White-bellied Sunbird

© Shem Compion


White-bellied sunbird (Cinnyris talatala)

White-bellied Sunbird Appearance

White-bellied sunbirds are a sexual dichromatism species of bird (The male and female have different plumage).

The male white-bellied sunbird is around 11 cm in length. During the breeding season, the male has a white belly and an iridescent throat and back. A metallic purple line is visible in direct sunlight, between the belly and the throat. The feet, legs and bill are black. Some males will have yellow pectoral tufts that are shown in a mating display. Outside of the breeding season, the male has a variable number of brown feathers in the green plumage.

The female white-bellied sunbird’s plumage is brownish grey, with an off white belly and flank. 


The white-bellied sunbird feeds on nectar, insects and spiders. They favour nectar and will feed by either perching or hovering. This sunbird hawks flying insects and gleans insects and spiders from foliage.

White-bellied Sunbird Breeding

White-bellied sunbirds are monogamous. The female builds an untidy pendant shaped nest of grass and leaves, often held together with spider’s webs, camouflaged with leaves and bark on the outside. The female lays one to three eggs that are incubated solely by the female for around 14 days.  The chicks are fed by both parents.

The white-bellied sunbird is a brood host to Klaas cuckoo.

White-bellied Sunbird Behaviour

White-bellied sunbird are often seen in small groups when feeding at a source of nectar. The male will sing from a perch inside a bush, up to 30 minutes at a time.



White-bellied Sunbird Distribution and Habitat

White-bellied sunbird are found in open woodland and dry acacia. This bird is a common park and garden visitor. The white-bellied sunbird can be seen in the northeastern parts of South Africa.