Plain Sunbird Anthreptes simplex – male’s role with fledglings

posted in: bird, Feeding chicks, Plain sunbird | 0
Photo 1: Juvenile plain sunbird begging male parent for food. 27 June 2022. Perak, Malaysia.


Photo 2: Juvenile plain sunbird following male parent from perch to perch. 27 June 2022. Perak, Malaysia.


Regarding the parental role of the male Plain Sunbird Anthreptes simplex, Wells (2007) notes that “Females nest-build and attend fledglings; male role undescribed.” Cheke and Mann (2001) make no mention of parental roles. 

I recently reported on Plain Sunbirds nesting, and that observation suggested that males defend the nest from threats.

Today (27th June 2022) at a forest reserve in Ipoh, Perak, I observed an adult male Plain Sunbird feeding a dependent juvenile. I saw the adult male collect and feed Macaranga bancana fruit to the juvenile a number of times. The single juvenile would follow the adult around, from perch to perch, and demand food with calls and the usual fluttering of wings. Two images of the juvenile are shown; note orange bill and feet. 

I did not see any adult female or other juveniles around. It is possible that adults split responsibilities and the female was nearby feeding another juvenile (brood division for post-fledging care).

The observation today suggests that adult males are involved in feeding fledglings. Further observations are required to better understand this species breeding behaviour.



  1. Wells, D.R. (2007). The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula: Vol. 2 (Passarines). Christopher Helm, London.
  2. Robert A Cheke, Clive F Mann, Richard Allen (2001). Sunbirds: A Guide to the Sunbirds, Flowerpeckers, Spiderhunters and Sugarbirds of the World. Helm Identification Guides.
  3. Amar-Singh HSS (2022). Plain Sunbird Anthreptes simplex Nesting. Bird Ecology Study Group. <


Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia


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