Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.


common name for tropical, Old World birds, including more than one hundred species in the family Nectariniidae. Like the unrelated New World hummingbirds, to which sunbirds are often compared, sunbirds have long and slender, highly curved bills, tube-shaped tongues, and feed primarily on nectar and small insects. However, they perch when feeding rather than hovering as the hummingbirds do. They are typically small birds, with the largest, the great sunbird (Dreptes thomensis) reaching a maximum length of 8 1-2 in. (22 cm), and are native to forest and brush throughout Africa, Asia, and the South Pacific. Some common species are the variable sunbird (Cinnyris venustus), the purple sunbird (Nectarinia asiatica), and the golden-winged sunbird (N. reichenowi). The males of most species are brightly colored, with metallic, sometimes velvety, plumage. Out of breeding season, the males tend to take on the duller female plumage. Sunbirds may change their feeding grounds during the nonbreeding season but are not particularly migratory. They are not very gregarious, and males tend to be aggressive, especially during breeding season. Sunbirds build a characteristic purselike, hanging nest, into which the female deposits her two, rarely three, white or pale blue, variously spotted or striped eggs. Two unrelated Madagascan species in the genus Neodrepenis are known as false sunbirds, and are easily confused with the sunbirds, which they resemble in habits, habitat, diet, and somewhat in appearance. They are, however, slenderer and shorter-legged, with more markedly down-curved bills. The related spider hunters, of the genus Arachnothera, are members of the true sunbird family and are found in Asia. They lack the metallic coloration of their sunbird relatives, and the sexes are more alike, both being dull greens, browns, or yellows. Spider hunters (e.g., the little spider hunter, A. longirostris) feed largely on insects and spiders. Their singular cup-shaped nest is built on the bottom of a broad leaf and attached firmly by cobwebs and plant fibers, which the bird sews and knots together. Both sexes build the nest and share incubation of the two to three eggs laid per clutch. Sunbirds and their relatives are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
..... Click the link for more information.
, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Passeriformes, family Nectariniidae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Bronson Strickland of Mississippi State University and see where deer researchers stand on this sunbird idea I'm revisiting from 22 years ago.
Among these varieties, Kenya Wren, Kenya Tai, Kenya Sunbird, Kenya Kingbird and Eagle are known to be moderately resistant to stem rust, which is a major wheat disease across East Africa.
California, May 23 -- Chatsworth Products (CPI), a leading provider of physical infrastructure and power management solutions for data centers, recently announced a global partnership with Sunbird Software, a leading innovator in software solutions that simplify how data centers are managed.
The Sunbird Aviation aircraft crashed into swamp just short of the Kiunga airport runway, killing all passengers and the Australian pilot, according to Australian Broadcasting Corp.
The aircraft, operated by Sunbird Aviation, was travelling back to Kiunga from the remote Oksapmin in the Star Mountains, an area accessible only by air or foot.
Standard Bank (SBJ.J) has announced that it has entered into a partnership with Hotel Stay, an international luxury programme offering customers preferential rates in all local Sunbird hotels and other international hotels, car hire firms and airport lounges.
The scope of the acquisition includes Raritan's intelligent power and KVM businesses, while its Data Center Infrastructure Management software business would spin off into Sunbird Software, a new company and strategic partner of Raritan to be chaired by Ching-I Hsu, CEO and founder of Raritan.
the Palestine sunbird, also known as the northern orange-tufted sunbird, was
David Brunett, 45, of 74 Franklin St.; Eugene Piacentini, 55, of 162 Chandler St.; Joshua Evans, 31, of 17 Sunbird Road, Spencer; Michael Coyne, 46, of 62 Harrington Farms Road, Shrewsbury; Robert Collins, 47, of 6 Palmieri Drive, Hudson; and Michelle Collins, 44, also of 6 Palmieri Drive, Hudson, were charged with conspiracy to violate drug laws.
My favourite stories in this collection are the (unnamed) story by Wilson, in which a black blob moves around a stately home, gaining in size and menace; 'Sunbird' by Neil himself in which a group of gastronomic adventurers bite off more than they can chew; 'The Compleat Werewolf' by Anthony Boucher, originally published in 1942 and still a powerful exploration of lycanthropy; and 'Come Lady Death' by Peter S.
For the new competition, the five-star Thai hotel has joined with the Patchi chocolate company and the Bradenton Prep Academy and American Academy in Dubai to invite any UAE residents aged 12 years and under to draw, colour or paint one of five selected Thai animals (the Asian Black Bear, Asian Elephant, Gibbon, Sunbird and Tiger) with the winning entries being used on the hotel's new children's chocolate range to be introduced across the hotel in the coming months.