Family Sunbirds (Nectariniidae)

Least Concern

Palestine Sunbird (Cinnyris osea)


French: Souimanga de Palestine German: Jerichonektarvogel Spanish: Suimanga palestino

Cinnyris osea


, 1856,

“Plaines de Jéricho” = Palestine


Races differ in size, plumage, degree of iridescence in male plumage, existence of male non-breeding plumage (lacking in decorsei), and voice; research clearly needed. Proposed race butleri (described from Kajo Kaji, in S South Sudan) considered inseparable from decorsei. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. o. osea Bonaparte, 1856 – Palestine Sunbird – Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, NE Egypt, S Syria, Jordan, W Saudi Arabia, Yemen and S Oman.
  • C. o. decorsei Oustalet, 1904 – Central African Sunbird – widely scattered localities at L Chad and in E Cameroon, Central African Republic, W Sudan, S South Sudan, NE DRCongo and NW Uganda.
  • Descriptive notes

    8–10 cm; male average 7·6g and female average 6·8 g (nominate). Male nominate race breeding has purple forehead, metallic blue-green (blue in some lights... read more


    Song of race decorsei described as "chwing-chwing-chweing..." or "chwee-... read more


    Savannas, bushy riversides, rocky valleys, gardens and parks, orchards, juniper (Juniperus... read more

    Food and feeding

    Nectar, fruits, seeds, also spiders (Araneae) and insects. Forages singly and in pairs; sometimes gregarious outside breeding season, when... read more


    Egg-laying recorded in Apr–May in Lebanon and Jordan, Feb–Sept in Israel, Feb, Mar and May in Arabia, Jun in Egypt and Nov... read more


    Nominate race mostly resident, but wanders and makes altitudinal movements, e.g. in Jordan and Oman... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Uncommon in much of range; locally common, and in some places abundant, especially in N of range. Very common and widespread in Israel and Palestine... read more

    Recommended citation

    Cheke, R. & Mann, C. (2019). Palestine Sunbird (Cinnyris osea). 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).