Family Sunbirds (Nectariniidae)

Least Concern

Nile Valley Sunbird (Hedydipna metallica)


French: Souimanga du Nil German: Erznektarvogel Spanish: Suimanga del Nilo

Nectarinia metallica

M. H. C. Lichtenstein

, 1823,

Dongola, Sudan


In the past treated as conspecific with H. platura. Birds from NW Ethiopia (Melissai, on Adiabo Plains) with apparently short wing described as race adiabonensis, but considered inadequately differentiated from those elsewhere in species’ range. Monotypic.


Egypt (R Nile and CE coast), Sudan, NE South Sudan, Eritrea, W, N & E Ethiopia, Djibouti, S Arabia (Saudi Arabia S of Jeddah, Yemen, SW Oman) and, probably, NW Somalia. Non-breeding visitor to E Ethiopia and N Somalia.

Descriptive notes

Male 17 cm, female 9 cm; 7–7·5 g. Small sunbird with short decurved bill. Male in breeding plumage has head to upper chest and upperparts to back dark metallic... read more


High-pitched warbling song, as "pruiit-prruiit-ptuiit-tiriririri-tiririri", and... read more


Arid scrub and gardens near irrigation, from sea-level to 2200 m.

Food and feeding

Nectar, also insects. Nectar taken from many flowers, e.g. oleander (Nerium oleander), mistletoes (Loranthaceae), Calotropis... read more


Laying Apr–May in Egypt, Jan–Nov in Sudan, Dec–May in Saudi Arabia, Mar–Apr in Yemen and May in Oman. Territorial;... read more


Movement into Cairo area of Egypt in Oct–Mar. Movements in Red Sea hills of Sudan in summer,... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Common; sometimes abundant locally. Occurs in a number of protected areas, such as the Awash National Park, in Ethiopia.

Recommended citation

Cheke, R. & Mann, C. (2019). Nile Valley Sunbird (Hedydipna metallica). 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 21 August 2019).