Rubycheeked sunbird

Chalcoparia singalensis

SUBFAMILY

Nectariniinae

TAXONOMY

Motacilla singalensis Gmelin, 1788, Malacca. Eleven subspecies. OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Rubycheek; French: Souimanga a joues rubis; German: Rubinwangen-Nektarvogel; Spanish: Nectarina de Mejillas Rojas.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

4.5 in (11.5 cm); 0.29-0.32 oz (8.2-9.1 g). Differs from all other sunbirds by unique structure of its tongue, which is covered in a horny plate with deeply-notched tip. Green upper-parts with orange throat and yellow breast and belly.

DISTRIBUTION

C. s. assamensis: East Nepal to Bangladesh, northern Myanmar, northern Thailand, and western and southern Yunnan; C. s. bantenensis: western Java; C. s. borneana: Borneo; C. s. internota: southern Myanmar and southern Thailand; C. s. interposita: southern Thailand; C. s. koratensis: eastern Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam; C. s. pallida: north Natuna Islands; C. s. panopsia: islands off west coast of Sumatra; C. s. phoenicotis: eastern and central Java; C. s. singalensis: Malay Peninsula; C. s. sumatrana: Sumatra and Belitung.

HABITAT

Forests, scrub, clearings, mangroves, coasts, and well-vegetated riverbanks and gardens.

BEHAVIOR

Active, tit-like behavior. Sometimes forages in small flocks. FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Feeds on nectar, fruits, pollen, and insects, which it may take from spider webs.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Male sings shrill song from perch on tall tree or low bush to defend territory, jerking tail as it does so, and feeds female during courtship. Lays two eggs in pear-shaped nest, January through August.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened. Common in most of range but rare in Nepal and Bhutan.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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