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Beautiful Sunbird - BirdForum Opus

Photo by the late Jim Wood
The Gambia, West Africa, April 2006
Cinnyris pulchellus

Nectarinia pulchella


Immature male
Photo by rdavis
Awasa Lake, Hawasa, Ethiopia, January 2015

Male: 14-17 cm (5½-6¾ in); Female 9–11 cm (3½-4¼ in)

  • Medium-length thin down-curved bills
  • Brush-tipped tubular tongues


  • Bright metallic green upperparts and upperwing-coverts
  • Bright red breast patch bordered laterally by pale lime-green
  • 5cm long tail streamers


  • Greenish-brown upperparts
  • Yellowish underparts


Sub-Saharan Africa:
Western Africa: Mauritania, Senegambia, Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Mali, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Democratic Republic of Congo
Eastern Africa: Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania


Non-breeding male, starting to develop breeding plumage
Photo by d.flack
Gambia, March 2018

This is one of the many Sunbirds that have recently been moved to the genus Cinnyris from the genus Nectarinia.


There are 2 subspecies[1]:

  • C. p. pulchellus (aegra, lucidipectus):
  • C. p. melanogastrus:


Open habitats with some trees, dry thorn savanna, riversides, mangroves, coastal beaches and gardens. Found from 250 to 2000m



The diet consists of nectar, small flowers and insects and spiders.


Its nest is suspended in a tree and 1-2 eggs are laid.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase
  3. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved January 2016)
  4. Wikipedia
  5. BF Member observations

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