Family Sunbirds (Nectariniidae)

Least Concern

Purple-banded Sunbird (Cinnyris bifasciatus)


French: Souimanga bifascié German: Zweiband-Nektarvogel Spanish: Suimanga bandeado
Other common names: Common Purple-banded Sunbird

Certhia bifasciata


, 1812,

#R, Malembo, Cabinda, Angola


In the past treated by some authors as conspecific with C. tsavoensis. Proposed race strophium, described from Manhiça (Sul do Save), in Mozambique, considered indistinguishable from microrhynchus. Two subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. b. bifasciatus (Shaw, 1812) – Gabon S, discontinuously, to W Angola (Cabinda S to Benguela, also Namibe and C Huíla); status uncertain in SW Central African Republic and N Congo#R.
  • C. b. microrhynchus Shelley, 1876 – E DRCongo, Uganda and Kenya S to extreme E Angola (NE Moxico), NE Namibia (Caprivi Strip), extreme N Botswana, E Zimbabwe, Mozambique and E South Africa; Zanzibar and Mafia I, off Tanzania; also, status uncertain, in SE Ethiopia and Somalia#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    9–12 cm; male 6·5–8·1 g, female 6–6·5 g. Male nominate race in breeding plumage has head to throat and upperparts, including lesser and... read more


    Song consists of either high-pitched descending “titititititi-trooo” trill,... read more


    Coastal and riverine habitats, savanna woodland, broadleaf woodland, miombo woodland, dry forest,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Nectar, seeds and insects. Also takes spiders (Araneae) from webs and feeds them to fledglings. Forages singly and in pairs; often mixed... read more


    Egg-laying recorded in May and Oct in Angola, Aug in DRCongo, Jun and Aug–Sept in Uganda, Jul in Kenya, Jan and Aug–Sept in... read more


    Resident and migratory. In NE Gabon present Feb–May. In South Africa present as far S as... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common in most of geographical range, but less so in DRCongo, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and S Zambia. Range of microrhynchus possibly extends... read more

    Recommended citation

    Cheke, R. & Mann, C. (2020). Purple-banded Sunbird (Cinnyris bifasciatus). 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 28 February 2020).