Family Sunbirds (Nectariniidae)

Least Concern

Black-bellied Sunbird (Cinnyris nectarinioides)


French: Souimanga nectarin German: Mennigbrust-Nektarvogel Spanish: Suimanga ventrinegro

Cinnyris nectarinioides


, 1897,

plains east of Kilimanjaro, Tanzania


Race erlangeri moderately distinct, with its deeper red breastband (1) and lack of yellow pectoral tufts (2); further study needed, including in area of intergradation in N Kenya, but available evidence suggests songs very similar. Two subspecies recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. n. erlangeri (Reichenow, 1905) – Northern Black-bellied Sunbird – extreme SE Ethiopia (banks of R Daua), S Somalia and NE Kenya.
  • C. n. nectarinioides Richmond, 1897 – Southern Black-bellied Sunbird – SE Kenya and NE Tanzania.
  • Descriptive notes

    Male 13 cm, female 10 cm; 4–6 g. Male nominate race breeding has head, upperparts, including lesser wing-coverts, and chin and throat metallic golden-green with blue... read more


    Song consists of 6–20 “tsk”, “chip” or “che” notes,... read more


    Arid acacia (Acacia) savanna and riverine vegetation.

    Food and feeding

    Nectar, insects, and spiders (Araneae). Forages mainly at higher levels in trees. Visits flowers of acacias, baobab (Adansonia digitata... read more


    Nest with egg in late Apr in Somalia; laying recorded in Apr–Aug and Nov in E Africa. Nest purse-shaped, usually with porch and “... read more


    No data.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally common in Kenya and NE Tanzania; uncommon in Somalia; rare in Ethiopia. Possibly occurs also in SW Ethiopia, where reportedly seen at L Abaya... read more

    Recommended citation

    Cheke, R. & Mann, C. (2019). Black-bellied Sunbird (Cinnyris nectarinioides). 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 21 October 2019).