Family Sunbirds (Nectariniidae)

Least Concern

Dusky Sunbird (Cinnyris fuscus)


French: Souimanga fuligineux German: Rußnektarvogel Spanish: Suimanga oscuro

Cinnyris fuscus


, 1819,

Great Namaqualand, Namibia


Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. f. inclusus (Clancey, 1970) – coastal SW Angola (Benguela, and Namibe S to R Cunene).
  • C. f. fuscus Vieillot, 1819 – Namibia, W & C South Africa and S Botswana.
  • Descriptive notes

    10 cm; male 7–10 g, female 6–7 g. Male nominate race breeding has head blackish-brown with faint purple-blue iridescence, upperparts dark brown with blue, purple... read more


    Song begins with “tst” and then a “trr-trr-trr…” trill for c. 2 seconds, changing down in tone half... read more


    Dry country, including semi-arid coastal plains with sand dunes (but not sandy desert), acacia (... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects and nectar. Forages mostly in pairs, sometimes in groups; aggregations of hundreds occasionally recorded, e.g. at large patches of... read more


    Egg-laying recorded in all months (peak Feb–Apr) in Namibia and Aug–Mar in South Africa; in years when rains begin early, males... read more


    Nomadic in response to availability of flowering plants and droughts; may irrupt into SW Cape... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally common to very common in Angola and Namibia; rather uncommon in South Africa but locally more numerous, mainly in W of range there. Occurs in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Cheke, R. & Mann, C. (2019). Dusky Sunbird (Cinnyris fuscus). 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 20 August 2019).