The sunbird and the heliconia

Female sunbird checking out the heloconia flower.

The Olive-backed Sunbird is a daily visitor to our garden. Sunbirds tend to travel in pairs – the male with a blue-black bib from the eyes to down the chest, and the female with a full yellow underbelly, and both earning the name of being olive-backed.

These small birds are commonly mistaken for hummingbirds because of the way they hover gracefully as they sip nectar from flowers with their thin, curved beaks. Unlike hummingbirds (which are from the tropical Americas), sunbirds can’t hover for long, and you will more often see them hopping around plants that have nectar-bearing flowers and hanging on with dexterous skill as they feed.

I had a great opportunity to watch a female sunbird when it paid a visit to one of our heliconia plants that happens to be just outside a window…

The female sunbird hangs effortlessly to the heliconia flower as it looks for nectar.

Unfortunately, they feed fast and I could only get a couple of pictures once I grabbed the camera – but you can see just how cute this little bird is! And it’s so light that it barely bent the stem of the flower.

I don’t often get the chance to take good photos of these birds as they’re quick and dart around really fast, so I’m glad I managed to, this time.

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The sunbird and the heliconia — 2 Comments

  1. I love sunbirds; they are so adorable. There’s a mated pair which comes to my garden every day too, and a few times at that. They love the nectar from my dad’s wrightia flowers and my neighbor’s pomegranate flowers. Lol.

    • I love how they travel in pairs. They’re usually up in the peacock trees, though – not easy to get photos of them, but they’re a joy to watch :)