Family Sunbirds (Nectariniidae)

Least Concern

Carmelite Sunbird (Chalcomitra fuliginosa)


French: Souimanga carmélite German: Rußglanzköpfchen Spanish: Suimanga carmelita

C[erthia]. fuliginosa


, 1812,

#R, Malembo, Cabinda, Angola


Considered closely related to C. rubescens and C. amethystina; all appear to hybridize. Proposed race nigrescens (described from Brazzaville, in Congo), male with supposedly darker mantle, is treated as synonym of nominate, but some authors have recommended its recognition for populations along lower R Congo. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. f. aurea (Lesson, 1847) – coasts from Sierra Leone E to Gabon and Congo.
  • C. f. fuliginosa (Shaw, 1812) – NW Angola (including Cabinda) and lower R Congo (inland to Kwamouth, DRCongo).
  • Descriptive notes

    13–14 cm; 11·6–12·2 g. Male nominate race has body plumage chocolate-brown, darkest on breast, belly and undertail-coverts, except for metallic... read more


    Song a 0·5-second “pttrreeeee”, repeated every 2–3 seconds, and a trilling... read more


    Woods, plains, mangroves, swamps, plantations and gardens in coastal regions; reaches savanna in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Nectar and insects. Feeds at Ceiba pentandra, Delonix regia, Hibiscus, Moringa pterygosperma and... read more


    Laying recorded in Sept–Nov in Cameroon, Jan–Feb, Jul and Dec in Gabon, Sept and Nov in Nigeria and Sept–Dec in PRCongo.... read more


    Disperses along coasts and strays inland.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Rare to locally common throughout range. Faces some threat, at least locally, from mangrove destruction.

    Recommended citation

    Cheke, R. & Mann, C. (2019). Carmelite Sunbird (Chalcomitra fuliginosa). 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).