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Sunbirds: Nectariniidae

Purple Sunbird (cinnyris Asiaticus): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: Adult body length is 3.9 inches (10 centimeters). Males are dark, glossy bluish purple above, with yellowish underparts. The female is less colorful, with a yellow and gray upper body, but has yellow underparts much like the male's. The beak is thin and downcurved and the tongues are tubular with brushy tips (of flesh), because of their adaptation to a diet of mainly nectar.

Geographic range: These birds live from Pakistan through India to Southeast Asia. This is the most common sunbird species in India.

Habitat: Purple sunbirds live in forests, often visiting gardens.

Diet: These sunbirds eat nectar and insects.

Purple sunbirds forage for nectar and insects in forests and often visit gardens specifically to seek out nectar. (Illustration by Barbara Duperron. Reproduced by permission.)

Behavior and reproduction: Purple sunbirds forage for nectar, insects, and related creatures in forests and often visit gardens to seek out nectar. The call can be rendered as a humming "zit zit" and "swee swee." Breeding follows the usual pattern among sunbirds: monogamous breeding pairs, purse-like nests, female incubating eggs, and both parents caring for the chicks.

Purple sunbirds and people: There is little significant interaction between purple sunbirds and humans, other than human appreciation and awe of these jewel-like birds.

Conservation status: These birds are not threatened. ∎

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirdsSunbirds: Nectariniidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Ruby-cheeked Sunbird (chalcoparia Singalensis): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, SUNBIRDS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS