The Southern Double-Collared Sunbird is a captivatingly gorgeous bird native to southern Africa. Its exotic golden-green plumage, vibrant colors, and unique double collar make it one of the most striking sunbirds on the continent.
When sun shines on this sunbird’s iridescent feathers, colors of red, purple, violet and green appear. The majority of the upperparts are golden-green while the wings, tail, and underparts are a vibrant reddish-purple. The reddish-purple coloration is particularly intense on the chest and belly, while the inner underside of the tail is reddish.
One of the most distinctive features of this sunbird is its double collar – a thin line of black flanked by two white bands around the neck and upper breast region. The double collar gives this sunbird a regal appearance, making it look as if it is wearing a finely crafted necklace. The thin black bill helps frame the double collar and chest banding perfectly.
The Southern Double-collared Sunbird’s taxonomy is as fascinating as its appearance. It belongs to the Nectariniidae family, a large family of passerine birds mostly found in Africa and Asia. Within this family, it belongs to the Cinnyris genus which contains many of the spectacular multi-colored African sunbirds. The Cinnyris genus contains some 27 species, many of which also sport intricate collar patterns and vibrant coloration.
Female Southern Double-collared Sunbirds differ slightly in coloration from the males. While the females also have iridescent golden-green upperparts, reddish underparts and a double collar, their colors are slightly duller, particularly in the reddish underside coloration. The double collar of the females is also not as distinctively separated as in the males.
The sounds of the Southern Double-collared Sunbird are as beautiful as its appearance. It has a distinctly sweet warbling song that it gives frequently when perched prominently. Its song contains a rich mixture of high-pitched and varyingly pitched notes that descend and rise in a melodious fashion. Its calls include soft hisses and chips that it uses to communicate with other sunbirds.
The Southern Double-collared Sunbird lives up to its name as it spends most of its time actively sunning itself. It does so by perching prominently in the highest branches of trees and bushes and then expanding and contracting its plumage to allow the sun’s rays to shine on each feather. This sunning behavior allows the sunbird to show off its iridescent colors to maximum effect.
The Southern Double-collared Sunbird derives its nourishment primarily from nectar and insects. It possesses the thin tube-like bill that is characteristic of nectar feeding birds and uses it to probe deep into flower blossoms for nectar. It also feeds on insects and spiders that it picks from foliage. This mixed diet ensures this sunbird receives a balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats to power its high metabolic rate.
In summary, the Southern Double-collared Sunbird possesses an exquisite combination of iridescent colors, delicate double collaring, sweet songs and energetic sunning behavior that comes together to form one of the most beautifully crafted bird species in Africa. Its specialized adaptations for nectar and insect feeding also demonstrate the amazing design that has gone into creating this little ball of vibrancy, beauty and life.