Uganda’s equatorial location & abundance of fresh water provides it a sheer density of wildlife that can make your head spin. There are (well) over 1000 bird species confirmed in the country alone. And what birds! Some of them look like actual runway models. We have already met the Collard, Malachite & Palestine sunbirds, today we meet the Variable Sunbird (or Cinnyris venustus).
Birds of Fashion
Sunbirds are wee birds similar to hummingbirds & honeyeaters. They are tiny nectar eaters often with bright iridescent plumage, that can fly quickly & hover when feeding. Although similar they are not related, they simply share a similar diet. Like most sunbirds, the males & females are very different physically (female sunbirds all seem to look a lot alike). During breeding season the Variable Sunbird male’s plumage is brilliantly iridescent, green/blue, maroon & yellow. Females are a soft grey-brown with pastel yellow underside.
We were unable to find much specifically about the Variable Sunbird, so this information is about sunbirds generally. Both partners help to build their distinct nest & feed the young, but females do most of the incubating. They can also be aggressive & territorial during breeding season, but are generally quite gregarious the rest of the year.
Like hummingbirds, sunbirds generally feed mainly on nectar. Although they do supplement with insects, especially when feeding young. The Variable Sunbird is commonly breeds across most of equatorial Africa.
We are excited to embark on this fun new series of posts & can’t wait to share more about the amazing bird species that make up the diverse wildlife of Uganda. Stay tuned for more to come & in the meantime, perhaps you should come visit Uganda & meet some of them for yourself!