Backyard BirdsUncategorized

Variable Sunbirds


The Variable Sunbirds, Cinnyris venustus (formerly Nectarinia venusta), is a sunbird found in equatorial Africa, where they are fairly common in open woodland and cultivation.


Diet / Feeding

They feed largely on nectar – most species can take nectar by hovering like a hummingbird, but they usually perch to feed. They will also take insects, particularly when raising young.


Breeding / Nesting

The average clutch size consists of two eggs that are laid in a nest suspended in a tree.



Variable Sunbirds are small, only 10 cm or 4 inches long. They have medium-length thin down-curved bills and brush-tipped tubular tongues – both adaptations for nectar feeding.

The adult male has a glossy green head, throat, and nape with a maroon chest band and a yellowish belly.

The female has grey-brown upperparts and yellowish underparts, and an obvious pale supercilium (line above eye). The eclipse male is like the female, but shows some green, especially on the throat. Flight is fast and direct on their short wings.


Call / Vocalization

Its call is a clear tew-tew-tew-tew-tew.


Species Research by Sibylle Johnson


Please Note: The articles or images on this page are the sole property of the authors or photographers. Please contact them directly with respect to any copyright or licensing questions. Thank you.




Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also
Back to top button