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Cinnyris chalybeus (Southern double-collared sunbird, Lesser double-collared sunbird) .

[= Nectarinia chalybea

Klein-rooibandsuikerbekkie [Afrikaans]; Ingcungcu (generic term for sunbird) [Xhosa]; iNcuncu (also applied to Greater double-collared sunbird) [Zulu]; Kleine kraaghoningzuiger [Dutch]; Souimanga chalybée [French]; Halsband-nektarvogel [German]; Beija-flor-de-banda-fina [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 chalybeus (Southern double-collared sunbird, Lesser double-collared sunbird) . Cinnyris chalybeus (Southern double-collared sunbird, Lesser double-collared sunbird) .
Southern double-collared sunbird male, Bot River, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©] Southern double-collared sunbird female, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]
Cinnyris chalybeus (Southern double-collared sunbird, Lesser double-collared sunbird)  Cinnyris chalybeus (Southern double-collared sunbird, Lesser double-collared sunbird) 
Southern double-collared sunbird, Tsitsikamma Nature Reserve, Western Cape, South Africa. [photo Duncan Robertson ©] Southern double-collared sunbird female on Leucaspermum cordifolium. [photo Jeff Poklen ©]

Distribution and habitat

Endemic to southern Africa, occurring from the far south of Namibia to South Africa, with the bulk of its population centered around the Western Cape extending east and north to KwaZulu-Natal, Swaziland, Mpumalanga and Limpopo Province. It generally prefers fynbos and Karoo shrubland, woodland, Afromontane forest, gardens and Eucalyptus plantations.

Distribution of Southern double-collared 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

The following animals have been recorded to feed on the eggs and nestlings of the Southern double-collared sunbird:


It mainly feeds on nectar, supplemented with athropods, gleaning prey from vegetation and spider webs and hawking insects aerially. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Nectar
    • Aloe
    • Cadaba aphylla (Leafless wormbush)
    • Calliandra (powder-puffs)
    • Gladiolus
    • Antholyza
    • Canna
    • Cotyledon orbiculare (Pig's ear)
    • Erica
    • Erythrina (coral-trees)
    • Halleria lucida (Tree-fuchsia)
    • Lachenalia (wild hyacinths)
    • Microloma sagittatum (Bokhorings)
    • Leucospermum (pincushions)
    • Lobostemon fruticosus (Agdaegeneesbos)
    • Leonotis (wild dagga)
    • Lycium (honey-thorns)
    • Phygelius capensis (Wild fuchsia)
    • Protea
    • Salvia
    • Schotia afra (Karoo boer-bean)
    • Tecoma capensis (Cape honeysuckle)
    • Virgilia (keurbooms)
    • Satyrium odorum (orchid)
    • alien plants
      • Callistemon viminalis (Weeping bottlebrush)
      • Eucalyptus
      • Lantana camara (Cherry-pie)
      • Nicotiana glauca (Wild tobacco)
  • Arthropods


  • The nest is built solely by the female in about 25-30 days, consisting of an oval-shaped structure with a side entrance, built of grass, strands of Old man's beard (Galium tomentosum), rootlets and twigs strongly secured together with spider web. There are exceptions though, as some nests (especially in forests) can be constructed entirely out of old-man's-beard (Usnea barbata). It often decorates it with the fluffy seeds of Karoo rosemaries (Eriocephalus) rarely along with bits of plastic, paper, string or spider cocoons, while the interior is usually lined with wool, plant down, feathers, fine bark shreds and soft grass seeds. It is typically attached to a branch or incorporated into the foliage of a bush or tree, occasionally in a mass of thorns or in a tent caterpillar nest.
  • Egg-laying season is almost year-round, peaking from July-September.
  • It lays 1-3 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female for about 13-16 days.
  • The chicks are fed by both adults, leaving the nest after about 15-19 days, after which they continue to roost in the nest for about a week. The parents feed them until they are about 42-46 days old, at which point the young become fully independent.


Not threatened, in fact it has adapted well to the introduction of man-made habitats such as gardens and plantations.


  • 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.