The purple sunbird (Cinnyris asiaticus) is a small bird that, like other sunbirds, primarily feeds on nectar but will also eat insects, particularly when nourishing its young. They can fly like hummingbirds to get nectar, but most of the time they sit at the bottom of flowers. Males appear black, but under certain lighting conditions, a purple iridescence is visible. Females have an olive-colored top and a yellowish bottom. This small bird has a short beak and a dark, short tail that ends in a square and males and females look very different.
Purple sunbirds are less than 10 cm long, and their tongues are long tubes with brush-like tips that help them feed on nectar. The male is shiny and glittering blue-black to purple-black on top, and the wings look dark brown. The breeding male also has the same purple-black underparts, but non-breeding males may have a black stripe in the middle of their yellow underparts.
Churrascaria was once a name for a species of birds with this kind of eclipse plumage. When the male is in his breeding plumage, he can be mistaken for the similar Loten’s sunbird, which has a long bill and a wide band of maroon on its chest. Males who are trying to get a mate will sometimes show off their yellow pectoral tufts.
Purple Sunbird Male and Female
Males who are ready to breed have a bright blue patch on their shoulder. Most of the time, the maroon sheen on the feathers of the collar around the neck can be seen when the bird is mating. Females are dark brown on top and yellow on the bottom. Beyond the eye, there is a pale supercilium. There is a dark stripe near the eye. The neck and breast are yellow, but the vent is white.
Both the male and female have white tips on their outside tail feathers. Purple sunbirds are usually seen in pairs or small groups, and they may gather in yards with the right kinds of flowers. They mostly eat nectar, but they also eat food and bugs. On occasion, groups of as many as forty to fifty individuals have been observed.
Purple Sunbird Found Where
The species is found from West Asia to Southeast Asia, including the Indian Subcontinent. In most parts of their range, they live there year-round and do not move far. They live in thin woods and gardens, even in cities with lots of people. Local moves have been seen, especially in the drier parts of northwest India and Pakistan, where a large number of them are said to arrive before summer.
The nominate subspecies is found in India, east of the arid region and south of the Himalayas, extending to the west and south of India as well as Sri Lanka. The plains are where they are most common, but they can be found as high as 2400 m in southern India and 1700 m in the Himalayas. The race brevirostris lives in the dry zone, which stretches from the Arabian Peninsula through Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan to Rajasthan and Gujarat, which are also in the dry zone.
But these birds might spend the winter in the south, near Goa. The yellow tufts on this form’s chest have a hint of green. From the border of Orissa and Andhra Pradesh in the south to Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Indochina in the north, the race intermedius can be found. We do not know much about how these birds move. A male bird that was ringed in Bharatpur was found 350 km north in Dehradun.
Purple Sunbird Call
How the purple sunbird acts and where it lives? These birds make a lot of noise and will join a group of owls or other hunters by calling. The song starts with a quick rattle and ends with steely notes that ring. “Chwit” or “chewing!” are also used as call notes. The main breeding season is before the monsoons, from April to June in northern India and from January to June in Sri Lanka. They flick their wings while they eat.
Most of the time, they sit to get nectar from flowers instead of hovering. Some plants, like Butea monosperma, Acacia, Woodfordia, and Dendrophthoe, need them to spread pollen, but they sometimes steal nectar from flowers, like Hamelia patens, by cutting a hole in the bottom. They are known to eat small fruits like Salvadora persica berries and grapes that have been grown in a garden. Fly-catching is sometimes used to catch bugs.
During courtship behaviors, the male raises his head, fans his tail, and flaps his wings in a way that shows the pectoral tufts to the female. He also sings. The nest is a pouch made of cobwebs, thin pieces of plant material, lichens, and bark. A protrusion that hangs over the side hole is often used to block the sun. The female performs almost all of the work on the nest.
Most of the nest material is held together by cobwebs, which are not knitted. The nest may take between five and ten days to build. In a home, a sunbird has been known to live for nearly 22 years. By spreading its wings and turning itself inside out, the bird makes the space inside its body bigger. It sometimes makes its nest in Sri Lanka and southern India by changing and lining the net structures made by colonial or “social” spiders, Stegodyphus sarasinorum (Eresidae).
Most times, two eggs are laid. The nest is usually built on a low branch, often of a plant with thorns, but it can also be built near people’s homes, attached to wires or other man-made items, or even inside a toilet that is not being used. The female is the only one who takes care of the eggs. After 15 to 17 days, the eggs hatch. The males help the females feed the chicks, but the females are more involved and make more trips as the chicks get bigger.