a field guide to the planet - by Damon Ramsey
The stunning sunbirds of the tropical Asian jungles...
Dicaeum trigonostigma, 'Orange-bellied Flowerpecker', (Baan Maka Lodge, Thailand)
Sunbirds are one of the most beautiful groups of birds in the world (and I think my own favourite).
They have evolved to feed mainly on nectar from flowers, using their long curved bills.
Some species are quite common on the forest edge and in gardens throughout tropical Asia, and can thus be easily seen and photographed.
Aethopyga siparaja, 'Crimson Sunbird' (Nature Lodge, Cambodia). Found in rainforest and edge, including gardens, throughout tropical Asia, from Himalayas to Java.
Aethopyga temminckii, 'Temminck's Sunbird', (Kota Kinabalu National Park, Malaysia). Found in montane rainforest in Malaysia and Indonesia. Looks similar to Crimson Sunbird, except this species has a red tail.
Aethopyga saturata, 'Black-throated Sunbird' (Bhutan). Found in the hill rainforests of northern India and south-east Asian mainland.
Cinnyris lotenius, 'Loten's Sunbird' (Kithugala, Sri Lanka).
Leptocoma zeylonica, 'Purple-rumped Sunbird', (Sinharaja, Sri Lanka). Endemic to Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh.
Spiderhunters are a distinct group of larger sunbirds. They feed on nectar from long -tubed flowers with their long strong bill, but have also been recorded as nectar thieves, piercing the side of the flower. As suggested by their common name, they also hunt spiders, plucking them from their web while they hover.
Arachnothera longirostra, 'Streaked Spiderhunter', (Seima, Cambodia).
Arachnothera longirostra, 'Little Spiderhunter' (Our Jungle House Lodge, Thailand).
Leptocoma sperata, 'Purple-throated Sunbird' (Bohol, Philippines).
Thinking of travelling again after everything settles down? The first expedition I am booked to work on after the virus is Micronesia, New Guinea & Indonesia in 2021 with Silversea. Meanwhile I am giving a lecture on the Sunshine Coast (Australia) on the "Sounds of suburban south-east Queensland"