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Cyanomitra veroxii (Grey sunbird, Mouse-coloured sunbird) 

[= Nectarinia veroxii

Gryssuikerbekkie [Afrikaans]; Grijze honingzuiger [Dutch]; Souimanga murin [French]; Graunektarvogel [German]; Beija-flor-cinzento [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

Cyanomitra veroxii (Grey sunbird, Mouse-coloured sunbird)  

Grey sunbird. [photo Rudy Böhmer ©]


Distribution and habitat

Occurs along the eastern coastline of sub-Saharan Africa, from Somalia through Kenya and Tanzania to southern Africa. Here it is locally common down the coast from eastern Mozambique to KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, generally preferring coastal evergreen forest, well-developed valley bushveld and patches of Afromontane forest further inland.

Distribution of Grey 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.  

Brood parasites

It has been recorded as host of the Klaas's cuckoo.

Movements and migrations

Nomadic and partially migratory, as it is thought that it migrates from the Eastern Cape to KwaZulu-Natal in Winter.


It mainly eats nectar, foraging throughout the day and also eating termites and other small arthropods. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Nectar
    • Schotia brachypetala (Weeping boer-bean)
    • Schotia afra (Karoo boer-bean)
    • Erythrina caffra (Coastal coral-tree)
    • Tecoma capensis (Cape honeysuckle)
    • Aloe arborescens (Krantz aloe)
    • Strelitzia
  • Arthropods


  • The nest is a peculiar oval-shaped structure with a side entrance covered by a large flap, often with a long tail of material protruding from its base. It is usually built of fine, hair-like fibres such as Marasmius fungus, camouflaged with a thick layer of dead leaves and leaf petioles and lined with dry grass. It is typically suspended at the roof by a long strand of material to a twig or creeper overlooking a small forest clearing, path or road, or occasionally from roots on the side of an erosion gullly and even in little-used buildings.
  • It lays 1-4, usually 2-3 chocolate brown eggs, usually in the period from September-January.


Not threatened, although extensive destruction of forests in southern Mozambique and KwaZulu-Natal is definitely cause for concern.


  • 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.