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the web of life in southern Africa

Nectarinia kilimensis (Bronzy sunbird, Bronze Sunbird) 

Bronssuikerbekkie [Afrikaans]; Bronshoningzuiger [Dutch]; Souimanga bronzé [French]; Bronzenektarvogel [German]; Beija-flor-bronzeado [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

Nectarinia kilimensis (Bronzy sunbird, Bronze Sunbird)  Nectarinia kilimensis (Bronzy sunbird, Bronze Sunbird) 
Bronzy sunbird male, Tanzania. [photo Martin Goodey ©] Bronzy sunbird female, Tanzania. [photo Martin Goodey ©]

Distribution and habitat

Occurs in small patches from eastern DRC, Uganda and Kenya through Tanzania and Malawi to southern Africa. Here it is uncommon to locally common in Zimbabwe's eastern highlands and adjacent Mozambique, generally preferring edges of Afromontane forest, mountainsides with dense scrub and gardens.

Distribution of Bronzy 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).

Predators and parasites

It has been recorded as host of the following parasites:

  • Leucocytozoan nectariniae (sporozoan parasite)
  • Ptilonyssus cinnyris (feather mite)
  • microfilariae


It eats nectar and arthropods, gleaning prey from vegetation and hawking insects aerially, although it was once recorded to forage in an occupied classroom! The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Nectar
    • Aloe
    • Crotalaria (rattle-pods)
    • Erythrina (coral-trees)
    • Faurea rochetiana (Broad-leaved beechwood)
    • Halleria lucida (Tree-fuchsia)
    • Kigelia africana (Sausage-tree)
    • Kniphofia (torch-lilies)
    • Lobelia
    • Protea
    • Loranthaceae (mistletoes)
    • Syzygium
      • S. cordatum
      • S. guineense
    • Leonotis (wild daggas)
    • Tecoma capensis (Cape-honeysuckle)
    • Fuchsia
  • Arthropods


  • The nest is built solely by the female in about 5-15 days, consisting of a oval-shaped structure built of ferns, bits of dry grass, shreds of bark, bracken, leaves, lichen and inflorescences, secured with spider web. The entrance is positioned on the side covered by a small flap, while the interior is lined with fine grass inflorescences and plant down. It is typically attached at the roof to a branch within a thicket, clump of bushes or of a sapling, often on the border of Afromontane forest overlooking marshy ground or a stream.
  • Egg-laying season is from September-May, peaking from October-December.
  • It lays 1-2 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female for about 13-15 days.
  • The chicks are fed and brooded mainly by the female, leaving the nest after about 16-21 days. As fledglings they continue to return to the nest for about a week longer, becoming fully independent about 2-3 weeks later.


Not threatened, in fact it has benefited from the introduction of Protea farming and gardens to Zimbabwe.


  • 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.