Sunbirds in the Yard

It is always a pleasure to watch the sunbirds in the yard.  There are quite a few species in Zambia and we have three that have visited the yard.  The first species hangs out here year round and helps make the yard cheerful.  This is the Variable Sunbird. 

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The second most common sunbird in the yard is the one in my header picture, the Amethyst Sunbird.  He is also called the Black Sunbird which you can see in the second photo below.  The purple iridescence on his throat is only visible when the sun hits it at the right angle, so he often looks plain black.  He usually only comes to the yard in May, June and July which seems to coincide with the flowering of this purple flowered tree.  I do not know the name if this tree, but I wish I did because the flowers are gorgeous!  You can see it in the background of many of these photos, as all the sunbirds love it, not just the Amethyst.



Finally we have occasionally been visited by a Scarlet-chested Sunbird who is also attracted to this tree, though he is by no means a regular visitor.


Here are a few photos of the females of these sunbirds.  Honestly I cannot tell them apart in these photos as they tend to be drab olive.  If I had to take a guess, the first one shows a mottled chest, maybe?,  so probably the Amethyst, and the following two seem plainer of chest so maybe the Variable.  But really I have no idea. Usually when out in “the field” or the yard, I just wait for a male to show up to tell which female it is. 


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Lastly,  a picture of a juvenile Variable, looking very scruffy, but only a few more weeks and I am sure he was looking gorgeous!


For more great bird blogs try Wild Bird Wednesday  and  I’d Rather B Birdin’.


9 thoughts on “Sunbirds in the Yard

  1. HI I have just discovered your blog through Stewert’s meme and am now a follower. I see you live in Zambia and as my daughter and family are moving to Malawi in JAnuary and I will visit there at some point, I am hoping that some of your birds are similar to those in Malawi. Would that be the case? Anyway, your photographs are wonderful and it must be great to have these small beautiful birds come into yur garden.

    • Hi Margaret, Thanks for following. I would say that many of the birds would be similar in Malawi. I haven’t actually been there but we share a significant border. I checked the list of Malawi birds on Wikipedia and many of the birds were the same there, including the three sunbirds in this post. All of them were found on the Malawi list, so good luck. Happy Birding!

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