The male Copper-throated Sunbird

on 8th May 2018

The adult male Copper-throated Sunbird (Nectarinia calcostetha) is a very colourful bird. According to Cheke & Mann (2008), it “has top of head metallic green, sides of head, hindneck, upper back, upperwing and graduated tail black, lower back, rump and upperwing-coverts metallic green; chin and throat metallic coppery red, bordered metallic purplish-blue, breast metallic purplish-blue, pectoral tufts yellow, belly and undertail-coverts black; iris brown; bill and legs black.”

Male Copper-throated Sunbird (Photo by Benson Toh).

Under optimum ambient light as in the two images shown here, this sunbird exhibits it’s amazing combination of colours. However, under poor light conditions this sunbird looks blackish (Cheke et al., 2001).

Male Copper-throated Sunbird (Photo by Tony Chua).

When the male moves among the shadows of the vegetation, it remains inconspicuous. The presence of a female will encourage him to move into the light so as to display his brilliant plumage in iridescent rainbow colours. This will stimulate the female sensory system, thus increasing his mating success (Hill & McGaw, 2006).

Benson Toh & Tony Chua
24th April 2018

Cheke, R. A. & C. F. Mann, 2008. Family Nectariniidae (Sunbirds). In: del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott & D. A. Christie (eds.), Handbook of the birds of the world. Vol. 13. Penduline-tits to Shrikes. Lynx Editions, Barcelona. Pp. 196-320.
2. Cheke, R. A., C. F. Mann & R. Allen (2001). Sunbirds: A guide to the sunbirds, flowerpeckers, spiderhunters and sugarbirds of the world. New Haven & London: Yale University Press.

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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