Purple Sunbird

Have you ever wondered how a tiny bird is supposed to live in a-not-so-friendly world full of predators like black kites, sparrowhawks, crows, mynas and not to forget cats and humans?

In this post, I will be sharing with you how it does so.


The male is entirely beautiful glossy blue except for the wings and the belly and has black legs (Picture above). He also has golden lined underwings.


The male taking off

The female is greyish brown above and has a pale underside. She also has pale eyebrows and black eye stripes. Both of them have a long, curved beak.


Young Lady

The juvenile male looks like his mom but has a long, black stripe running down his underside.


Juvenile Male

The baby girl has a yellower underside.


They feed mostly on nectar and spend their time hopping from flower to flower.


Feeding on nectar


Feeding…with a beak like that, who needs a straw?

I once saw a nest hanging from an unused electric wire and it had chicks inside. It looked like a rag hanging on the wire – barely noticeable as a nest. It was there in the open for all to see and yet it remained unnoticed because no one, not even the house owners could guess that there was a nest nearby. The bird was, perhaps, smart enough not to make the nest on a nearby clothes-line that was actually being used to hang clothes.


The nest on an unused electrical wire. From the size of the bird, one can guess the size of the nest. Perhaps, thats why no one noticed it.

To avoid being seen, the parents visited only very briefly to feed the chicks and left after ensuring that the coast was clear.


DSCN4123I saw another nest that was made on a hanging branch of a live moneyplant. It looked like a bunch of dried leaves and was made using grasses as nesting material, cardboard, some feathers and a rag. It was silky smooth inside lined with feathers as was the entrance. Overall, it looked like a part of the plant. It was not in use when I took this picture. Perhaps, it had served its purpose.



The nest – close up.


This bird feeds primarily on nectar and while doing so they pollinate the flowers. So flowering trees and bushes are a must for them. I wish people were more sensitive because in our northern plains and hills in winter, tree branches and bushes are chopped off to be used as firewood and to allow more sunlight to reach the ground for warmth.



  • Very informative post, Adi! Keep it up. Looking forward to some more from you.

  • Oh, what a lovely blog post! I found it via @kiwinana’s tweet (Thank you, Elsie ❤).

    Beautiful photography and great observations. 😃 We look forward to following your blog!

    -Emma and Tom

    • Thank you for your visit. Happy that you liked my blog. I look forward to hear more from you.

      @kiwinana, many thanks for tweeting about my blog. Really appreciated.

  • A really lovely and interesting post Aditya! I love how tiny & delicate these birds are, like our sunbirds, and how they can push their beak so deep into the tubular flowers. But like Hummingbirds of the US they have very fast wing movement and can feed airborne. Is your purple sunbird like this also?

    • Unlike the hummingbirds of the US, this sunbird does not hover. It must perch near a flower to suck nectar.
      To give you a better idea of how this bird feeds I have added a video to my post.
      Thank you for visiting.

  • What an amazing bird and nest. Thank your for introducing it to me.

  • Very enjoyable and informative. Keep them coming.

  • Informative post and beautiful pictures!

  • Wonderful photos. I loved the beautiful photos of the birds, but I was really happy to see photos of the nest.

  • I love this bird… and this post! In Israel this is called the Palestinian Sunbird, and it’s become one of my favorites, especially the brilliant iridescent male. Wonderful info – I never knew the coloring of young females was so distinctive. Interesting and valuable categories of info – I really like the way you organize your posts!

    • Thank you so much. I think we have a lot of birds in common between Israel and India.
      I’ve heard that Israel is very bird-rich. Hope to visit someday. Thank you once again.

      • Yes! I don’t live in Israel, but some of my children do and I’ve done some birding there. Eilat is one of the most incredible places to bird – they have a fabulous birding festival in March, during the spring migration between Africa and Europe/Asia.

  • Very informativeblog post and very nice photo graphy .
    These birds have built nest in our balcony.

    • Thanks Madhav, for visiting my blog and for your comment. Pls do take good care of them. 🙂

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