The sunbirds and spiderhunters make up a family, Nectariniidae, of very small passerine birds.Most sunbirds feed largely on nectar, but also take insects and spiders, especially when feeding young. Flower tubes that bar access to nectar because of their shape, are simply punctured at the base near the nectaries. Fruit is also part of the diet of some species. Their flight is fast and direct on their short wings.
The sunbirds have counterparts in two very distantly related groups: the hummingbirds of the Americas and the honeyeaters of Australia. The resemblances are due to convergent evolution brought about by a similar nectar-feeding lifestyle. Some sunbird species can take nectar by hovering like a hummingbird, but usually perch to feed.
Sunbird are active diurnal birds that generally occur in pairs or occasionally in small family groups. A few species occasionally gather in larger groups, and sunbird will join with other birds to mob potential predators, although sunbirds will also aggressively target other species, even if they are not predators, when defending their territories.
The family ranges in size from the 5-gram Black-bellied Sunbird to the Spectacled Spiderhunter, at about 45 grams. Like the hummingbirds, sunbirds are strongly sexually dimorphic, with the males usually brilliantly plumaged in iridescent colours. In addition to this the tails of many species are longer in the males, and overall the males are larger. Sunbirds have long thin down-curved bills and brush-tipped tubular tongues, both adaptations to their nectar feeding.
The sunbirds and spiderhunters occupy a wide range of habitats, with a majority of species being found in primary rainforest, but other habitats used by the family including disturbed secondary forest, open woodland, open scrub and savannah, coastal scrub and alpine forest. Some species have readily adapted to human modified landscapes such as plantations, gardens and agricultural land. Many species are able to occupy a wide range of habitats from sea level to 4900 m.
The sunbirds that breed outside of the equatorial regions are mostly seasonal breeders, with the majority of these species breeding in the wet season. This timing reflects the increased availability of insect prey for the growing young. Where species, like the Buff-throated Sunbird, breed in the dry season, it is thought to be associated with the flowering of favoured food plants. Species of sunbird in the equatorial areas breed throughout the year. The nests of sunbirds are generally purse-shaped, enclosed, suspended from thin branches with generous use of spiderweb. The nests of the spiderhunters are different, both from the sunbirds and in some cases from each other. Some, like the Little Spiderhunter, are small woven cups attached to the underside of large leaves; that of the Yellow-eared Spiderhunter is similarly attached but is a long tube. The nests of spiderhunters are inconspicuous, in contrast to those of the other sunbirds which are more visible.
The Purple Sunbird (Cinnyris asiaticus) is a small sunbird. Like other sunbirds they feed mainly on nectar, although they will also take insects, especially when feeding young. They have a fast and direct flight and can take nectar by hovering like a hummingbird but often perch at the base of flowers. The males appear all black except in some lighting when the purple iridescence becomes visible. Females are olive above and yellowish below.
This small sunbird has a relatively short bill, a dark and short square ended tail with distinctive sexual dimorphism. Less than 10 cm long they have a down-curve bill with brush-tipped tubular tongues that aid in nectar feeding. The male is glossy metallic purplish black on the upper parts with the wings appearing dark brown. The breeding male has the underparts also of the same purplish black, but non-breeding males may show a central streak of black on yellow underparts.
Females are olive brown above with yellowish underside. There is a pale supercilium beyond the eye. There is a darkish eye stripe. The throat and breast are yellow becoming pale towards the vent. The outer tail feathers are tipped in white both in the male and female.
These birds are very vociferous and will call and will join to mob owls or other predators. The song is rapid rattle followed by ringing, metallic notes. Other call notes include a "chwit" or "chwing!" notes. The primary breeding season is before the Monsoons, April to June in northern India and January to June in Sri Lanka.
I saw this from my window..This Sun bird ( Moutusi in Bengali) sat on an electric antenna and I took its photo...
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chrisvek (7001) 2012-09-24 12:49
Nice capture of this small cute bird.Also perfect POV and so nice framework.Well done!TFS
Have a great week
pajaran (47848) 2012-09-24 12:59
Vrlo interesantan i dobar tekst, o ptici ...
Dobar ostrina i kontrast, lepe boje.
Dobar snimak tele-objektivom.
Dobra kompozicija, lepa ptica.
Sve najbolje u novoj nedelji koja je pocela.
Very interesting and good text, a bird ...
Good sharpness and contrast, beautiful color.
Good video tele-lens.
Good composition, beautiful birds.
All the best in the new week that started.
mmohan (744) 2012-09-24 14:21
A simple but effective shot.
papagolf21 (82978) 2012-09-24 14:58
Dans chacune de vos compositions, il existe une part de poésie.
Il y a toujours une recherche du beau, du ressenti, de sentiments.
Et c'est en cela qu'un photographe trouve sa voie.
Félicitations pour votre album en général.
Bluejeans (64247) 2012-09-25 5:37
Ola Madhumita ,
Belo detalhe para este pássaro de plumagem azul faz um bom contraste contra o fundo castanho , parabéns!!
Um abraço Gonçalo
macjake (51418) 2012-09-25 9:46
Its a shame we don't get to see you posting photo's more often!
as for the photo, its hard to capture such a small animal so sharply - its a tough one!
Its a smart looking contrast with the blue and beiges, and I really enjoyed reading your note.
Seems like these birds are very social animals, and enjoy the family lifestyle :)
enjoy your day in India!
Cricri (100367) 2012-09-26 22:57
Un fond flou qui met en valeur la couleur bleu de ce petit oiseau bien capturer, bon choix de couleur de l'encadrement et le format
ghost_man (1006) 2012-10-04 10:17
Mükemmel bir detay. Muhteşem bir netlik. Tebrikler, nefis çalışma.
mauro61 (52623) 2012-10-04 22:00
molto particolare questa inquadratura che mi piace per il suo taglio.
Ben colto da dietro il soggetto con una luce perfetta che ne esalta il colore,
bayno (18342) 2012-10-04 22:25
from the shape of the beak is realized at once that it is a bird who likes nectar, excellent cut of the picture and the moment captured, perfect DOF that highlights the graceful subject...
josepmarin (57465) 2012-10-05 9:50
a magnificent close-up on the sunbird sat in the antenna, caught perfectly from your window.
This nice bird offered you a photo while you were at home, and you took advantage of it for to obtain a very interesting image.
I like the blurry background because it emphasizes the image of the bird, and notices us about a good work with the field depth.
A beautiful composition.
mkamionka (29155) 2012-10-07 11:23
siderhunters -I like them already. We have so many spiders in the neighborhood I would invite some spider hunters and even would like to have one at home.
Very nice capture with nicely blurred background. The bird is cute, I think I see it for the first time. Thanks for sharing,
arijit_ghosh86 (795) 2012-10-09 15:17
Nice picture...beautiful colors....keep posting some more bird pictures..
COSTANTINO (50693) 2012-10-11 10:46
little sunbird,sweet and delicate shot
tha nks for your useful notes,
ikeharel (51495) 2012-10-12 6:09
Good evening Madhumita,
We call this beautiful creature "Honey-bird", and it is so tiny yet swift, that it is almost impossible to take photos on her.
Fine photojob you managed here, good clear details.
jemaflor (80000) 2012-10-13 2:28
Well presented with this format, ideal, perfect sharpness and focal point with this birds, tfs.
dale54 (6249) 2012-10-13 7:46
hi madhumita,very nice work here,beautifull bird,i really like this crop and border! nice! dr
kordinator (14831) 2012-10-16 1:44
Nice capture of this small cute bird.
Perfect point of view and nice framework.
Excellent framing this panoramic format.
boa (5536) 2012-10-18 12:06
nice shot of this colorful bird. Good Pov and colors, well done!
Have a nice evening.
lpi (4857) 2012-10-29 7:12
J'aime ton cadrage et les couleurs de ce joli petit oiseau!
Bien vu et bien réalisé!