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False Sunbirds and Asities: Philepittidae

Physical Characteristics

Asities are very small, compact birds with tails so short that individuals look almost spherical, ball-shaped. The velvet and Schlegel's asities grow up to 6 inches (15 centimeters) long and weigh up to 1.5 ounces (40 grams). The common and yellow-bellied sunbird-asities (also called false sunbirds) are smaller, up to 4 inches (10 centimeters) long and up to 0.88 ounces (25 grams) in weight. Both of these species have long, thin, downcurved beaks, like those of nectar-feeding birds. The two asity species have more modest, short, slightly downcurved beaks.

Males sprout brilliant, colorful plumage (feathers) and caruncles (KAR-un-kulz; wart-like skin bumps) at the beginning of the mating season (October through February). After the breeding season, the males revert to duller coloration. Females do not change colors and their colorations are more drab, being various mixtures and patterns of olives, grays, dull greens and dull yellows. The coloration of males outside the breeding season resembles that of the females of the same species, and the caruncles fade and disappear.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirdsFalse Sunbirds and Asities: Philepittidae - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Behavior And Reproduction, Conservation Status, Common Sunbird-asity (neodrepanis Coruscans): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, DIET, ASITIES FALSE SUNBIRDS AND PEOPLE