The Sunbirds and Spiderhunters are small passerines adapted to feeding on nectar; they have slender, pointed, decurved bills, and long tubular tongues. They sometimes hover to feed, but usually perch and probe for nectar, insects or spiders.
There are about 130 species distributed accross Africa, Asia and Australasia.
Nectariniidae is a family in the order Passeriformes.
Most species in this family were previously lumped in the genus Nectarinia; this genus was split recently based on morphology and plumage.2 However, subsequent genetic analysis1,3 does not support all of these groupings, suggesting that convergence is common within this group, and that further reorganization within this family can be expected in the near future.
- Bowie RCK. 2003. Birds, molecules, and evolutionary patterns among Africa's islands in the sky. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Cape Town, South Africa.
- Irwin MPS 1999. The Genus Nectarinia and the evolution and diversification of Sunbirds: An Afrotropical perspective. Honeyguide 45, 45–58.
- Percy Fitzpatrick Institute. 2002. The largest genus of birds takes a tumble. Africa Birds and Birding Vol. 7, No. 2, p19. (Avilable at http://www.fitzpatrick.uct.ac.za/pdf/fitzam02.pdf).