Family Sunbirds (Nectariniidae)

Near Threatened

Plain-backed Sunbird (Anthreptes reichenowi)


French: Souimanga de Reichenow German: Blaukehl-Nektarvogel Spanish: Suimanga de Reichenow

Anthreptes reichenowi


, 1909,

Mzimbiti, near Beira, Mozambique


This species and A. anchietae sometimes placed in genus Hedydipna or, alternatively, in a separate genus Gunningia. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. r. yokanae van Someren, 1921 – SE Kenya (S from lower R Tana) S in coastal forests to NE & SE Tanzania.
  • A. r. reichenowi Gunning, 1909 – E Zimbabwe, SW & SE Mozambique and NE South Africa.
  • Descriptive notes

    10–11 cm; 5–10 g. Small sunbird, male with iridescent deep blue throat, looking black in field, with short slightly curved bill. Male nominate race has forecrown... read more


    Song of 3–5 notes repeated 4–6 times, descending from beginning to end. Calls “... read more


    Forest, usually near coast, but occasionally in inland gallery forest within savanna and both... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mostly insects and spiders (Araneae). Probably feeds also on nectar, as visits flowers of mistletoes (Loranthaceae) and species of genera... read more


    Egg-laying Mar–Nov; breeding recorded in Feb, Mar, Jul and Aug in Tanzania. Territorial male sings from high vantage point; in... read more


    No data.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near-threatened. Occurs at only a few sites, where not uncommon. Nominate race recorded in coastal and isolated inland forests... read more

    Recommended citation

    Cheke, R. & Mann, C. (2019). Plain-backed Sunbird (Anthreptes reichenowi). 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).