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Palestine Sunbird - BirdForum Opus

Photo by rony_roshtov
Jerusalem, Israel, August 2004
Cinnyris osea

Nectarinia osea


8 to 12 cm

  • Black, downward curving, long bill
  • Orange tufts to the side of the chest from November to June (usually hidden by the closed wing)

Females and juveniles are grey brown above, pale underparts.


Male showing chest tufts
Photo by mikiort
Central Israel, May 2014

Africa and the Middle East:
Northern Africa: occurs only in Egypt
Western Africa: Chad, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea and Democratic Republic of Congo
Eastern Africa: Sudan, South Sudan and Uganda
Middle East: Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Arabian Peninsula, Saudi Arabia and Yemen


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


Photo by CannonS2
Israel, 2009

There are two subspecies[1]:

  • C. o. decorsei:
  • C. o. osea:


Dry woodland, scrub, wadis, savannas, orchards and gardens and is common in towns in some areas.



The diet consists mainly of nectar, spiders and insects. The long tongue extracts the nectar whilst the bird is perched or hovering.

Photo by nissim
Israel, 2009

Where-ever there are suitable honey producing plants you can find these lively little birds, sometimes quite a few together, though they are normally very aggressive and territorial during the breeding season.


The nest is made of grass, leaves and plant material held together with spiders' webs and hair, lined with feathers and wool, and is suspended from a branch. 1-3 eggs are laid, which are incubated for 13-14 days. The young fledge after 14 to 21 days.


Song: a high, fast, jingle chwing-chwing-chweing
Call: they have a variety of calls including a harsh alarm call.


  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 May 2014)
  4. BF Member observations
  5. The Handbook of Bird Identification: For Europe and the Western Palearctic, By Mark Beaman, Steve Madge
  6. Wikipedia

Recommended Citation

External Links

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