Thursday 20 August 2020

Cynniris afer (South Africa, 1973)

This adorable little thing has a story to tell: according to the stamp, it’s part of the Nectarinia genus, but further research has seen that genus split into eight, so now this wee bird is part of the Cynniris clan. Its other name, which is much grander, is the greater double-collared sunbird. They live in South Africa and is common in gardens, forest edges, coastal scrub and fynbos (a sort of shrubland or heathland in southern Africa).

This picture doesn’t quite capture the lustre of the bird in question: the green feathers of the head and throat are almost metallic as is the thin blue band across its chest. My first instinct was that it would behave like a hummingbird and hover to gather nectar with its long bill – whilst it does that some of the time, it’s more likely to perch on the edge of a plant or branch to get what it is after.

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