• Wildcreatures

Aethopyga christinae


These pictures were taken just the other day on the 30th November, at Kadoorie Farm, and they are of The Fork tailed sunbird.

The first picture is the resplendent male, in his fine coat of yellow, with a red throat, and emerald scales shielding his head. The next picture is the very pretty female, mainly yellow with streaks of black, but also with that long beak, like a hummingbird.

They are tiny (and quite a challenge to photograph), only the size of a small flower, and they flit constantly about, only settling for moments at a time.

The adult male fork-tailed sunbird, Aethopyga christinae, is a wonderfully colourful character that I often see zipping around in bushes and trees, on flowers, foraging on nectar.

They can do this as they have a special brush-tipped tubular tongue that they use to absorb nectar in flowers, which is similar to the tubular tongue of the hummingbirds. To help with this these lovely sunbirds have a sharp decurved bill for foraging from flowers with deep nectaries.

These little birds have also been known to feed on insects and spiders, especially when

rearing young.

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