Family Sunbirds (Nectariniidae)

Least Concern

Green-tailed Sunbird (Aethopyga nipalensis)


French: Souimanga à queue verte German: Grünschwanz-Nektarvogel Spanish: Suimanga coliverde

Cinnyris nipalensis


, 1836,

Chandragiri Pass, central Nepal


Geographically outlying race angkanensis distinguished by its strong flame-red breast (3); slightly broader russet-chestnut back (“cape”) than the next best-marked taxon (1); and in varying degrees by the strength of its yellow rump, shortness of its bill, brightness of its vent, etc., but in each of these it is matched by certain other taxa. Race horsfieldi intergrades with nominate in W Nepal. In India, proposed race griseiceps (from Ghoom, near Darjeeling) considered inseparable from nominate, and ripleyi (from Mawryngkneng, in Khasi Hills) synonymized with koelzi. Nine subspecies recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. n. horsfieldi (Blyth, 1843) – W Himalayas in N India (Uttarakhand) and W Nepal.
  • A. n. nipalensis (Hodgson, 1836) – #RGreen-tailed Sunbird – W Nepal E to Sikkim and Darjeeling (N India).
  • A. n. koelzi Ripley, 1948 – Bhutan and NE India (Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Nagaland S to Chittagong Hills) E to S China (S Xizang E to C Sichuan and NW Yunnan), N Myanmar and NW Vietnam.
  • A. n. victoriae Rippon, 1904 – NE India (Lushai Hills) and W Myanmar (Chin Hills).
  • A. n. karenensis Ticehurst, 1939 – E Myanmar (Karen Hills).
  • A. n. australis Robinson & Kloss, 1923 – S peninsular Thailand (S of Isthmus of Kra).
  • A. n. blanci Delacour & Greenway, 1939 – Laos.
  • A. n. ezrai Delacour, 1926 – S Vietnam (Da Lat Plateau).
  • A. n. angkanensis Riley, 1929 – Doi Inthanon Sunbird – NW Thailand (Doi Inthanon).
  • Descriptive notes

    Male 14–15 cm, 5·5–8 g; female 10 cm, 5·4–6·5 g. Long-tailed sunbird with rather long, heavy-based curved bill. Male nominate race has... read more


    Song “tchiss tchiss-iss-iss-iss”, beginning high, then a low note, followed by a rising... read more


    Various forest types, including primary forests (such as submontane and montane), woodland, scrub-... read more

    Food and feeding

    Food thought to be small arthropods and nectar. Forages singly and in small, loose groups; often in canopy, but also at lower levels.


    Laying in Apr–Jun in India and Nepal, and inThailand nest-building in Feb (in N) and birds with enlarged gonads in Apr. Nest an... read more


    Seasonal altitudinal movements.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Uncommon in NW & NC India but common in NE; widespread and common in Nepal; common in Bhutan; locally common in Myanmar above 1800 m; locally... read more

    Recommended citation

    Cheke, R. & Mann, C. (2019). Green-tailed Sunbird (Aethopyga nipalensis). 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).