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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Amethyst Sunbird

Afrikaans name: Swartsuikerbekkie

A female Amethyst Sunbird building her nest

Photo © Steven Herbert

Nectarinia amethystina / Chalcomitra amethystina

I think that the old name of Black Sunbird is better suited to this species as males are predominantly black with only a small patch of amethyst colour on their throat.

The male Amethyst Sunbird is as I have described above. The female is far more drab with a brown back and blotches and streaks of black on her underparts.

They are found in many countries in Africa. In South Africa they occur in a band from the Western Cape through KwaZulu-Natal to North West Province.

The Amethyst Sunbird mainly feeds off nectar but does also eat spiders and it catches flying insects.

The female makes the nest which is an enclosed structure hanging from a twig. Up to 3 eggs are laid.


References and further reading

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Year Published: 1975 - Page: 37

Birds of the Natal Drakensberg Park - Author: Robin Little and William Bainbridge - Year Published: 1992 - Page: 107

Birds of the South Western Cape - Author: Joy Frandsen - Year Published: - Page: 211

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Year Published: 1999 - Page: 70

Field Guide to the Birds of Kruger National Park - Author: Ian Sinclair and Ian Whyte - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 198

Geoff Lockwood's Garden Birds of Southern Africa - Author: Geoff Lockwood - Year Published: - Page: 122

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1985 - Page: 700

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1993 - Page: 699

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 408

List of South African Birds

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