Variable (Yellow Bellied) Sunbird | Cinnyris venustus

Robert's Birding Information: Variable (Yellowbellied) Sunbird

The Variable Sunbird is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Nectariniidae bird family group which includes birds such as Sunbirds.

The description for the Variable Sunbird (Latin name Cinnyris venustus) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Cinnyris venustus can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 786 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 992. You will find a picture of the Variable Sunbird on page 1008.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

This bird is known as Yellow-bellied Sunbird in the Roberts 6th Edition. The Latin name for this bird is Nectarinia venusta in the Roberts 6th Edition.

The Variable Sunbird is known in Afrikaans as Geelpenssuikerbekkie.

The Variable Sunbird has a height of 10 cms and weighs around 7 gms. The head is coloured blue while the bill is coloured black. The Cinnyris venustus has a blue coloured throat, black legs and a blue coloured back. The eyes are brown.

The male Cinnyris venustus has physical features that are slightly different from the female bird.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is blue.

Eyes are brown.

Bill is black.

Legs are black.

Throat is blue.

Back is blue.

Variable (Yellow Bellied) Sunbird Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground.

The Cinnyris venustus attacks its prey aerially and feeds on wing or takes the prey to a secluded venue where it is killed, torn into small pieces and eaten.

This bird is a noctunal feeder and is able to forage in the dark because of the enhanced night vision. It also forages at this time because that's when the prey comes out in the open.

This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten.

The bird also drinks nectar from flowers high up in the tree canopy.

Variable (Yellowbellied) Sunbird Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Variable Sunbird is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 1 to 3 eggs and they are coloured white.

The nest is built high up in the tree canopy and is protected from predators by branches and the dense green foliage.

The Variable Sunbird is mainly found in light and densely wooded forests, where there are Mopane trees.

The bird is at home in riverine forests and close to water bodies such as lakes, dams and streams.

This bird is very common in most of the Southern African Forests.

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

The Variable Sunbird is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.

This bird is usually seen in small family groups or in large flocks.