Family Sunbirds (Nectariniidae)

Least Concern

Collared Sunbird (Hedydipna collaris)


French: Souimanga à collier German: Halsband-Nektarvogel Spanish: Suimanga acollarado

Cinnyris collaris


, 1819,

Gamtoos River, Cape Province, South Africa


Has been suggested that races subcollaris, hypodila and zambesiana represent one or more separate species on basis of reduced (or lack of) iridescence in plumage of juveniles (whereas metallic colours present even on nestlings of somereni); further study required. Other proposed races are nigeriae (described from Owerri, in SE Nigeria), considered inseparable from subcollaris; ugandae (from Maraquet, Kenya) and phillipsi (R Lofu, in Zambia), both synonymized with garguensis; jubaensis (Hellesheid, on R Jubba, in S Somalia), merged with elachior; chobiensis (R Chobe, in N Botswana), subsumed into zambesiana; and patersonae (lower R Pungwe, in E Zimbabwe) and beverleyae (R Limpopo, in S Zimbabwe), both considered indistinguishable from zuluensis. Nine subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • H. c. subcollaris (Hartlaub, 1857) – Senegal and Guinea-Bissau E to SW Nigeria (E to Niger Delta).
  • H. c. hypodila (Jardine & Fraser, 1852) – #RBioko.
  • H. c. somereni (Chapin, 1949) – SE Nigeria E to S Central African Republic and SW South Sudan (W of R Nile), S to NW Angola (Cabinda, S to Cuanza Norte and Cuanza Sul) and N DRCongo.
  • H. c. djamdjamensis (Benson, 1942) – SW Ethiopia (R Alghe and R Sagan area).
  • H. c. garguensis (Mearns, 1915) – S South Sudan (E of R Nile), extreme SW Ethiopia, E & SE DRCongo, Uganda, W Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, W Tanzania, N & NW Zambia (S to Ngoma) and CE Angola (Alto Zambezi to Vila Luso and Malanga).
  • H. c. elachior (Mearns, 1910) – coastal E Africa from S Somalia (S from Jubba S of 4° N) and extreme S Ethiopia S to Kenya (inland to Kenyan highlands) and NE Tanzania (inland to Moshi and Kilosa, S to Dar es Salaam), also Pemba I, Zanzibar and Mafia I.
  • H. c. zambesiana (Shelley, 1876) – NE Angola, S DRCongo and SW Tanzania S to S & E Zambia, Malawi, N Botswana, N Zimbabwe (Zambezi Valley, Ngamiland and S Barotseland) and C Mozambique.
  • H. c. zuluensis (Roberts, 1931) – E highlands of Zimbabwe and S Mozambique (S from Gorongosa) S to Swaziland and NE South Africa (Mpumalanga, NE KwaZulu-Natal).
  • H. c. collaris (Vieillot, 1819) – SE South Africa from S KwaZulu-Natal S to Eastern Cape and SE Western Cape (Knysna).
  • Descriptive notes

    10–10·5 cm; male 5·3–11g, female 5·4–9·7 g. Small sunbird with short, slightly curved bill. Male nominate race is bright... read more


    Song of race subcollaris high-pitched "tsi-tsu-tsu-tsu-tsi-tsu-tsu-tsu-tsi" with single... read more


    Forest, woodland and savanna; particularly common in open areas such as forest edges, clearings,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet mostly insects, also spiders (Araneae), snails; also seeds and small fruits, e.g. of Chrysanthemoides, Macaranga,... read more


    Laying Dec in Senegal, breeds all months (peak Oct–Apr) in Liberia, most months in Ghana, Jan, Apr, Jul, Sept–Oct and Dec in... read more


    Mainly sedentary; one ringed individual moved 7 km.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common and widespread throughout almost entire range. Occurs in many protected areas, examples being Abuko Nature Reserve, in Gambia, Korup National... read more

    Recommended citation

    Cheke, R. & Mann, C. (2019). Collared Sunbird (Hedydipna collaris). 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 August 2019).