Balcony Birding: Indian Purple Sunbird




I love Sunbirds (Family: Nectariniidae). They are colorful, tiny and shiny with a distinct call. They are sprightly and difficult to photograph as they just don’t know how to sit still. To top it it’s a task getting a good view of them from the balcony and Lord, how they love to sit on far away wires. I loving call them sunnies!

Purple Sunbird | Cinnyris Asiaticus | Male

I can see the Purple Sun Bird around my place and it’s sheer joy. The male is all shiny & colorful while the female are olive brown above with a yellow underside.

Purple Sunbird | Cinnyris Asiaticus | Female

During courtship displays, the male raises his head, fans his tail and flutters with partly open wings that expose the bright yellow pectoral tufts (like the Loten’s sunbird) and sings before the female.

Purple Sunbird Pair | Bright yellow pectoral feathers | Courtship Display

During breeding the male plumage has a metallic bluish to purplish sheen with a tinge of black on the upper & under parts. The wings are of dark brown shade. You may see a patch of bright blue and/or maroon too during this time. The non-breeding males look similar to the female though they have a central streak of black on yellow underparts.

I have often seen the males with yellow-cream underparts with black patches and neck above in scintillating blue-black-purple and dark brown wings. I came across it as adult male “intermediate morph” [“…..within species there can be different color forms also known as alternative phenotypes…..”] Some say it’s eclipse plumage. The debate is still on!

The male showing off his bright iridescent colors

In it’s non breeding avtaar the male looks similar to the female. The only thing that differentiates them is the black streak in its yellow underparts.

Purple Sunbird (male) in non breeding plumage
Female gathering nesting material (July)

The sunbirds are small in size (between 9-22 cm) and a characteristic is their down curved beaks, which in some species exceeds the length of the head.

The sunbirds are small (between 10-22 cm) & flighty

I get to see them while the sun is rising and many a times the shine gets missed. I have been lucky on a few occasions and could capture the colorful gloss.

Purple Sunbird (Female)

Sunbirds, birds like hummingbirds, honeyeaters, honeycreepers  and spiderhunters, are known for ornithophily (pollination of flowering plants by birds)

Adult male in breeding plumage of shiny blue-purple-black shades
Keeping a watchful eye on his lady love

With “stay at home” norms, the birds are enjoying the silence and the freedom. It has been a boon for nature. The tiny birds can be seen happily flitting about and yes there has been an increase in their number.

This female Purple Sunbird photo is from the Aravalli Biodiversity Park
Purple Sunbird Male in non breeding plumage, Aravalli Biodiversity Park, Gurugram

I had spotted the bright and sprightly Crimson Sunbird | Aethopyga Siparaja early in the morning in Pangot last year…… flitting around the crimson hibiscus flowers drinking nectar. Sharing a short video on it.

Crimson Sunbird seen in Pangot, Uttarakhand

It’s a delight to watch them and I look forward to them every single day however far they sit and look like a speck ……. a customary photo is shot as a ritual hahahahahaa.


Do watch out for my next post on another species from my #BalconyBirding list

Posts shared so far on:

1. Rosy Starlings
2. Alexandrine Parakeet
3. Rose-Ringed Parakeet

4. Plum Headed Parakeet
5. Indian Spot-Billed Duck
6. Yellow-Footed Green Pigeon
7. Black-Winged Stilt
8. Indian Peafowl
9. Indian Purple Sunbird



….and, if you like what you see or read, do ‘like it’ & ‘share it’. Non WordPress users please ‘rate’ it to express your appreciation. Also do not forget to ‘follow the blog’ to remain updated about newer posts.


The Soul Is Here For It’s Own Joy!
Monika Ohson | TravelerInMe

This published post is being shared as part of:

#WordlessWednesday hosted by Natasha & Esha
and some more Sue ,  Betty ,  Zina 

41 responses »

  1. Aha..such a delight to see these tiny chirping birds sucking nectar from here to there…Once these birds made nests in our garden was so much fun to see them weaving so skillfully.


  2. Sun birds are my favourites. I love their restless energy and the way they bustle around from flower to flower and branch to branch.
    When I was a kid this sunbird would make its nest every year in the tiny rose bush, around monsoons, lay eggs and then the rains would play havoc, bringing the nest down. It really pained me but it was heart-warming to see how it didn’t give up easily and built a nest again around the same time. I guess after a few lessons lost, it decided to choose another spot.

    Thanks for sharing your “sunnies’ with us Monika. 🙂

    Have a bedazzling rain drenched week my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They are indeed. Energetic, chirpy and so full of life.

      A lot of birds are nesting now & I always wonder about their nests & hatchlings…… And not to miss the predators.

      I can imagine your delight in watching them ….. All busy All day 😍

      Happy Monsoon Natasha 🌧️🤍🌧️🤍🌧️

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful bird, excellent photos, especially the one in which the male is courting the female. Congratulations!

    P.S. Can I borrow the photo for a future Wordless Wednesday? Of course I will link to your blog.

    Have a fine day!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. We love birds too. We feed all the birds and many of our neighbors aren’t happy about that. What’s a little bird poop on the fences. We also have a fountain that they can drink water or bathe. They are most delightful.

    Have a fabulous day. ♥

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes Sandee they are a beautiful creation and give so much joy. I can understand your neighbours too. I can even relate to your happiness ❤️ I too had a bird feeder and water is put out for them in the corner of the balcony. I love the fountain bit though one needs a bigger space / garden for it.

      Hope you have a beautiful & chirpy day 💖🐦💖🐦💖

      Liked by 1 person

  5. These are wonderful recordings dear Monika,
    the little birds give a lot to an animal friend
    Joy, also in my garden paradise.
    I wish you a nice time and thank you for yours
    Visit to my blog, sincerely Karin Lissi

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow, that’s a beautiful bird! How lovely to see one I’d never see myself I have to say the crimson one in your video is so, so striking!!

    Your support for ‘My Corner of the World’ is much appreciated! Thanks for your link this week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks a lot Betty ✨ they are actually very striking …..tiny but scintillating 😄 The world is vast, imagine how many such nature’s treasures would be there in every corner. ……. Wow!!! I am glad to be a part of your corner of the world Betty 💓


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s