Fun Amethyst Sunbird Facts For Kids

Anusuya Mukherjee
Aug 29, 2023 By Anusuya Mukherjee
Originally Published on Aug 09, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Deeti Gupta
Amethyst Sunbird Fact File.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.5 Min

With a beautiful display of iridescent colors, the Amethyst Sunbird (Chalcomitra amethystina) is a tropical bird species from the Old World family under the order Passeriformes. Their geographic distribution spans across Sub-Saharan and Southern Africa.

Popularly known as the African Black Sunbird, Amethyst Sunbirds is among some seven species of sunbirds in the genus Chalcomitra, and belong to the Nectariniidae family.

The Amethyst Sunbird is highly territorial and avoids involving large groups of birds. However, once they find a partner, the male and female remain monogamous and mate for life. Their pear-shaped nests are built high up in tall trees and are made up of grass, twigs, and leaves.

The Amethyst Sunbird (Chalcomitra amethystina) are commonly found foraging in woodland, the agricultural field, gardens, and forest. This bird is a quick flyer and is seen hovering around nectar-bearing plants and flowers because their diet consists of nectar as well as other insects in the area.

If you enjoy knowing about birds and they are your go-to animal, then get to know more about the Umbrellabird and Cockatoo too.

Amethyst Sunbird Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an Amethyst Sunbird?

As a species of the order Passeriformes like the shrike, the Amethyst Sunbird (Chalcomitra amethystina) belongs to the Nectariniidae family.

What class of animal does an Amethyst Sunbird belong to?

The Amethyst Sunbird (Chalcomitra amethystina) is a forest-edge bird categorized under class Aves.

How many Amethyst Sunbirds are there in the world?

The current numbers of the Amethyst Sunbird (Chalcomitra amethystina) are unknown, however, they are rare and found across the Southern regions of Africa. This bird is accustomed to the habitat mainly across the coastal belt from Mozambique to Cape Town.

Where does an Amethyst Sunbird live?

The geographic distribution of the Amethyst Sunbird (Chalcomitra amethystina) is found across Africa with a higher concentration in the southern region. In the northern parts, they are found in Kenya, Congo, Somalia, and Tanzania, while in the south, they are quite common in Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, all the way to Cape Agulhas.

What is an Amethyst Sunbird's habitat?

The Amethyst Sunbird range map covers areas such as open woodland and scrubs, mesic savanna, primary rainforest, and coastal and alpine shrubbery. Recently, these birds have also adapted to man-made landscapes such as plantations, agricultural land, and gardens.

Who do Amethyst Sunbirds live with?

The Amethyst Sunbird (Chalcomitra amethystina) mostly lives in male-female pairs, and sometimes, in small groups.

How long does an Amethyst Sunbird live?

According to most sources, the male and female Amethyst Sunbird (Chalcomitra amethystina) have a lifespan between 16-22 years.

How do they reproduce?

Considering the Amethyst Sunbird (Chalcomitra amethystina) is monogamous, the breeding male and females are widely spread out. Usually, the Sunbird mating season lasts throughout the year.

However, in South Africa, breeding peaks between September to November, and in Zimbabwe, during October to February. The Amethyst Sunbird male attracts the female by hopping on the branch around her.

He flaps one wing at a time and later flutters both wings to show an impressive display of feathers. The female will reciprocate by bowing down and keeping a composed posture.

After mating, the nest is built by the Amethyst Sunbird female. Their nest is usually found in tall trees such as eucalyptus or pines.

Their nests are mangled oval structures made of stalks, branches, lichen, or grass, and are glued together with the help of spider webs. Two to four eggs are laid by the female and are incubated for 15-18 days.

What is their conservation status?

According to the IUCN Red List, the Amethyst Sunbird (Chalcomitra amethystina) is given the conservation status of Least Concern. Although their numbers are unknown, their population has had a stable trend.

Amethyst Sunbird Fun Facts

What do Amethyst Sunbirds look like?

The Amethyst Sunbird (Chalcomitra amethystina) has a bold appearance, especially because of its distinctive iridescent color around the forecrown and throat along with its curved, talon-like long beak. Sexual dichromatism is seen in this bird species, giving them striking differences between the male and female plumage.

The males are jet black, even their feet, and bill. They show off a luminescent green patch on the crown and a metallic red or purple patch under the throat.

On the other hand, the female has a dark brown plumage.

They have a pale yellow or white shade all over their breast and belly, accompanied by tiny brown streaks. The female looks similar to other Sunbird species, but the pale-colored brow differentiates it from the rest of these birds.

Eucalyptus flower on which Amethyst Sunbirds build their nests

How cute are they?

Everything about the Amethyst Sunbird is black with specs of vibrant color, making it quite the charmer on the cuteness scale. They're not too big, have small rounded heads and beady eyes with a beak that is considerably longer for its size, making them look quite adorable.

How do they communicate?

The Amethyst Sunbird (Chalcomitra amethystina) is famously known for living alone or in pairs and interacts with melodious and continuous twittering. These birds use insect-like sounds to communicate. Generally, sunbirds are hostile and make loud distracting noises in the presence of other birds.

How big is an Amethyst Sunbird?

With its height range between 3.54-5.9 in (9-15 cm), the Amethyst Sunbird (Chalcomitra amethystina) is around the same size as the Crimson Sunbird. Comparatively speaking, the Amethyst Sunbird is 10 times smaller than a Secretary Bird and around twice as big as a Hummingbird.

How fast can an Amethyst Sunbird fly?

The exact flight speed of the Amethyst Sunbird (Chalcomitra amethystina) is unknown. However, these African bird species are known to be swift flyers often following a direct flight path. Sometimes, these birds tend to nimbly change direction in a jinking motion.

How much does an Amethyst Sunbird weigh?

An average adult Amethyst Sunbird species weighs around 0.03-0.07 lb (14-34 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The Amethyst Sunbird (Chalcomitra amethystina) has another common name, African Black Sunbird. It is also referred to as Swartsuikerbekkie in Afrikaans or souimanga améthyste in French. However, this bird species does not have separate names for the female and male.

What would you call a baby Amethyst Sunbird?

The Amethyst Sunbird (Chalcomitra amethystina) babies do not have a separate name. They can be referred to as chicks, which is common to all birds of all species.

What do they eat?

The Amethyst Sunbird hails from the Nectariniidae family and their diet is mainly omnivorous. As the name suggests, the food these birds eat includes nectar, and sometimes snack on insects like grasshoppers, ants, crickets, and spiders.

Are they rare?

The Amethyst Sunbird (Chalcomitra amethystina) is one of the rare birds in the world. However, the Amethyst Sunbird location, which includes African countries like Tanzania, Kenya, Zimbabwe, and Botswana, is quite populated. especially populating the coastal line from Mozambique to Cape Town.

Would they make a good pet?

The Amethyst Sunbird (Chalcomitra amethystina) belongs to the category of bird species that are meant to live free in the wild. Additionally, these are singing birds and can be quite unpleasantly noisy something which means keeping them in a cage is not a good idea.

Did you know...

A total of 132 Sunbird species are found across Asia, Australia, and Africa.

Nectar is the main component of their diet and they feed on it by extending their long brush-tipped tongue from their long curved beak and into the flower.

Sunbirds are only active during the day, making them diurnal birds.

Surprisingly, the Amethyst Sunbird migrates rarely and is sedentary.

The nests of these birds are used by honeyguides and Cuckoos.

The Amethyst Sunbird (Chalcomitra amethystina) has three subspecies found in different African regions i.e. C. a. kirkii, C. a. deminuta, and C. a. amethystina.

This species of birds can reach the nectar of tube-like flowers better than insects, making them quite crucial for pollination.

Is the Amethyst Sunbird endangered?

No, the Amethyst Sunbird (Chalcomitra amethystina) is tagged as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List.

Why are they called Amethyst Sunbirds?

The Amethyst Sunbird (Chalcomitra amethystina), African Black Sunbird, Swartsuikerbekkie (Afrikaans), or  Souimanga améthyste (French)are primarily named so because of their color contrast.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our Thick-billed Parrot facts and Glossy Ibis facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Amethyst Sunbird coloring pages.

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Written by Anusuya Mukherjee

Bachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

Anusuya Mukherjee picture

Anusuya MukherjeeBachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

With a wealth of international experience spanning Europe, Africa, North America, and the Middle East, Anusuya brings a unique perspective to her work as a Content Assistant and Content Updating Coordinator. She holds a law degree from India and has practiced law in India and Kuwait. Anusuya is a fan of rap music and enjoys a good cup of coffee in her free time. Currently, she is working on her novel, "Mr. Ivory Merchant".

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Fact-checked by Deeti Gupta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

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Deeti GuptaBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

A detail-oriented fact-checker with a research-oriented approach. Devika has a passion for creative writing, she has been published on multiple digital publishing platforms and editorials before joining the Kidadl team. Currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from St.Xavier's College, Deeti has won several accolades and writing competitions throughout her academic career.

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