Family Sunbirds (Nectariniidae)

Least Concern

Grey-breasted Spiderhunter (Arachnothera modesta)


French: Arachnothère modeste German: Graubrust-Spinnenjäger Spanish: Arañero modesto

Anthreptes modesta


, 1839,

Peninsular Malaysia


Present species and nominate race of A. affinis have been treated as conspecific (race everetti of A. affinis then treated as separate species). Geographical variation not well marked; caena intergrades with nominate in S Myanmar (Tenasserim) and S Thailand and could perhaps be merged with it. Proposed race heliophilus (described from Loh Sidoh Bay, in NW Sumatra) considered indistinguishable from concolor. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. m. caena Deignan, 1956 – extreme S Myanmar (S Tenasserim) and SW Thailand.
  • A. m. modesta (Eyton, 1839) – Malay Peninsula and Borneo (Sarawak, Brunei, Kalimantan).
  • A. m. concolor Snelleman, 1887 – Sumatra, including Mentawai Is.
  • Descriptive notes

    17–18 cm; male 20·5–24·9g, female 20·1–25·5 g. Nominate race is golden olive-green above, crown with sooty-brown feather centres; remiges blackish-brown,... read more


    Song a continuous “tee-chu”, first note rising and second falling, similar to that of A.... read more


    Dipterocarp forest, peatswamp-forest, secondary and dry coastal forests, forest edge, coastal scrub... read more

    Food and feeding

    Spiders (Araneae), also insects, including crickets (Orthoptera) and ants (Formicidae); nectar. Forages singly and in pairs, in all storeys... read more


    Eggs recorded in late Apr and juveniles May–Aug in Peninsular Malaysia; laying in Feb in Borneo. Nest a shallow cup of wood bast... read more


    No information.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Rare in Myanmar; common in Thailand and Malay Peninsula; common in Sumatra; uncommon in Borneo. Probably extinct in Singapore, where last confirmed... read more

    Recommended citation

    Cheke, R. & Mann, C. (2019). Grey-breasted Spiderhunter (Arachnothera modesta). 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).