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Facts About the Sunbird Nectarinia Jugularis

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Facts about the sunbird of the species Nectarinia.

Listening intently to the proceedings of a community meeting, the author got distracted by a bird that keeps on flying to and fro a potted San Francisco plant just right in front of him. The bird will hover a few seconds then fly away somewhere, out of sight. He tried to investigate and see what that bird was up to in the decorative plant next to a lodging house. There it is -- a bird's nest is being built out of pieces of dried plant material.

Nest Building Activity

He watched the bird and focused his camera intently on the nest, thinking the bird will once again perch on it and do something. His wait did not last long, for the bird not only returned once but at least three times to allow its photograph to be taken (see below) on the long trail of nest material hanging around the sturdy petiole of a leaf. The opening of the nest is at the upper front side.

sunbird on nest

Yellow-Bellied Sunbird

The yellow-bellied sunbird, locally known as siwit, is of the genus Nectarinia and most probably of the species jugularis. Taxonomists also classify them as Cinnyris jugularis. This long-billed sunbird has different male and female features. The males have more colorful feathers while the females have feathers which look kind of drab. Photos of Nectarinia jugularis below from Wikipedia closely resembles this author's picture.

male sunbirdfemale sunbird

Images from Wikipedia

Male vs. Female Sunbird

Using the picture from Wikipedia, the bird perching on the San Francisco plant is therefore a female as it is not as colorful as the male sunbird. The male sunbird has a dark, metallic blue throat and chest region. The colorful feathers of the male works typically like the other birds, i.e., to attract its mate during the breeding months of April to August.

Feeding Habit of Sunbirds

The long-billed sunbirds feed mostly on nectar, facilitated by its long bill that could get into the inner parts of the flower where the nectar can be sipped out. However, they are also known to feed on insects to enable them to feed their young.

Sound Produced by Sunbirds

Sunbirds produce a short tweet, sounding like "sssweet", which may be the reason why they are called by locals as siwit. These birds have become a common part of dwellings indicating their adaptation to the presence of humans.

Distribution of Sunbirds

The yellow-bellied sunbird can be found Southern Asia to Australia and is classifed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to be under those species of Least Concern. 

2 comments

Rogz Lopez
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Posted on Jul 10, 2011
carol roach
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Posted on May 28, 2011

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Patrick Regoniel

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