The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Amethyst Sunbird

Afrikaans name: Swartsuikerbekkie

A female Amethyst Sunbird building her nest

Photo © Steven Herbert

Nectarinia amethystina / Chalcomitra amethystina

I think that the old name of Black Sunbird is better suited to this species as males are predominantly black with only a small patch of amethyst colour on their throat.

The male Amethyst Sunbird is as I have described above. The female is far more drab with a brown back and blotches and streaks of black on her underparts.

They are found in many countries in Africa. In South Africa they occur in a band from the Western Cape through KwaZulu-Natal to North West Province.

The Amethyst Sunbird mainly feeds off nectar but does also eat spiders and it catches flying insects.

The female makes the nest which is an enclosed structure hanging from a twig. Up to 3 eggs are laid.

References and further reading

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Published: 2011 - Page: 164

The Birds of South Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Dr. Austin Roberts - Published: 1949 - Page: 327

The Birds of South Africa - Author: Hazel Stokes - Published: 1979 - Page: 44

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 2011 - Page: 408

Southern African Bird Names Explained - Author: Charles Clinning - Published: 1989 - Page: 92

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1993 - Page: 699

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 1993 - Page: 374

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1985 - Page: 700

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 4th Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1981 - Page: 549

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1975 - Page: 537

Questions and Answers - Birds of Southern Africa - Author: Deirdre Richards - Published: 1990 - Page: 9

Meeting with Birds - Author: Tom Spence - Published: 1986 - Page: 105

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 1984 - Page: 396

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 7th Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 2000 - Page: 396

Newmans Garden Birds - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 1991 - Page: 102

Ian Sinclairs Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair - Published: 1988 - Page: 294

Geoff Lockwoods Garden Birds of Southern Africa - Author: Geoff Lockwood - Published: 0 - Page: 122

Garden Birds in South Africa - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 2017 - Page: 129

Field Guide to the Birds of Kruger National Park - Author: Ian Sinclair and Ian Whyte - Published: 1991 - Page: 198

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Published: 1999 - Page: 70

Birds of the Transkei - Author: C.D. Quickelberge - Published: 1989 - Page: 113

Birds of the Transvaal - Author: Tarboton, Kemp and Kemp - Published: 1987 - Page: 248

Birds of the South Western Cape - Author: Joy Frandsen - Published: 0 - Page: 211

Birds of Southern Africa - Kruger National Park - Author: Kenneth Newman - Published: 1985 - Page: 204

Birds of the Natal Drakensberg Park - Author: Robin Little and William Bainbridge - Published: 1992 - Page: 107

A First Guide to South African Birds - 6th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1959 - Page: 37

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1975 - Page: 37

Bird Atlas of Natal - Author: Digby Cyrus and Nigel Robson - Published: 1980 - Page: 265

A Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: O.P.M. Prozesky - Published: 1983 - Page: 290


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List of South African Birds

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