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A photo of a Ruby-cheeked Sunbird (Chalcoparia singalensis), male
Ruby-cheeked Sunbird, Male

Ruby-cheeked Sunbird

Chalcoparia singalensis

The Ruby-cheeked Sunbird, a diminutive and vibrant bird, belongs to the Nectariniidae family. It is the sole occupant of the genus Chalcoparia, a name that evokes images of bronze-cheeked beauty, which is fitting for this species with its striking plumage.

Identification Tips

Males of the species boast a glistening throat patch, which can appear ruby or iridescent depending on the light. Females, while more subdued in coloration, share the same delicate features and slender bill, adapted for nectar feeding.

Habitat

These sunbirds inhabit a range of lush environments, from the lowland forests to the mangroves and even the moist montane forests, each providing a rich tapestry of flora for these birds to thrive in.

Distribution

The Ruby-cheeked Sunbird is a resident of a broad swathe of Asia, from the eastern Himalayas through Southeast Asia, extending to the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, and reaching the verdant landscapes of Java.

Behaviour

Agile and active, these birds flit through the foliage, their flight a blur of iridescent colors as they search for nectar and insects, which make up the bulk of their diet.

Song & Calls

The vocalizations of the Ruby-cheeked Sunbird are as delightful as their appearance, a series of high-pitched notes that add a layer of acoustic beauty to their forest homes.

Breeding

During the breeding season, these sunbirds engage in a flurry of activity, with males displaying their brilliant throat patches to attract mates and both sexes participating in the construction of their delicate nests.

Similar Species

While unique in its genus, the Ruby-cheeked Sunbird can be confused with other sunbird species. However, its distinctive coloration and habitat preferences can aid in proper identification.

Diet and Feeding

Nectar forms the cornerstone of their diet, but they also pursue insects with zest, showcasing their adaptability and the crucial role they play in the ecosystem as pollinators.

Conservation status

Currently, the Ruby-cheeked Sunbird is classified as Least Concern by the IUCN, a testament to its resilience and the relative abundance of its populations across its range.

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