Interesting Facts About Sunbirds: Everything You Need To Know About Them

Of all the birds belonging to colored families—sunbirds are the brightest among all in the world and are therefore considered to be the most enchanting ones too.

The sunbirds are slender and tiny passerines from Afro-Eurasia (Old World). You can spot them thriving across most of Africa, South Asia, the Middle East, southern China, Indonesia, Southeast Asia, northern Australia, and New Guinea. Sunbirds have 132 species, and they are not related to the hummingbirds of the New World. Let us find out more.

Their appearance, and how can you identify one

Sunbirds belong to the family named Nectariniidae. They are brightly colored small birds with downward-curved, relatively long beaks that help them feed on nectar.

One genus looks distinctly different.

While most bird species of this genus have similar characteristics, only one looks strikingly different. The “Arachnothera” genus of birds are called “spiderhunters.” While all other sunbirds have brightly colored feathers (particularly the males), both male and female spiderhunters have brown plumage. These sunbirds are also relatively larger than some of the other species.

They resemble two popular birds.

In terms of appearance, sunbirds resemble the honeyeaters in Australia and hummingbirds in America. Despite belonging to different families, the birds look remarkably similar. The strikingly similar appearance of hummingbirds, honeybirds, and sunbirds is primarily responsible for their nectar-feeding lifestyle.

Sunbirds do not exclusively feed on nectar.

They do not exclusively feed on nectar, and their diet is relatively varied all round the year. Most species of sunbirds feed on spiders and other insects during the breeding season, and they also prefer consuming various types of fruits.

They are found in three continents.

Sunbirds can be found in the Old World — consisting of three continents: Africa, Europe, and Asia. It also implies that sunbirds have an extended range because they are native to Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and New Guinea.

Sunbirds beautifully craft their nests.

The nests are purse-shaped, compact shelters that hang from tree branches with one central entrance. They are constructed by female birds, using several types of fibers and materials like dried grass, leaves, bark, twigs, vegetable down, feathers, snakeskin, and plant stems. The nests are tightly bound using spider’s silk, particularly the entrance.

Sunbirds also like to see their reflection in reflective windows and other mirrored surfaces.


Satavisha hails from the city of joy, Kolkata. She took up writing as my profession amid the pandemic when the world was at a standstill. Here, she acquired a balance between her passion for writing and sharing various ideas and facts through her stories.
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