Variable Sunbird

The Variable Sunbird (Cinnyris venustus ), is part of a group of very small Old World passerine birds. The Variable Sunbird is a fairly common resident breeder in equatorial Africa. This species was formerly known as (Nectarinia venusta).

Variable Sunbirds are small, 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 has a glossy green head, throat and nape with maroon breast band and a yellowish belly. The female has gray-brown upperparts and yellowish underparts, and an obvious pale eyebrow stripe. The eclipse male is like the female, but shows some green, especially on the throat. The call is a clear tew-tew-tew-tew-tew.

The 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. Two eggs are laid in a suspended nest in a tree. This species is found in open woodland and cultivation.

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