Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 17:30 EDT

Purple Sunbird

The Purple Sunbird (Cinnyris asiaticus), is a sunbird that is part of a group of very small Old World passerine birds. It is an abundant resident breeder across tropical southern Asia from the Persian Gulf to Southeast Asia. One to three eggs are laid in a suspended nest in a tree. This species is found in a variety of habitats with some trees, including forest and cultivation.

Purple Sunbirds are tiny, only 4 inches long. They have medium-length thin down-curved bills and brush-tipped tubular tongues, both adaptations to their nectar feeding. The adult male is mainly glossy purple. The eclipse male has a yellow-gray upperparts and a yellow breast with a blue central streak extending to the belly. The female has yellow-gray upperparts and yellowish under parts, and a faint eyebrow stripe. The call is a humming zit zit.

Purple Sunbirds feed largely on nectar, although they will also take insects, especially when feeding young. Flight is fast and direct on their short wings. Most species can take nectar by hovering like a hummingbird, but usually perch to feed most of the time.

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Purple Sunbird