Purple-naped Sunbird – immature

The flowers of Poikilospermum suaveolens are a particular favourite of Purple-naped Sunbirds (Hypogramma hypogrammicum nuchale) and they are territorial about them. I observed a number of Purple-naped Sunbirds coming to feed on the flowers of a Poikilospermum suaveolens and they chased away other birds, especially the Plain Sunbirds (Anthreptes simplex).

I have presumed that they eat the flowers, like many bird species, to get to the nectar; insects visiting the flowers are not eaten. They seem to choose flowers carefully and only eat some in any inflorescence. The flower is plucked and then they tilt the head backwards to swallow it.

Two of the Purple-naped Sunbirds were immatures. One was male with metallic plumage at nape and tail developing but still retaining a gape. These birds were self-feeding. Two images of the immature male.

Bird I have personally observed feeding on the flowers of Poikilospermum suaveolens (eat the flowers to get to the nectar):

Purple-naped Sunbird Hypogramma hypogrammicum nuchale

Plain Sunbird Anthreptes simplex

Black-throated Sunbird Aethopyga saturata wrayi

Brown-throated Sunbird Anthreptes malacensis

Streaked Spiderhunter Arachnothera magna musarum

Long-tailed Sibia Heterophasia picaoides wrayi

Chestnut-capped Laughingthrush Garrulax mitratus

Orange-bellied Flowerpecker Dicaeum trigonostigma trigonostigma

Everett’s White-eye Zosterops everetti tahanensis


Amar-Singh HSS (Dato’ Dr) – Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Location: Kledang-Sayong Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Habitat: Trail along primary jungle

Date: 23rd July 2020

Equipment: Equipment: Nikon D500 SLR with Nikon AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR, handheld with Rode VideoMic Pro Plus Shotgun Microphone

Follow 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.