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Cinnyris bifasciatus (Purple-banded sunbird) 

[= Nectarinia bifasciata

Purperbandsuikerbekkie [Afrikaans]; Kalyambya (generic term for sunbird) [Kwangali]; Dzonya, Tsodzo (both are generic names for sunbird) [Shona]; Purperband-honingzuiger [Dutch]; Souimanga bifasciť [French]; Kleiner bindennektarvogel [German]; Beija-flor-de-peito-roxo [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

Cinnyris bifasciatus (Purple-banded sunbird)  Cinnyris bifasciatus (Purple-banded sunbird) 

Purple-banded sunbird, Krantzkloof Nature Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal. [photo Hugh Chittenden ©]

Purple-banded sunbird, Ngwenya Resort, Mpumalanga, South Africa. [photo Alan Manson ©]

For information about this species, see www.birdforum.net/opus/Purple-banded_Sunbird

Distribution and habitat

Occurs in localised patches from southern Somalia through to Uganda, southern DRC, Zambia, Angola, Malawi and southern Africa. Here it is locally common from Mozambique to KwaZulu-Natal, but scarce further west in Zimbabwe, northern Botswana and the Caprivi Strip, Namibia. It generally prefers coastal bush habitats, such as mangroves and edges of lowland evergreen forest, further inland occupying riverine forest, thickets and occasionally well-wooded gardens. 

Distribution of Purple-banded 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.  

Predators and parasites

It has been recorded as host of the following blood parasites:

  • Leucocytozoon nectariniae
  • Trypanosoma


It mainly feeds on nectar supplemented with small arthropods, doing most of its foraging in the heat of the day, when the flowers are open. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Nectar
    • Loranthaceae (mistletoes)
    • Syzygium (waterberries)
    • Aloe
      • A. arborescens (Krantz aloe)
    • Leonotis (wild dagga)
    • Mimusops caffra (Coastal red-millkwood)
    • Eucalyptus
  • Arthropods


  • The nest is built solely by the female, consisting of a tidy, pear-shaped oval with a side entrance, built mainly of petioles and lichen bound with spider web, sometimes along with dry grass, plant fibres, leaves and fronds. A long tail of material hangs from the base of the structure, which is decorated with wood chips, lichen, caterpillar droppings and seeds, while the interior is lined with vegetable down and feathers. It is typically attached at the roof to a twig, creeper, small branch or bamboo, often overlooking water, a dry riverbed or roadway.
  • Egg-laying season is from August-March, peaking from September-October.
  • It lays 1-2, rarely 3 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female.
  • Little is known about the chicks, other than that they are fed by both parents.


Not threatened.


  • 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.