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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.

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References and further reading

A Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: O.P.M. Prozesky - Year Published: 1983 - Page: 290

A First Guide to South African Birds - 6th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Year Published: 1959 - Page: 37

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

Birds of Southern Africa - Kruger National Park - Author: Kenneth Newman - Year Published: 1985 - Page: 204

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

Birds of the Transvaal - Author: Tarboton, Kemp and Kemp - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 248

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

Garden Birds in South Africa - Author: Duncan Butchart - Year Published: 2017 - Page: 129

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

Ian Sinclair's Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair - Year Published: 1988 - Page: 294

Newman's Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Year Published: 1984 - Page: 396

Newman's Birds of Southern Africa - 7th Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Year Published: 2000 - Page: 396

Newman's Garden Birds - Author: Ken Newman - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 102

Questions and Answers - Birds of Southern Africa - Author: Deirdre Richards - Year Published: 1990 - Page: 9

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Dr. Austin Roberts - Year Published: 1949 - Page: 327

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Year Published: 1975 - Page: 537

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Year Published: 1981 - Page: 549

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 - 1st Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Year Published: 1993 - Page: 374

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

Southern African Bird Names Explained - Author: Charles Clinning - Year Published: 1989 - Page: 92

The Birds of South Africa - Author: Hazel Stokes - Year Published: 1979 - Page: 44

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 164

List of South African Birds

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