A twitter of sunbirds

A sudden fountain of birdsong from outside drew us onto the patio.

These two little fellows (both male) were duelling by song for the territorial right to the patio flowers and their nectar. They are the same Olive-Backed or Yellow Bellied Sunbirds who built a nest beside my front door. OK, maybe not the identical birds, but the same species… They’re sitting on a fallen Queen palm seed-branch, detached from the tree by the cyclone and sent crashing through one of my young frangipani trees. It’s about 120cm or 48 inches long, so quite a substantial bit of real estate for such small birds. Their song is very high-pitched melodic twittering, a lovely sound. The bird on the right won, but sadly, even our very minimal movements and hushed talk was too scary, and he zipped away after a tiny snack on the bright pink Petris blossoms.

Click on the photo to enlarge and zoom in for a really good look. Aren’t they handsomely dressed?

26 thoughts on “A twitter of sunbirds

  1. Catherine says:

    So wonderful to have such beautiful birds on your doorstep!

    • katechiconi says:

      Aren’t they lovely? They’re *almost* small enough to be hummingbirds, and they do a pretty good job of their near-hover in front of flowers to sip the nectar.

  2. Lovely birds. I always laugh a little to myself when I hear birdsong ever since an ornithologist told me that it probably either means ‘come on if you think you’re ‘ard enough’ or ‘have sex with me, have sex with me’!
    Did the frangipani survive by the way?

    • katechiconi says:

      This was definitely of the “Come on if you think you’re ‘ard enough” variety! The frangipani is battered but unbowed apart from leaking poisonous white sticky sap from where it was damaged…

  3. tialys says:

    Very handsome in their bright plumage. I was just watching a bullfinch yesterday with his red breast looking as if he’d buffed it up specially for the mating season and worrying because he was on the ground in cat territory (aka the area in and around my house!).

    • katechiconi says:

      Bullfinches are wonderful, one of my favourite European birds. I can clearly remember a pair in my childhood garden, standing out impossibly bright against a black and white snowy backdrop. If you designed a bird in those colours, you’d be told to be realistic, bright pinkish red and black and grey just don’t happen in nature. Wrong!

    • katechiconi says:

      They’re brilliant little warriors, aren’t they, all dressed up in their blue Lurex bibs and yellow waistcoats… They’re quite a sight amongst the acid green leaves and hot pink flowers of the Petris.

  4. dayphoto says:

    They are so pretty! I had to zip over to see if there was a youtube video of them singing there was: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8Rx1NAhB-c
    This one has terrible background noise but you can still hear the little bird https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IuqPKtqFySI

    How much fun this post was! Thank you!

  5. magpiesue says:

    Good shot Kate! I absolutely love the coloring of those little birds.
    (One of these days I’m going to get around to see what everyone has done for the SAL.)

  6. How wonderful…they are so pretty and I enjoyed reading your post 😀

    • katechiconi says:

      Thank you! We’re very fortunate in the bird life that visits us, but it’s rare I get a chance to capture them with a good photo. These two little guys were too busy battling it out to pay us much attention!

  7. kathyreeves says:

    The birds have arrived back here in SD, but none are as stunning as your little guys. Even so, the right at dawn chorus is so welcome! Spring is finally coming!

  8. katechiconi says:

    And for us, it’s the welcome relief of autumn, with the start of cooler nights, lower humidity and the ability to work or exercise outside without expiring from heat exhaustion! It’s also a time when many birds leave us to head north again on their annual migration, so we see flocks of geese grazing and great clouds of smaller birds assembling.

  9. Lovely to see them. They must have good bad weather hidey spots ☺

    • katechiconi says:

      I know that several birds use our under-house garage to take refuge in. The open brickwork at the sides makes it easy for them to go in and out, but they still get protection from the weather. Shame about the poopy mementoes they leave behind, though!

  10. rutigt says:

    Beautiful birds! Here in Sweden we also have birds singing right now! It´s like a whole concert whenever you opened the door 🙂

  11. Oh my, that shade of blue throat against the yellow belly, contrasted with the green foliage. Maybe a sunbird-inspired quilt?

    • katechiconi says:

      Isn’t it fabulous. There are such beautifully coloured birds here. I love the galahs, in shades of white, rose, pale and dark grey, and the black spangled drongos, with their iridescent shoulder capes.

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