Variable Sunbird ( Cinnyris venustus, family: Nectariniidae)

Birds & Birding in the Kruger National Park South Africa. In Roberts 6 this bird was called Yellow-bellied Sunbird

The Variable Sunbird (Latin name Cinnyris venustus) is described in Roberts Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition. This bird has a unique Roberts number of 786 and you will find a full description of this bird on page 992 also a picture of the Variable Sunbird on page 1008. The Variable Sunbird belongs to the family of birds classified as Nectariniidae. According to the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology the Variable Sunbird is also known by these other names: Yellow-breasted Sunbird.

In the previous edition of Roberts (ie 6th edition) the Variable Sunbird was called the Yellow-bellied Sunbird. The Robert's 7 Latin name for Variable Sunbird has changed from Nectarinia venusta in Robert's 6 to Cinnyris venustus.

The map of the Kruger you see on this page shows the areas (coloured orange) where this bird has been identified. The basic information was provided by the Avian Demographic Unit based at UCT and I created the maps from that information ... the green dots show the locations of the various Kruger National Park Rest Camps

The Variable Sunbird is neither Endemic or near Endemic to the Kruger National Park.

In terms of distribution of the Variable Sunbird in the Kruger National Park you may not see it in all areas. Variable Sunbird : see above distribution map.

Identification assistance for this avian species ...

One of the first indicators to take note of when trying to identify a bird is it relative size. For example how big is the bird compared to a well known familiar bird. The Variable Sunbird is an extremely small bird about half the size of a house sparrow. The height of the Variable Sunbird is about 10 cms and its weight is about 7 gms

You will find that the male Variable Sunbird plumage and colours are different to that of the female Variable Sunbird

  • Head is blue.
  • Eye is brown.
  • Bill is black.
  • Throat is blue.
  • Back is blue.
  • Legs are black.

This bird has normally proportioned leg length.

Main diet items for this bird ...

The Variable Sunbird feeds on the ground, and on the wing mainly



Breeding and nesting habits for this bird ...

The Variable Sunbird is monogamous unless its mate dies. In the event of a partner dying Cinnyris venustus will seek out a new mate

The nesting habit of Variable Sunbird is to create the nest in branches of a tree or shrub. The bird lays eggs which are white in colour and number between 1 to 3

Habitat and flocking behaviour for this bird ...

The preferred habitats for Variable Sunbird are: woodlands and grasslands and riverine areas

You can see Variable Sunbird in flocks. The bird will often also be seen singly.

Names of this avian species in other languages ...

Xhosa ... Unknown

Zulu ... Unknown

Afrikaans ...Geelpenssuikerbekkie

German ... Gelbbauch-Nektarvogel

Portuguese ... Beija-flor-de-barriga-amarela

French ... Souimanga ventre jaune

Dutch ... Ornaathoningzuiger

First bird in list | Previous bird viewed | Next KNP bird | Last bird in list

For in-depth birding information please refer to these authoritative avian references ...

Robert's 7th edition number ... 786

The main reference source for this data was "Roberts - Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition" . Other references were "Newmans Birds of the Kruger Park" by Keith Newman published circa 1980 . Names in foreign languages were obtained from the Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town website ,