Woodland Whispers: Meet the Southern Double-collared Sunbird, Nature’s Little Beauty!

Just as the Americas are home to hummingbirds, the Old World boasts sunbirds, vibrant, colorful gems that sparkle in the sunlight. Males often sport extravagant hues, making identification a simple task, while females tend to prefer more subdued, challenging colors (my wife, a non-birdwatcher and proofreader, just suggested I change that last sentence, but you understand what I mean).

Appearance: The Southern Sunbird is approximately 12 cm long. The adult male displays a bright metallic green head, upper throat, chest and back. A vibrant red band runs across the chest, with a narrow metallic blue band separating it from the green chest. The rest of the lower parts appear whitish. During displays, tufts of yellow feathers can be seen on the shoulders. As is characteristic of other sunbirds, it has a long, curved beak. The beak, legs and feet are black, while the eyes appear dark brown.

2/8 Meet the Southern Double-collared Sunbird, nature's little beauty! – The Daily Worlds

The male can be distinguished from the nearby Greater Double-collared Sunbird by its smaller size, thinner red breast band, and shorter bill. In contrast, the female Southern Double-collared Sunbird sports brown upperparts and yellowish-gray underparts. The appearance of the juvenile is reminiscent of that of the female. In particular, the female exhibits a grayer tone on her underparts compared to the female Orange-breasted Sunbird and a darker tone than the female Dusky Sunbird.

3/8 Meet the Southern Double-collared Sunbird, nature's little beauty! – The Daily Worlds

Behavior: The Southern Double-collared Sunbird is usually seen singly or in small groups. Its flight is fast and direct, supported by short wings. It subsists primarily on flower nectar, but also consumes some fruit and, especially when feeding its young, includes insects and spiders in its diet. While it may collect nectar by hovering, similar to a hummingbird, it predominantly perches while feeding. Their call is a high-pitched “chi-chi” and their song consists of a high-pitched mixture of tinkling notes, fluctuating in pitch and tempo for 3 to 5 seconds or more.

4/8 Meet the Southern Double-collared Sunbird, nature's little beauty! – The Daily Worlds

Reproduction: Southern sunbirds establish their nests on forest edges and occasionally in gardens. The nest takes the form of a neat oval structure, usually placed 2 or 3 meters above the ground and firmly woven into the foliage. It has a well-developed canopy made of fine grass that extends over the entrance, with loose nesting materials often hanging from the underside. The laying months usually range from July to November and clutches usually consist of two eggs. These nests are often targeted by parasitic Klaas’s cuckoos. The incubation period lasts 15 to 16 days and is carried out only by the female. The breeding/incubation period also extends for 15 or 16 days.

5/8 Meet the Southern Double-collared Sunbird, nature's little beauty! – The Daily Worlds

Habitat: This sunbird is commonly found in a variety of habitats including gardens, fynbos, woodland and coastal bushland. The Southern Double-collared Sunbird breeds between April and December, and the timing varies by region. Their nest is usually a closed oval structure built with grass, lichens and other plant materials, held together with spider webs. It has a side entrance, sometimes with a porch, and is lined with wool, down and feathers.

6/8 Meet the Southern Double-collared Sunbird, nature's little beauty! – The Daily Worlds

It is a common epidemic that covers most of the eastern side of South Africa, including part of Swaziland but part of Lesotho. It is a common site in the Upper Highway area and is not at all threatened. Interesting Facts: Higher birds have different beak shapes and sizes that make them a more suitable species for a specific flower for ectar extraction. This is believed to be the result of coevolution, a process by which two species undergo reciprocal genetic changes and develop traits to help each other.

7/8 Meet the Southern Double-collared Sunbird, nature's little beauty! – The Daily Worlds

When my son was young, an extraordinary bird built his pest along a path near a wooded section of our yard. I had a slightly older friend come over to play and I thought it would be educational to show them the game before I left for work. Strict instructions were given to the task of playing them. You can imagine my horror when I came home from work and saw the pest in a box on the dipping room table, with the two little ones playing with the chicks. I was able to replace the latch about 1m from its original position. The adults cooperated to feed the chicks, which were worn out and finally fledged.

8/8 Meet the Southern Double-collared Sunbird, nature's little beauty! – The Daily Worlds

I was able to replace the latch about 1m from its original position. The adults cooperated to feed the chicks, which were worn out and finally fledged.

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