Family Sunbirds (Nectariniidae)

Least Concern

Green-headed Sunbird (Cyanomitra verticalis)


French: Souimanga à tête verte German: Grünkopf-Nektarvogel Spanish: Suimanga cabeciverde

Certhia verticalis


, 1790,

Africa = Senegal


Nominate race and bohndorffi intergrade in Cameroon. Proposed race niassae, described from Kondeland (N of L Malawi), in SW Tanzania, appears indistinguishable from viridisplendens. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. v. verticalis (Latham, 1790) – Senegal E to W & N Cameroon.
  • C. v. bohndorffi (Reichenow, 1887) – C & S Cameroon and Central African Republic S to inland Gabon, middle DRCongo and N Angola.
  • C. v. cyanocephala (Shaw, 1812) – #Rcoasts of mainland Equatorial Guinea and Gabon S to NW Angola (Cabinda) and extreme W DRCongo (mouth of R Congo).
  • C. v. viridisplendens (Reichenow, 1892) – W & S South Sudan and NE & E DRCongo E to Uganda, Kenya (E to Mt Kenya) and Tanzania, and NE Zambia and N Malawi.
  • Descriptive notes

    13–14·5 cm; male 9·7–15·5g, female 10·7–15·5 g. Male nominate race has head, nape, throat and upper breast metallic green... read more


    Song a repetition of “tsk” every 1–5 seconds, then a rapid burst of 5–11... read more


    Primary, secondary and gallery forests and clearings within them, also forest-savanna mosaic and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Nectar and other vegetable matter; arthropods. Nectar taken from variety of tree species and mistletoes (Loranthaceae); small fruits, seeds... read more


    Laying Aug–Sept in Sierra Leone, Jul in Nigeria, Mar–Apr, Jun–Jul and Sept–Oct in Cameroon, Nov–Dec in Gabon... read more


    No data.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common over most of its range; uncommon in Gambia and Senegal. Found at densities of 12–20 pairs/km² in Gabon. Occurs in a number of... read more

    Recommended citation

    Cheke, R. & Mann, C. (2020). Green-headed Sunbird (Cyanomitra verticalis). 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 23 February 2020).