Olive-backed Sunbird taking spider


Lee Tiah Khee photographed this male Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis) about to eat a spider it had just caught (above). He next went on to document the female Olive-backed Sunbird in the process of taking another spider from its web. The bird flew towards the web, hovered in front for a short moment and with surgical precision, picked the spider off from the centre of the web (below).


This sunbird is a generalist as far as food is concerned. Wells (2007) reports spiders as being commonly taken in the mangrove forests in Selangor, Malaysia. The bird has also been reported taking small caterpillars, grasshoppers and various arthropods.

Many of us are familiar with sunbirds drinking nectar from flowers of various plants like Heliconias (Heliconia spp.), mistletoe (Dendrophthoe pentandra) and hibiscus (Hibiscus spp.). However, the birds also need protein, especially the growing chicks, thus it takes various arthropods.

Sunbirds’ nests also incorporate spiders’ webs (1, 2).

This post is a cooperative effort between www.naturepixels.org and BESG to bring the study of bird behaviour through photography to a wider audience.


3 Responses

  1. […] caught on images picking the spiders off webs: Crimson Sunbird (Aethopyga siparaja siparaja); Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis); and Streaked Spiderhunter (Arachnothera […]

  2. […] [An earlier post on the Crimson Sunbird (Aethopyga siparaja siparaja) feeding at a spider’s web can be seen HERE and an Olive-backed Sunbird taking a spider HERE.] […]

  3. I love this bird. We also have it here in Manila by my office window. It would hover over passion flower vine. This shot is awesome. Thanks for sharing.


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