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Photo Information
Copyright: Phil Cannings (PhilC) Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 24 W: 25 N: 117] (551)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-02-28
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 1Ds, 100-400L is
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/200 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2006-10-23 5:06
Viewed: 4697
Points: 10
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
The easy part is to say that this is a Sunbird - but as it is a female that is where the difficulty starts. From the habitat, description and behaviour I belive it is an adult female Scarlet-Chested Sunbird - Nectarina senagalensis lamperti - and is one of about 25 species of Nectarina Sunbirds which occur across Kenya and Northern Tanzania hence the id challenge.

It is very similar to female Hunters Sunbird, but this lacks the traces of white on the alula and doesn't occur much above 1000m - Naivasha is situated at approx 2000m ASL. Scarlet Sunbird occurs between 1,200 and 2,500 m ASL so better fits where this bird was photographed.

It is a bird of wooded savannah and semi arid thorn scrub although it will also frequent farmland, plantations and gardens within its range. This bird was photographed within the grounds of a agricultural training centre and was on flowering bushes around the accomodation blocks.

Although superficially similar to a humming bird in many of its looks it feeds on insects as well as nectar and will take ants, beetles, crickets, flies, leafhoppers, termites, caterpillars and spiders.

It feeds essentially by hopping through bushes and trees 'gleaning' food and insects as it goes, but it can hover and will perch hunt by sallying out to catch insects on the wing. It will feed on nectar often Hibiscus and Kigelia and will often hang upside down when feeding on these plants.

In the breeding season these birds are encountered singly or in pairs, but in the dry season they will commonly form flocks of up to 20 birds and roam in search of food.

Their nests are fascinating being made of spiders webs interwoven with dried bark, leaves gossamer and grass and decorated with brown leaf skeletons, grass, leaves, wool, feathers and paper including scraps of newspaper. They are dome shaped and have a porch of dried grass covering the entrance. The birds are very industrious as they build their nest in about 3-4 days, and it is a quite substantial structure.

This photograph was with the 100-400mm lense, hand held at 400mm and with the ISO set at 200 to try to improve shutter speed. It is one of only a couple of decent pictures I managed of Sunbirds during a three week visit because of their skulking habits and how quickly they moved.

The picture has been cropped slightly, resized for TN and the bird sharpened slightly.

Regards - Phil

LordPotty, pvs, Argus, fthsm has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To Argus: IDPhilC 1 10-23 13:30
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Critiques [Translate]

Fascinating little creature,and a great capture of it Phil.
Very clear,good composition and light.
Excellent note too.
Good work.

  • Great 
  • pvs Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1127 W: 254 N: 3161] (14464)
  • [2006-10-23 7:35]

Hi Phil,

I cannot remember I saw one posting this bird before,you captured this sunbird with good sharpness,details and colors,well done and thanks for the interesting note,


Hi Phil..
Good detail in plumage.
Didn't know it is a sunbird let alone the gender:-).

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2006-10-23 12:31]
  • [+]

Hello Phil,
Yes, some sunbird females are difficult to ID. But as I have seen this sp. in Gambia I can confirm your ID.
Sharp, well composed and presented more than well enough for a definite ID.
TFS, regards, Ivan

  • Great 
  • fthsm Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 172 W: 56 N: 512] (3689)
  • [2006-10-23 21:13]

Very interesting species just like other Sunbirds. Nice composed, sharpness and beatiful photo.

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