of bird in the Nectariniidae family. It is found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The distinctive long beak set it apart from other sunbirds. The sexes are alike except for a paler base to lower mandible in the female. Male has all black beak. They are found close to their favourite nectar bearing trees, often species of wild Musaceae or flowers in gardens. They have a buzzy zick-zick call that is made regularly when disturbed or when foraging. The song is series of rapid chipping notes and these can go on for long periods.
The genus name Arachnothera means "spider hunter" and the species epithet refers to the long beak. About thirteen geographic races are recognized. The nominate race longirostra (Latham, 1790) is found in southwestern India, central and northeastern India, foothills of the Himalayas and into Thailand and Yunnan. Race sordida La Touche, 1921 is found in southern China and northeastern Thailand. Race pallida Delacour, 1932 is found in southeastern Thailand and C & S Indochina. Several island forms are noted:
- cinireicollis (Vieillot, 1819) - south of the Isthmus of Kra to Sumatra and satellite islands
- zarhina Oberholser, 1912 - Banyak Is, off W Sumatra.
- niasensis van Oort, 1910 - Nias I, off W Sumatra.
- rothschildi van Oort, 1910 - N Natuna Is.
- atita Oberholser, 1932 - S Natuna Is.
- buettikoferi van Oort, 1910 - Borneo.
- prillwitzi E. J. O. Hartert, 1901 - Java (including Madura I) and Bali.
- dilutior Sharpe, 1876 - Palawan, in W Philippine Is.
- flammifera Tweeddale, 1878 - E & S Philippines (Samar, Biliran, Leyte, Bohol, Dinagat, Mindanao).
- randi Salomonsen, 1953 - Basilan (off W Mindanao).
Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, subtropical or tropical mangrove forests, and subtropical or tropical moist montanes. They are also found in gardens, attracted especially by flowers that yield nectar.
Song of the Western Ghats race
They have been noted as good pollinators of wild banana species and several species of the ginger family and are often seen in plantations in forest areas. Although they are more often seen in secondary forests or in clearings and appear to be tolerant of human activities, they have become extinct in some forest fragments. In Singapore they have become locally extinct within the botanical garden.
It is suspected that the Violet Cuckoo may be a brood parasite on this species in India.
A species of haemosporidia Leucocytozoon has been noted in specimens from Malaysia.