Malachite Sunbird 2017-04-18T12:46:47+00:00

Project Description

Animal Name: Malachite Sunbird
Scientific Name: Nectarinia famosa

It occurs in a variety of habitats, ranging from alpine and montane grasslands to scrubby hillsides in mountainous areas, as well as in arid steppes of Namaqualand, riverine thornbush, gardens, parks and alien plantations.

It is discontinuous across East Africa, with a separate and larger population in southern Africa. Here it occurs along the West coast of South Africa bordering on Namibia, extending east through the Eastern Cape and Lesotho to KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and the Limpopo Province. It also occupies Zimbabwe’s Eastern Highlands, bordering on Mozambique.

Its diet is mainly made up of nectar supplemented with small Arthropods. It usually forages singly or in pairs, but it may aggregate in groups of over 100 at localised food sources (e.g. large clumps of flowering Aloe).


It is a monogamous, territorial solitary nester, with pair bonds only lasting for the duration of the breeding season. A breeding pairs territory can be as small as 800 metres squared and usually contains large clumps of flowering plants. The male is hardly present during the whole breeding process, occasionally bringing food to the female or chicks.
The nest (see image below) is constructed solely by the female, and is a teardrop-shaped construction built of dry grass and plant down bound with spider web. It usually placed in a low bush 1-2 metres above ground.

Egg-laying season peaks from September-December.
It lays 1-4 eggs which are incubated solely by the female for about 12-14 days. Every 15-50 minutes it takes a break to go foraging – the male rarely brings her food.
The chicks are cared for mainly the female, staying in the nest for about 13-17 days, becoming independent up to 24 days later.