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Cinnyris neergaardi (Neergaard's sunbird) 

[= Nectarinia neergaardi

Bloukruissuikerbekkie [Afrikaans]; Neergaard-honingzuiger [Dutch]; Souimanga de Neergaard [French]; Neergaards nektarvogel [German]; Beija-flor de Neergaard [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

Distribution and habitat

Endemic to southern Africa, where it is generally uncommon in south-eastern Mozambique, with a localised population in the far south of the country marginally extending into KwaZulu-Natal. In inland areas it generally prefers mixed, Acacia and the undergrowth of miombo (Brachystegia) woodland along streams, while its southernmost population is most common in coastal sand forest.

Distribution of Neergaard's 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 feeds on the nectar of trees, creepers, epiphytes and mistletoes but in summer, when nectar is scarce, it may supplement its diet with arthropods and juice sucked from fruit. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Plants
    • nectar
      • Cadaba natalensis (Green-leaved wormbush)
      • Rhoicissus digitata (Baboon grape)
      • mistletoes
        • Plicocepalus kalachariensis
        • Tieghemia bolusii (Elm mistletoe)
      • Capparis sepiara (Hedge caper-bush)
      • Capparis tomentosa (Woolly caper-bush)
      • Stropanthus gerrardii (Spider flower poison-rope)
      • Acacia xanthophloea (Fever-tree acacia)
      • Aloe
      • Schotia capitata (Dwarf boer-bean)
      • Mimusops obovata (Bush milkwood)
      • Syzygium cordatum (Waterberry)
    • juice sucked from fruit
      • Rhipsalis baccifera (Mistletoe cactus)
  • Invertebrates
    • insects
    • spiders
    • hard-shelled snails (Trachycystis ariel)


  • The nest is built by the female, consisting of an oval-shaped structure with a side entrance concealed by a hanging flap of material. In sand forest it is often built of old-man's-beard lichen (Usnea) and lined with seed pods of Spider flower poison-rope (Stropanthus gerrardii), but in other areas it can be made of tendrils, bark and leaves bound with spider web. It is typically placed in a tree about 4-6 metres above ground, often concealed by a dense clump of old-man's beard lichen or the hanging roots of an orchid.
  • It lays about 2 creamy white eggs speckled with brown, grey and mauve, usually in the period from September-January
  • The chicks are fed by both parents but mainly the female, on a diet of arthropods and snails.


Near-threatened largely due to forest destruction, which has caused its range to contract; it at least has a few reasonably sized populations in protected areas.


  • 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.