A confrontation between two male sunbirds

posted in: Interspecific, Sunbirds | 1

On the evening of 23rd October 2007 I was attracted by the loud and high pitch cries of a sunbird in my backyard. The bird was firing off a series of chic-chic-chwee, chic-chic-chwee, chic-chic-chwee… The cries came in the direction of my curry-leaf tree (Murraya koenigii). Being a tiny bird, it took me some time to locate it. And locate it I did.


It was a male Crimson Sunbird (Aethopyga siparaja) and it was moving about the branches in a highly restless manner and calling loudly all the time (above left). I thought it was gleaning insects until I noticed another sunbird moving nearby. The other bird was also a male, but an Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis). It was following the Crimson, but silently (above right).

The Crimson came into view, perching on a branch nearby, calling all the time. The Olive-backed flew and landed nearby, less than half a metre away. It then flew off, fanned its tail and landed some distance away.

The Crimson noisily followed and so the pair moved to a palm nearby. All the while the Crimson was calling and the Olive-backed was silent. And they moved around for some time before disappearing.

What were they doing? A confrontation between the two male sunbirds of different species?

YC Wee
March 2008

  1. bird spotter

    Aiyoh, trying to hook up to each other lah! Birds also have their needs mah, just like humans!

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