Bird Families

Purple-breasted Sunbird / Cinnyris pembae

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Family rich in species sunbirds (Nectariniidae) encompasses 104 species of brightly and usually variegatedly colored birds, closely related to honey plants. These two groups differ from each other in the form of language. In sunbirds, the tongue is long, narrow, divided in the middle by a groove, along which it folds into a tube, which, like in hummingbirds, serves to suck out nectar. The edges of the beak, closer to its apex, have small notches. One by one or in groups, nectaries move nimbly in the crowns of trees and bushes, where they collect insects, spiders, and most importantly the nectar of flowers. Unlike hummingbirds, they sit on a branch next to a flower during feeding. To get to the nectar, they pierce the side of the flower's corolla with a sharp beak. Sexual dimorphism is pronounced - the female is dimmer. The arrangement of a loose, purse-like nest made of various soft materials is, in all likelihood, occupied by one female. The nest is usually placed at the end of a branch; the entrance to it is covered with a small canopy. About half of the species of sunbirds live in Africa, the rest are common in India, the Philippines, the Sunda Islands and Northern Australia.

Ceylon Sunbird (Cinnyris zeylonicus) from Western India, is only 10 cm long, in the male the upper body, head and neck are blue with a metallic sheen, the bottom is yellow. If sunbirds are characteristic mainly for Africa, then most of the 160 described species honey suckers (Meliphagidae) bring the forests of Australia to life. They are also found in New Zealand, the Sunda Islands, the Philippines and the islands of the South Pacific Ocean. By the way of feeding, they are similar to sunbirds, which is associated with a similar device of the beak and tongue. These small birds, of which only the largest reach the size of a jay, have a long, subulate beak, often somewhat curved. The tongue is shorter than that of the sunbirds, and is bifurcated at the end. When the nectar is sucked in, it also folds into a thin tube. In addition, there is a brush at the end of the tongue to aid in the collection of pollen and small insects. There are many recognized singers among honey suckers. One of the smallest species - Myzomela cardinalis - lives in Micronesia, the Samoa archipelago, the Solomon Islands and the New Hebrides. The male is colored red and black.

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