Goulds sunbird

Aethopyga gouldiae

SUBFAMILY

Nectariniinae

TAXONOMY

Cinnyris gouldiae Vigors, 1831, Simla-Almora District, Himalayas. Four subspecies.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Mrs. Gould's sunbird; French: Souimanga de Gould; German: Gouldnektarvogel; Spanish: Nectarina de la Gould.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

4.3 in (11 cm), but male's tail may be 1.75 in (4.5 cm) longer; male 0.23-0.28 oz (6.5-8.0 g), female 0.14-0.21 oz (4.0-6.1 g). A glossy purple head and tail; red back with two stripes to the bill on each side. Wings dull brown with yellow underparts and rump.

DISTRIBUTION

A. g. annamensis: southern Vietnam, southern Laos, and Thailand; A. g. dabryii: eastern Nagaland, west central and southern

China, southeastern Tibet, Manipur, Myanmar; A. g. gouldiae: Himalayas from Sutlej Valley to Aruchanel Pradesh and southeastern Tibet; A. g. isolata: south of River Brahmaputra in northern Assam, Ngaland, Manipur, and south to Chittagong Hills and northwestern Myanmar.

HABITAT

Highlands. Coniferous forest, oaks, scrub jungle, and rhododendrons.

BEHAVIOR

Energetic but shy.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Takes nectar from mistletoes and rhododendrons, and also eats insects and spiders. Drinks readily from pools.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Breeds as high as 14,000 ft (4,270 m). Clutch of two or three white eggs with small reddish brown marks laid mid-March to August. Nest oval and composed of grass, cobwebs, moss, fibers, and other vegetable matter, lined with down, and suspended from fern or low bush. In India parasitized by Asian emerald cuckoo (Chrysococcyx maculatus).

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened; but uncommon.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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