Family Sunbirds (Nectariniidae)

Least Concern

Blue-headed Sunbird (Cyanomitra alinae)


French: Souimanga d’Aline German: Ruwenzorinektarvogel Spanish: Suimanga cabeciazul

Cyanomitra alinæ

F. J. Jackson

, 1904,

Rwenzori, DRCongo


Proposed race vulcanorum (described from W Kivu Volcanoes, in E DRCongo) considered a synonym of tanganjicae. Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. a. derooi (Prigogine, 1975) – NE DRCongo in two main populations (one W of L Albert, the other W of L Edward).
  • C. a. alinae F. J. Jackson, 1904 – NE DRCongo (W Rwenzori Mts, Virunga Volcanoes), SW Uganda (E Rwenzoris, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest) and NW Rwanda.
  • C. a. tanganjicae (Reichenow, 1915) – E DRCongo (mountains W of L Kivu, Itombwe Mts, NW of L Tanganyika), SW Rwanda (Nyungwe Forest, SE of L Kivu) and W Burundi.
  • C. a. kaboboensis (Prigogine, 1975) – Mt Kabobo, in E DRCongo.
  • C. a. marungensis (Prigogine, 1975) – Marungu Mts, in SE DRCongo.
  • Descriptive notes

    12–14 cm; male 11–16 g, female 10–15 g. Male nominate race has top and side of head to neck side and hindneck metallic bluish-green and chin, throat and... read more


    Song a quiet twittering, culminating in a series of loud “chip” notes every 3–4 seconds;... read more


    Primary, secondary and riverine montane forests above 1400 m and up to 3280 m; 1980–2480 m on... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects and small spiders (Araneae); also nectar. Forages usually at low levels, but sometimes in canopy. Visits flowers of Balthasarea... read more


    Egg-laying in Jan–May in DRCongo. Territorial males face each other on treetops, calling, until one flies at the other; occasionally... read more


    Presumed sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Restrictedrange species: present in Albertine Rift Mountains EBA. Common in most of its montane range; scarce in Kivu area of DRCongo.

    Recommended citation

    Cheke, R. & Mann, C. (2019). Blue-headed Sunbird (Cyanomitra alinae). 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 26 August 2019).