Family Sunbirds (Nectariniidae)

Least Concern

Olive-bellied Sunbird (Cinnyris chloropygius)


French: Souimanga à ventre olive German: Olivbauch-Nektarvogel Spanish: Suimanga ventrioliva

Nectarinia chloropygia


, 1842,

Aboh, Nigeria


This species and C. minullus sometimes placed in genus Chalcomitra. Race bineschensis poorly differentiated from, and sometimes synonymized with, orphogaster; moreover, it is isolated from other races of present species, and has been suggested also as being possibly misidentified C. reichenowi. Proposed races luehderi (described from Bipindi, in Cameroon) and insularis (Bioko) synonymized with nominate; uellensis (Koloka, Angu and Amadi, on R Uelle, in DRCongo) merged with orphogaster. Females in Cameroon and DRCongo having light yellow pectoral tufts and red breastband but no metallic plumage described as race ogilviegranti, but shown to be aberrantly plumaged females of nominate. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. c. kempi Ogilvie-Grant, 1910 – Senegal E to SW Nigeria.
  • C. c. chloropygius (Jardine, 1842) – Bioko and SE Nigeria E to S Chad and Central African Republic, S to NW Angola and W DRCongo.
  • C. c. orphogaster Reichenow, 1899 – C & E DRCongo and extreme SW South Sudan S to NE Angola, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, W Kenya and W Tanzania.
  • C. c. bineschensis Neumann, 1903 – SW Ethiopia.
  • Descriptive notes

    10·5–11 cm; male 4·7–8 g, female 5–7·5 g. Male nominate race is metallic green on head and throat and from crown to uppertail-coverts; upperwing brown,... read more


    Short song 3–4 seconds, beginning with “pisr-pisr”, then fast rising and falling notes, “... read more


    Clearings in forest, cultivations, gardens, well-wooded savanna, coastal thickets and mangroves.

    Food and feeding

    Insects, spiders (Araneae), nectar, seeds and bits of flowers. Forages mostly in pairs or small groups. Visits Cogniauxia podolaena... read more


    Laying recorded in Oct–Nov in Sierra Leone, Feb and Nov in Liberia, Dec in Ivory Coast, Feb, Apr and Sept–Oct in Ghana, May... read more


    Partial migrant in W Africa, where some travel N at start of rainy season.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally common throughout much of range, but rare in Ethiopia and Sudan. Occurs in several protected areas, e.g. Korup National Park, in Cameroon.

    Recommended citation

    Cheke, R. & Mann, C. (2019). Olive-bellied Sunbird (Cinnyris chloropygius). 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).