Gurney’s Sugarbird

Promerops gurneyi

Gurney’s Sugarbird has a patchy distribution on the highlands on the border between Zimbabwe and Mozambique, in Swaziland, Lesotho and South Africa (suitable parts of Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Kwazulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape), where it inhabits montane grassland and scrub dominated by proteas and aloes. They feed on nectar from a wide range of flowering plants and also include insects and spiders in their diet to a lesser extent.

Usually seen singly or in pairs, Gurney’s Sugarbirds only congregate in larger numbers at rich food sources. When breeding they form monogamous bonds, with the male defending the pair’s territory while the female builds the nest; a shallow, cup-shaped formation of twigs, grass, rootlets and bark lined with grass and fluffy protea-seeds usually placed in a fork in a protea bush. The breeding season spans the spring and summer months. The female alone incubates the clutch of 2 eggs over a period of about 3 weeks, while both parents feed the chicks, which leave the nest when they’re 3 weeks old, on a diet of insects and spiders. The chicks remain dependent on their parents for another 3 weeks or so after fledging. Fully grown Gurney’s Sugarbirds measure up to 29cm long (including the tail) and weigh between 30 and 40g.

Gurney’s Sugarbird is classified as Near Threatened by the IUCN, owing to an apparent decline in their numbers likely attributable to loss of their preferred habitat to commercial plantations and damaging land management practices.

26 thoughts on “Gurney’s Sugarbird

  1. Anne

    They are lovely birds to see. I have only once seen one in our town – it was visiting a stand of proteas on the edge of the suburb. This has been removed over the years, doubtless by avid gardeners wanting to transplant them.

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  2. T Ibara Photo

    Hello Dries,
    I agree, what a beautiful bird, and what beautiful nature! I appreciate that you share these experiences with your international friends 🙂 The name “sugarbird” is a sweet name for this bird 😀 All best wishes to you and your family.

    Liked by 3 people

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Thanks very much, John! We also hope that you’ll soon be able to visit South Africa and the Kruger Park. And the Drakensberg. And the Kalahari. And the Cape of Good Gope. And the Garden Route. And the Bushveld. And Zululand. And Namaqualand. You’re going to need long leave to see all our most beautiful places!:-D

      Liked by 2 people

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