Greater Double-collared Sunbird

Cinnyris afer

The Greater Double-collared Sunbird occurs only in South Africa and Swaziland, inhabiting high-lying shrublands, fynbos, forest margins, riverine woodland and parks and gardens, often in hilly and mountainous terrain. They feed on nectar, juicy fruits and insects and spiders. Adults measure 14cm in length and weigh around 15g.

Thse sunbirds are usually seen singly or in pairs. Breeding in the Greater Double-collared Sunbird has been recorded throughout the year, though there’s a distinct peak in the spring and summer months. Pairs are monogamous and very defensive of the immediate vicinity of their nest. The female is responsible for constructing the oval nest in dense trees using grass and other plant material bound with spider webs, lining the inside with fur and feathers. The female is also responsible for the incubation of the clutch of 2 eggs over a 2 week period, but both parents provide food to the hatchlings in the nest. The chicks leave the nest when they’re about two weeks old and stay with their parents for only another 10 days or so afterwards. Pairs may raise up to 3 broods in a season.

The IUCN evaluates the Greater Double-collared Sunbird as being of least concern.

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23 thoughts on “Greater Double-collared Sunbird

  1. Joanne Sisco

    I think if I ever saw one of these I would assume it was a hummingbird. It certainly reminds me of them – although I suspect it’s a bit larger. Love the photo of the male hovering over the shrub.

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      You are quite right about the resemblance, Joanne, both in form and function, though interestingly hummingbirds and sunbirds are not closely related at all – rather a good example of convergent evolution to use the same ecological niche.

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Especially so the females, Tracy. The iridescent plumage of the males make camouflage a little trickier. And then their noisy contact calls often betray their presence longs before you have them in your sights.

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  2. Anne

    Beautiful birds! A pair of them reside in our garden and are regular visitors to the aloes, canary creeper, and the Cape Chestnut as well as catching butterflies on the wing.

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Again the idea of receiving paying visitors to Anne’s Nature Reserve pops into my head – all you still need in your garden is a hide overlooking a pond, Anne, and your garden will become Grahamstown’s most famous destination!

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      1. Anne

        You are very kind. Our garden has become a forested area over the years, both by design and benign neglect – a haven for birds, but this does not make for easy photography of its denizens!

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        1. de Wets Wild Post author

          And thus a well-located photographic hide is just the enhancement your garden needs, Anne!
          All jokes aside, you can really be proud of the way you garden hand-in-hand with nature.

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