Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Purple-rumped Sunbird

The Purple-rumped Sunbird (Leptocoma zeylonica) is endemic to the Indian subcontinent . Like other Sunbirds, it is small in size and feeds on nectar and the occasional insect.  More images and info inside.

These birds are around 10cm in length and have a curved bill of medium length.  They also have brush tipped tubular tongues. The males, shown in the first image, have a dark brown upper side with a blue-green crown. The crown is clearly visible at certain angles when the sun catches it. The violet patches on the throat and the rump are only visible in good light. Both the blue-green crown and the violet patches on the throat are visible in the image below. The female has a white throat and a yellowish breast.

These birds common and can be found in most gardens, even in major cities. These images were shot in a garden in the heart of Colombo. These birds are found in varying habitats ranging from scrub to habitats with trees and even cultivated areas. It is usually not found in dense forests.   

The Purple-rumped Sunbird breeds throughout the year and may have two broods. The nest is made up of fine plant fibres and cobwebs. The exterior of the nest is decorated with pieces of bark and lichens. The nest is generally built on the end of a branch and is elaborate and pear shaped. The nests also have a distinctive entrance roof above the entry hole. A clutch consists of about two eggs which are oval in shape and are pale green and white with spots and streaks. Chicks fledge in about 17 days. Other females and possibly the young from the previous brood help the parents feed the young.

Since the birds tend to perch when feeding on nectar from flowers, they pollinate many plant species. They do not hover as much as the Loten's sunbird. They are said to maintain special scratching posts which they use to get rid of pollen and nectar stuck to their heads. 


These shots were taken with a Canon 7D with the 100-400mm lens mounted on it. I used an ISO of around 400 in order to control the noise and use a fast shutter speed. I was fortunate to be able to approach these birds and shoot in fairly close proximity. As a result, the images on this post were only very slightly cropped.


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