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Aves bird of the Week – Orange-breasted Sunbird - Anthobaphes violacea


Orange-breasted Sunbird

The Orange-breasted Sunbird - Anthobaphes violacea - is endemic to the Fynbos habitat of Western Cape, South Africa. They generally prefer dense stands of Protea and Erica. It also occurs in coastal renosterveld and occasionally gardens.


The Male’s head, throat and mantle are bright metallic green. The rest of the upperparts are olive green. The upper breast is metallic violet and the lower breast is bright orange, fading to paler orange and yellow on the belly. The tail is long and blackish, with elongated central tail feathers, which extend some way, belong the other feathers.

The female has olive-greenish grey upperparts and olive yellowish underparts, paler on the belly. The wings and tail is blackish. The juvenile resembles the female.

The bill is long and decurved, that of the male being longer than that of the female. The bill, legs and feet are black. The eye is dark brown.


The call is a twangy, weak ssharaynk or sskrang, often repeated.


Food consists of nectar, insects and spiders.


Breeds from February to November. The nest is an oval of rootlets, fine leafy twigs and grass, bound together with spider webs and lined with brown protea fluff. It has a side top entrance, but does not have a covered porch. It is built by solely by the female in about 15 to 18 days. The female lays 1 to 2 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female for between 13 to 16 days. The chicks are fed by both parents, on a diet of mainly arthropods. They usually leave the nest at between 14 to 22 days, coming back to the nest to roost for 5-15 days longer.

Conservation Status – Least Concern

This species is not seriously threatened, although it may be adversely affected by urbanisation, habitat conversion to agriculture and the invasion of woody-stemmed alien plants into fynbos habitat.


Ask Aves Birding Tours/Safaris/Adventures to create a tour for you or book on one of the following Aves Birding Tour/Safaris/Adventures to see these magnificent sunbirds: -

Aves Western Cape Birding Tour / Safari / Adventure.

Aves West Coast Birding Tour / Safari / Adventure.





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