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Anthreptes reichenowi (Plain-backed sunbird, Bluethroated sunbird) 

Bloukeelsuikerbekkie [Afrikaans]; Blauwkeel-honingzuiger [Dutch]; Souimanga de Reichenow [French]; Blaukehl-nektarvogel [German]; Beija-flor-de-garganta-azul [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Passeriformes > Family: Nectariniidae

Anthreptes reichenowi (Plain-backed sunbird, Bluethroated sunbird)  

Plain-backed sunbird male, Arabuko-Sokoke forest, Kenya. [photo Steve Garvie ]


Distribution and habitat

Occurs along the eastern coastal lowlands of south-central Africa, from southern Kenya and eastern Tanzania through to parts of southern and central Mozambique, rarely recorded in eastern Zimbabwe, Limpopo Province and Swaziland. It generally prefers moist evergreen forest, mangroves, miombo (Brachystegia) woodland, tall sand forest and stands of Lebombo ironwood (Androstachys johnsonii) trees.

Distribution of Plain-backed sunbird in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project ( Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  


It mainly eats arthropods supplemented with nectar, gleaning prey from leaves and often aerially hawking insects from vegetation. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Arthropods
  • Nectar
    • Albizia (albizias)
    • Diospyros (jackal-berries)
    • Mimusops (red milkwoods)
    • Tapiunthus (mistletoe)
    • Kigelia africana (Sausage-tree)


  • The nest is an oval-shaped structure built of shredded dry grass, twigs, bark, leaves and lichen bound with spider web, with a side entrance covered by a hood of grass stems. It is typically suspended from a side branch of a liana extending across open forest.
  • Egg-laying season is from June-November.
  • It lays 1-3 white eggs, speckled with dull reddish brown.


Near-threatened globally and Threatened in southern Mozambique, largely due to deforestation of indigenous forest.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.