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GALLERIES > BIRDS > PASSEROIDEA > NECTARINIIDAE > ORANGE-BREASTED SUNBIRD [Nectarinia violacea]


Orange-breasted Sunbird Picture
 
 

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SPECIES INFO

The Orange-breasted Sunbird, Anthobaphes violacea, is the only member of the bird genus Anthobaphes although it is sometimes placed in the genus Nectarinia. This sunbird is endemic to the fynbos habitat of southwestern South Africa, but also occurs in parks and gardens.

The sunbirds are a group of small Old World passerine birds which feed largely on nectar, although they will also take insects, especially when feeding young.

Sunbird flight is fast and direct on short wings. Most species can take nectar by hovering like a hummingbird, but usually perch to feed most of the time. They have long thin down-curved bills and brush-tipped tubular tongues, both adaptations to nectar feeding.

Orange-breasted Sunbird's male 14.5"?16.5 cm long, and the shorter-tailed female 12.5"?13.5 cm. The adult male has a glossy green head and neck and an orange breast, bordered above with a narrow blue band, and shading to yellow on the lower belly. The upper parts are brown and the central tail feathers are elongated. The female has an olive-yellow head and upperparts, and yellow underparts. The juvenile resembles the female.

This tame species is a common breeder across its limited range, and is an altitudinal migrant, moving to higher altitudes during the southern summer in search of flowers. It is gregarious when not breeding, forming flocks of up to 100 birds.

As would be expected from its habitat, this sunbird is associated with Ericas, from which it takes nectar, insects (often taken in flight) and spiders. It breeds when the heath flowers, typically in May. The male defends its territory aggressively, attacking and chasing intruders.

This species is not seriously threatened, although it may be adversely affected by urbanisation, agricultural, and fynbos fires.





                                     



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