Family Sunbirds (Nectariniidae)

Least Concern

Arabian Sunbird (Cinnyris hellmayri)


French: Souimanga de Hellmayr German: Arabiennektarvogel Spanish: Suimanga árabe

Cinnyris habessinica hellmayri


, 1904,

mountains north of Lahej, southern Yemen


Hitherto treated as conspecific with C. habessinicus, but differs in its much-reduced and slightly duller red breastband in male (2); more extensive and deeper blue reflectant uppertail-coverts in male (1); much darker grey or grey-brown plumage in female (2); larger size (effect size for wing of race kinneari vs C. h. habessinicus 2.03, score 2); and seemingly different song#R. Two subspecies recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. h. kinneari Bates, 1935 – W Saudi Arabia (S Hijaz S to Asir).
  • C. h. hellmayri Neumann, 1904 – extreme SW Saudi Arabia (Najran area), Yemen and SW Oman.
  • Descriptive notes

    13 cm; male 10·6–12 g, female 9·5–10 g. Medium-sized sunbird with relatively long, decurved bill; generally darker-plumaged than any sympatric sunbird. Adult male is bright... read more


    Song fast-paced and fluty-sounding, a trilled “tuu-tuu-tuu-tuu-vita-vita-du-du-du-du” that ends in... read more


    Inhabits relatively luxuriant vegetation in steep-sided wadis or on hillsides, but also found in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet nectar and invertebrates, including larvae and caterpillars, but insects taken not well described, though they probably include ants... read more


    Mostly breeds in Mar–Jul, but evidence of nesting activity recorded virtually year-round, e.g. nestbuilding reported third week of Jan in... read more


    None specifically recorded, but seasonal wandering in pursuit of food resources suspected in... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Generally rather common if somewhat locally distributed. The population has been very approximately estimated to number in the region... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Arabian Sunbird (Cinnyris hellmayri). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 19 September 2019).