Sunbirds Nesting in Mumbai

birds Apr 13, 2019

One of the great benefits of staying close to Aarey Milk Colony that is an extension of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park - a protected forest area, is that we get a lot of interesting guests:

This month, we are lucky to be hosts for a pair of Sunbirds who have decided to nest in the Mango Tree that overhangs our terrace.

An early morning visit to our terrace not only provides a great view of the sun rising in the east, but we are also greeted by several birds who nest in the surrounding trees.

A few days ago, we noticed a pair of Sunbirds flitting about in the branches of the Mango tree that overhangs our terrace. And having found the site suitable, they decided to build a nest on one of the branches. Luckily the branch is easily visible from our terrace, and we kept watch in the morning with camera and tripod, waiting for them to come and start their construction.

Mrs. Sunbird soon arrived with a bunch of soft fiber to inlay inside the nest. Only the females build the nest, while the male sits around on a nearby branch and gives a all clear signal with a characteristic tweee...tweee...sound. (ref)

Purple-rumped Sunbirds are tiny at less than 10 cm long. They have medium-length thin down-curved bills and brush-tipped tubular tongues, both adaptations to their nectar feeding. The female has a white throat followed by yellowish breast. There is a bright green shoulder patch. The upperside is olive or brownish. The uppertail coverts are black and a weak supercilium is visible. The males have a dark maroon upperside with a blue-green crown that is visible in some angles. There are violet patches on the throat and rump which are visible only in good lighting. There is also a maroon breast band (ref)

The nest is an oblong pouch of soft grasses, insect droppings, cobwebs and pieces of bark, hanging from the tip of a branch or creeper. The entrance hole has a projecting canopy (ref)

Here is a short video showing how skillfully Mrs. Sunbird builds her nest.

We are hoping to track the progress of the nest as they finish it and are looking forward to the little ones coming along! Keep a look out for updates here!

Some useful links for more information about this bird:


Ashutosh Bijoor

Adventurer, mathematician, software architect, cyclist, musician, aspiring wood worker