Family Sugarbirds (Promeropidae)

Least Concern

Cape Sugarbird (Promerops cafer)


French: Promérops du Cap German: Kaphonigfresser Spanish: Mielero abejaruco de El Cabo

Merops cafer


, 1758,

Cape of Good Hope, South Africa


Some evidence of former hybridization with P. gurneyi in Eastern Cape. Monotypic.


S South Africa (Western Cape, SW & S Eastern Cape).

Descriptive notes

24–44 cm (including elongated tail of up to 38 cm); male 30·5–43·5 g, female 26–39 g. Medium-sized passerine with long, somewhat decurved bill... read more


Song consists of grating, chirping, chipping and twanging notes, "k-swip-chirrring-ka-swip-... read more


Proteoid shrublands in fynbos; also suburban gardens, and in areas where alien plants e.g.... read more

Food and feeding

Nectar of several fynbos Protea species (mainly P. repens, P. lepidocarpo­dendron, P.... read more


Season mainly Apr–Jul in SW of range and later, Jun–Jul, in E, coinciding with Protea flowering season; sometimes... read more


Non-migratory, but undertakes local movements occur in response to flowering seasons of foodplants... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Locally common. Densities in mountain fynbos 2–4·1 birds/ha and up to 20 pairs/km²; 14 birds/ha in cultivated protea stands... read more

Recommended citation

de Swardt, D. (2019). Cape Sugarbird (Promerops cafer). 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 March 2019).