The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Gurney's Sugarbird

Afrikaans name: Rooiborssuikervoël

Gurney's Sugarbird

Gurney's Sugarbird

Photo © Steven Herbert

Promerops gurneyi

Sugarbirds are like overgrown Sunbirds. Individuals or pairs are often seen feeding on proteas and aloes. Occasionally they are found in small groups, but they only do this near a good source of food.

Gurney's Sugarbirds can reach a length of 29 cm which includes their tail. They weigh a bit over 20 grams. Males are larger than females and have longer bills.

They are associated with Proteas and they can be seen feeding off the nectar. Nectar from aloes and other flowers is also eaten. They will also eat insects with bees being a particular favourite. They can fly fast and can catch insects in flight.

The breeding season varies from region to region. For example, in KwaZulu-Natal they breed between June and February while in Mpumalanga it tends to be between November and February. They make their cup-shaped in nests in a fork in a protea bush. Two eggs are normally laid but sometimes it is only one. The female incubates the eggs but both parents feed the chicks.

The Gurney's Sugarbird is endemic to southern Africa. They occur in a band inland from around East London through to north-eastern Limpopo. There is also a smaller population found in the Waterberg and Zoutpansberg region.

References and further reading

Southern African Bird Names Explained - Author: Charles Clinning - Published: 1989 - Page: 117

The Birds of South Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Dr. Austin Roberts - Published: 1949 - Page: 318

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 1993 - Page: 372

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 2011 - Page: 406

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1993 - Page: 681

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1975 - Page: 521

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 4th Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1981 - Page: 534

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1985 - Page: 682

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 1984 - Page: 388

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 7th Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 2000 - Page: 388

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 2nd edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1957 - Page: 404

Ian Sinclairs Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair - Published: 1988 - Page: 292

Everyones Guide to South African Birds - Author: John Sinclair and John Mendelsohn - Published: 1987 - Page: 82

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Published: 1999 - Page: 69

Birds of the Transvaal - Author: Tarboton, Kemp and Kemp - Published: 1987 - Page: 244

Birds of the Transkei - Author: C.D. Quickelberge - Published: 1989 - Page: 112

Bird Atlas of Natal - Author: Digby Cyrus and Nigel Robson - Published: 1980 - Page: 259

Birds of the Natal Drakensberg Park - Author: Robin Little and William Bainbridge - Published: 1992 - Page: 104

A Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: O.P.M. Prozesky - Published: 1983 - Page: 283

BirdLife South Africa


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List of South African Birds

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