Southern double-collared sunbird

Botanical Name: Cinnyris chalybeus
Afrikaans name: Klein rooiband suikerbekkie

Zulu name is iNcuncu

These little birds can easily be called the gems of the Western Cape with their bright jewel-like colours and long curved beaks. At present they are all around gardens and fynbos, flitting from Protea to Erica or any other tubular type flower that has nectar.

southern double collared sunbird 900pixabay2


The southern double-collared sunbird is 12 cm long. The adult male has a glossy, metallic green head, throat upper breast and back. It has a brilliant red band across the chest, separated from the green breast by a narrow metallic blue band. The rest of the underparts are whitish. When displaying, yellow feather tufts can be seen on the shoulders. As with other sunbirds the bill is long and decurved. The bill, legs and feet are black. The eye is dark brown. The male can be distinguished from the similar greater double-collared sunbird by its smaller size, narrower red chest band and shorter bill.

The female southern double-collared sunbird has brown upperparts and yellowish-grey underparts. The juvenile resembles the female. The female is greyer below than the female orange-breasted sunbird, and darker below than the female dusky sunbird.


The sunbird’s voice is a very high pitched jumble of swirling, sizzling and tinkling notes rising and falling in pitch and tempo for three to five seconds.


It lives mainly on nectar from flowers, but takes some fruit, and, especially when feeding young, insects and spiders. It can take nectar by hovering like a hummingbird, but usually perches to feed most of the time.


Locally common, their habitat is evergreen forests and bush, plantations and gardens.  The southern double-collared sunbird is usually seen singly or in small groups. Its flight is fast and direct on short wings. 

Breeding season is from April to December.

They built their oval nest from grass and twigs suspended from a branch or built into shrubs. 2 - 3 cream-coloured eggs are laid. Incubation is about 13 days and nestlings remain for 15 to 19 days and are dependant on their parents for 27 days.




Pixabay, Martin Etsebeth


Various Internet Research 


Roberts Bird Guide


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