Malachite Sunbird | Nectarinia famosa
The Malachite Sunbird is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Nectariniidae bird family group which includes birds such as Sunbirds.
The description for the Malachite Sunbird (Latin name Nectarinia famosa) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Nectarinia famosa can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 775 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 985. You will find a picture of the Malachite 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.
Neither the Latin nor the Engish name for this bird has been affected by recent nomenclature modifications ? these changes have been incorporated into Robert's 7th Edition where appropriate.
The Malachite Sunbird has a height of 26 cms and weighs around 15 gms. The head is coloured green while the bill is coloured black. The Nectarinia famosa has a green coloured throat, black legs and a green coloured back. The eyes are brown.
The male Nectarinia famosa 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 green
Eyes are brown
Bill is black
Legs are black
Throat is green
Back is green
Feeding Habits ...
This bird hunts for small reptiles such as lizards, geckos and bush snakes. The Malachite Sunbird strikes poisonous snakes on the head with one fatal blow which kills the snake instantly. There have been cases were this bird has been killed by a snake while hunting. Some birds have been blinded by Cobra venom.
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.
Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...
The Malachite 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 green.
The nest is built high up in the tree canopy and is protected from predators by branches and the dense green foligae.
The bird is mainly found in the Savanna grasslands where it breeds and feeds.
This bird is very common in most of the Southern African Forests
The bird is an urban dweller as well, being at home in parks, gardens and in old vacated buildings
Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...
The Malachite Sunbird is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.
The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition * edited by PAR Hockey, WRJ Dean and PG Ryan, published by "The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund."
copyright: Tony Roocroft +27-11-454-0105
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