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2011-09-11
Aves bird of the week - Cape Sugarbird - Promerops cafer


The Cape Sugarbird - Promerops cafer, is endemic to the Cape Floral Kingdom of the Western Cape and the western regions of the Eastern Cape, South Africa.

It is a grey-brown bird that is easily recognizable by a black long curved bill, the very long tail of the male, pronounced moustachial streak, a pale rufous breast and a yellow vent.

The call is a series of jumbled metallic , grating and churring notes. Another characteristic of the Cape Sugarbird is the sound it makes when it flies. The main flight feathers are arranged in such a way that when the bird beats its wings, a frrt-frrt sound is made with the intention of attracting females.

The Cape Sugarbird is a specialist nectar feeder, feeding mainly on nectar, making it a major pollinator. They can visit around 300 flowers per day. It also hawks insects aerially and feeds on Spiders and other insects. They are highly dependent on Protea's for nectar and nesting sites.

The breeding season is from March to August, coinciding with flowering Proteas. It is a monogamous solitary nester, the male vigorously defends his territory against other males. The cup shaped nest is built solely by the female in about 5 to10 days. It is typically placed in the foliage of a bush, especially Protea. The female lays 1to 2 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female for between 12 to20 days. The young chicks are brooded solely by the female but fed by both adults on a diet of nectar, although once they get older they are fed more insects. They leave the nest after about 18 days, but remain dependent on their parents for food for another 18 days.

Conservation Status – Least Concern

These beautiful birds can be seen on the following Aves Birding Tours/Safaris/Adventures: -

Aves Western Cape Birding Tour/Safari/Adventure.

Aves West Coast Birding Tour/Safari/Adventure.

Aves Overberg Overnight Birding Tour/Safari/Adventure.

Aves West Coast Overnight Birding Tour/Safari/Adventure.

Aves Western Cape Day Tours.

 

 


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