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Crimson Sunbird

From Opus

Alternative names: Yellow-backed Sunbird; Goulpourah Sunbird; Eastern Crimson Sunbird

MalePhoto © by mehdhalaouateSingapore, July 2004
Photo © by mehdhalaouate
Singapore, July 2004
Aethopyga siparaja


[edit] Identification

Crimson Sunbirds are tiny, only 11 cm long. They have medium-length thin down-curved bills and brush-tipped tubular tongues, both adaptations to their nectar feeding.

The adult male has a crimson breast and maroon back. The rump is yellow and the belly is olive.
The female has an olive-green back, yellowish breast and white tips to the outer tail feathers.

FemalePhoto © by robby thaiTap Lan NP, Thailand, October 2014
Photo © by robby thai
Tap Lan NP, Thailand, October 2014

[edit] Distribution

Found from India east over the Himalayas, southwest China, Indochina, Malaysia to Sumatra, Borneo and Sulawesi (Indonesia).

[edit] Taxonomy

Vigors's Sunbird and Magnificent Sunbird were formerly included in this species.

[edit] Subspecies

There are 14 subspecies[1]:

Juvenile femalePhoto © by arian001Mandai Orchard Garden, Singapore August 2005
Juvenile female
Photo © by arian001
Mandai Orchard Garden, Singapore
August 2005
  • A. s. seheriae: Nepal to Assam, Bangladesh, Burma, south-western China and north-western Thailand
  • A. s. labecula: Eastern Himalayas (Bhutan to Arundal Pradesh, Assam and Bangladesh)
  • A. s. owstoni: Southern China (Naochow Island off Luichow Peninsula)
  • A. s. tonkinensis: Southern China (south-eastern Yunnan) and north-eastern Vietnam
  • A. s. mangini: South-eastern Thailand to central and southern Indochina
  • A. s. insularis: Phu Quoc Island (off extreme southern Cambodia)
  • A. s. cara: Southern Burma, Thailand and Mergui Archipelago
  • A. s. trangensis: Peninsula Thailand, northern Malay Peninsula and adjacent Burma
  • A. s. siparaja: Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Borneo and adjacent offshore islands
  • A. s. nicobarica: Nicobar Islands
  • A. s. heliogona: Java
  • A. s. natunae: North Natuna Islands
  • A. s. flavostriata: Northern Sulawesi
  • A. s. beccarii: Central, south-eastern and southern Sulawesi; Butung, Muna and Kabaena islands
Juvenile MalePhoto © by jweeyhSingapore, October 2016
Juvenile Male
Photo © by jweeyh
Singapore, October 2016

[edit] Habitat

Found in forest, scrub and gardens below 1,800.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Diet

Feeds on nectar, insects and spiders.

[edit] Breeding

Two eggs or three eggs are laid in a suspended nest in a tree. In India it's parasitised by the Asian Emerald Cuckoo.

[edit] Flight

Like all sunbirds this species has a fast and direct flight with their short wings. They can hover like hummingbirds, but usually perch to feed most of the time.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2016. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2016, with updates to August 2016. Downloaded from

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