Family Sugarbirds (Promeropidae)

Near Threatened

Gurney's Sugarbird (Promerops gurneyi)


French: Promérops de Gurney German: Natalhonigfresser Spanish: Mielero abejaruco de Gurney

Promerops gurneyi

J. P. Verreaux

, 1871,

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa


See remarks under P. cafer. Races separated geographically, and perhaps ecologically isolated; research required into possible taxonomic implications. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. g. ardens Friedmann, 1952 – E highlands of Zimbabwe and adjacent W Mozambique (Chimanimani Mts).
  • P. g. gurneyi J. P. Verreaux, 1871 – N & E South Africa from Limpopo Province (isolated populations) S along Drakensberg escarpment.
  • Descriptive notes

    23–29 cm; male 30–46·5 g, female 23–43 g. Medium-sized passerine with long, somewhat decurved bill and long, graduated tail; deep russet crown and... read more


    Song a jumbled series of rapid high-pitched twittery and twanging notes, "swip-cheek-cheek-cha... read more


    Nominate race mainly in montane scrub dominated by protea (Protea) species; distribution... read more

    Food and feeding

    Nectar, mainly of proteas (Protea roupelliae, P. caffra), Greyia radlkoferi and G. sutherlandii, tree-... read more


    In South Africa, season mainly Sept–Feb, occasionally in other months (Jun–Jul), coinciding with flowering of main foodplant (... read more


    Primarily resident, with local dispersal and short altitudinal shifts. Disperses from protea areas... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. Locally common; uncommon in SC Eastern Cape (Amatole Mts), where Protea subvestita populations... read more

    Recommended citation

    de Swardt, D. & Sharpe, C.J. (2019). Gurney's Sugarbird (Promerops gurneyi). 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 22 October 2019).