Palestine sunbird

The tiny hovering jewel of house gardens

Charles J. Sharp

The Palestine Sunbird, also known as the Orange-tufted Sunbird, is a delightful avian species native to the Middle East and parts of sub-Saharan Africa. This small bird is a local breeding resident, commonly found in a variety of habitats, including gardens, orchards, dry woodlands, and vegetated wadis. Its presence adds a splash of color and vibrancy to these landscapes, making it a cherished sight among birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike.

Male Palestine Sunbirds are adorned with brilliant glossy metallic blue-green plumage, which shimmers in the sunlight and adds to their charm. They also sport striking orange-red tufts on their pectoral region, further enhancing their visual appeal. In contrast, females exhibit a duller grey-brown coloration with a bluish-green rump, allowing them to blend in seamlessly with their surroundings and providing camouflage while nesting.

One of the most remarkable adaptations of the Palestine Sunbird is its long, down-curved bill, specially designed for sipping nectar from flowers. This unique feature allows them to access the sugary reward hidden within the blooms, making them important pollinators in their ecosystems. However, their diet is not limited to nectar alone; they also consume a variety of other food items, including fruit, seeds, insects, and spiders, showcasing their versatility as omnivorous feeders.

During the breeding season, females take on the responsibility of constructing purse-shaped nests suspended from branches. These nests are meticulously crafted using spiderwebs, twigs, grass, and leaves, providing a secure haven for their eggs and nestlings. Interestingly, males do not contribute to nest-building or incubation; instead, they focus on defending their territory and displaying their vibrant plumage to attract mates.

The Palestine Sunbird is also known for its vocalizations, which include high-pitched metallic notes and occasional mimicry of other bird species. These calls serve various purposes, including communication between individuals, territorial defense, and courtship displays.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Cameroon
2016
Central Af. Rep.
2016
DR Congo (Kinshasa)
2016
Egypt
2016
Israel
2016
Jordan
2016
Lebanon
2016
Oman
2016
Saudi Arabia
2016
South Sudan
2016
Sudan
2016
Syria
2016
Uganda
2016
Yemen
2016

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No