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  • Aditya Singh

Purple Sunbird

Have you ever wondered how a tiny bird is supposed to live in a-not-so-friendly world full of predators like black kites, sparrowhawks, crows, mynas and not to forget cats and humans?

In this post, I will be sharing with you how it does so.


About:

The male is entirely beautiful glossy blue except for the wings and the belly and has black legs (Picture above). He also has golden lined underwings.

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The male taking off


The female is greyish brown above and has a pale underside. She also has pale eyebrows and black eye stripes. Both of them have a long, curved beak.

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Young Lady


The juvenile male looks like his mom but has a long, black stripe running down his underside.

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Juvenile Male


The baby girl has a yellower underside.


Behavior:

They feed mostly on nectar and spend their time hopping from flower to flower.

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Feeding on nectar


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Feeding…with a beak like that, who needs a straw?



I once saw a nest hanging from an unused electric wire and it had chicks inside. It looked like a rag hanging on the wire – barely noticeable as a nest. It was there in the open for all to see and yet it remained unnoticed because no one, not even the house owners could guess that there was a nest nearby. The bird was, perhaps, smart enough not to make the nest on a nearby clothes-line that was actually being used to hang clothes.

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The nest on an unused electrical wire. From the size of the bird, one can guess the size of the nest. Perhaps, that's why no one noticed it.


To avoid being seen, the parents visited only very briefly to feed the chicks and left after ensuring that the coast was clear.


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The nest – close up.


Threats:

This bird feeds primarily on nectar and while doing so they pollinate the flowers. So flowering trees and bushes are a must for them. I wish people were more sensitive because in our northern plains and hills in winter, tree branches and bushes are chopped off to be used as firewood and to allow more sunlight to reach the ground for warmth.

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