Sunbirds in the Salvia

With the South African autumn in full swing, the Southern Double-Collared Sunbird (Cinnyris chalybeus) is a frequent and conspicuous visitor to the garden, particularly to the Cape Honeysuckle (Tecoma capensis) and the Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha), both now in bloom.

The latter only flowers in autumn but the former does so all year round and so the Southern Double-Collared Sunbird (and its impressive cousin, the Malachite Sunbird (Nectarinia famosa)), are always about. They dig deep into the flowers for nectar which they extract with their long, thin tongues. If you look closely at the second image, you will see a small part of it protruding from its beak.

In the third image, notice the blue and red collars from which “double-collared” in its common name is derived. Though not visible in these images, since it is not usually on display, there are also yellow tufts hidden on the male’s shoulders which he flaunts in the sunlight when looking for a mate becomes a serious pursuit.

These little birds are very forgiving of their admirer, and so I am able to photograph them up close (provided I do not make any sudden movements).

Southern Double-Collared Sunbird Male (Cinnyris chalybeus), 10 April 2019. Copyright 2019 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.
Southern Double-Collared Sunbird Male (Cinnyris chalybeus), 10 April 2019. Copyright 2019 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.
Southern Double-Collared Sunbird Male (Cinnyris chalybeus), 10 April 2019. Copyright 2019 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.

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