Family Sunbirds (Nectariniidae)

Least Concern

Gorgeous Sunbird (Cinnyris melanogastrus)


French: Souimanga de Fischer German: Schwarzbauch-Nektarvogel Spanish: Suimanga colilargo masai

Nectarinia melanogastra

G. A. Fischer and Reichenow

, 1884,

Nguruman, Lake Natron


Hitherto treated as conspecific with C. pulchellus, but differs in its broader yellow-bordered red breastband (effect size 2.33, score 2); matt black vs reflectant green or blue-and-green lower belly (3); longer bill and wing (effect size for bill 1.55, score 1); shorter tail projections (effect size −2.53, score 2); but voices very similar#R. Monotypic.


W, C & S Kenya and Tanzania.

Descriptive notes

Male 15–17 cm, 7–9·5 g; female 11 cm, 7·1–9·7 g. Male breeding has head, upperparts and upperwing-coverts bright metallic green, uppertail-coverts tipped bright metallic... read more


Song is a jumbled twittering of incoherent notes uttered rapidly and strung together for 30+... read more


Inhabits semi-arid bush, wooded grassland and gardens; at 400–1900 m, but mostly 700–1300 m.

Food and feeding

Diet and foraging do not appear to have been described in any detail, but are assumed to be similar to those of C. pulchellus.... read more


Breeds during rainy seasons; laying recorded in May–Jun in Kenya, and Dec–Jul in Tanzania. Male displays to female by spreading wings and... read more


Apparently largely resident, but reported to move to higher elevations in C Kenya during periods of... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common throughout most of range. Has apparently declined to point of extinction locally, e.g. in Tsavo East (where formerly common).... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Gorgeous Sunbird (Cinnyris melanogastrus). 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).