Amethyst Sunbird

Nectarinia amethystina
Chalcomitra amethystina

Amethyst Sunbird, Nectarinia amethystina, photo © by Michael Plagens.

The female Amethyst Sunbird is much duller and more cryptic than the male. Nairobi, Kenya. March 2013. Visiting a flower of the Sausage Tree.

Kenya has 33 species of sunbirds many of which can be difficult to identify due to color variations and the fact that the iridescent feathers take on different shades depending on the direction of light relative to the observer. Although the males are brightly colored the females tend to be drab and colored so as to enable crypsis. The female Amethyst has very conspicuous streaking on the breast with a pale yellow ground color.

Nectariniidae -- Sunbird Family


  • Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania by Zimmerman et al.
  • Birds of East Africa by Stevenson and Fanshawe

More Information:

Kenya Natural History

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 16 July 2013,
updated 9 Sept. 2015