Family Sunbirds (Nectariniidae)

Least Concern

Buff-throated Sunbird (Chalcomitra adelberti)


French: Souimanga d’Adelbert German: Fahlkehl-Glanzköpfchen Spanish: Suimanga gorjiclaro

Cinnyris adelberti


, 1834,

#R, Senegal; ?error = Sierra Leone


Race eboensis is a strong candidate for species rank: differs in its dark brown vs pale chestnut lesser wing-coverts and fringes of other wing-coverts and remiges (3); dark chestnut vs mid-chestnut lower breast to vent (1); shade whiter throat patch (1); and larger size (effect size for male bill 1.69, score 1). Description in HBW suggests a divergent song, but the comparison may not involve homologous vocalizations and there are currently no available recordings; more study needed. Two subspecies recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. a. adelberti (Gervais, 1834) – Western Buff-throated Sunbird – NW Guinea, and Sierra Leone E to Ghana and WC Togo.
  • C. a. eboensis (Jardine, 1843) – Eastern Buff-throated Sunbird – Benin E to SE Nigeria and W border of Cameroon.
  • Descriptive notes

    11·5–12 cm; 8·3–11 g. Male nominate race has forehead and crown bright metallic green, back of head and neck blackish-brown, becoming paler... read more


    Song of nominate race a complex twittering c. 15 seconds long followed by “pttiooou”... read more


    Lowland forest and forest clearings; often near human habitation, when occurs in plantations and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, spiders (Araneae), and nectar. Visits mistletoes (Loranthaceae) and flowers of such trees as Albizzia, Bombax,... read more


    Nests in Oct–Mar dry season. Singing male performs display-flights likened to butterfly flight. Untidy nest made of grass and dry... read more


    Disperses S in search of flowers in dry season in Liberia and Nigeria.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally uncommon or locally common throughout range.

    Recommended citation

    Cheke, R. & Mann, C. (2019). Buff-throated Sunbird (Chalcomitra adelberti). 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).