Family Sunbirds (Nectariniidae)

Least Concern

Purple-throated Sunbird (Leptocoma sperata)


French: Souimanga à gorge améthyste German: Purpurkehl-Nektarvogel Spanish: Suimanga gorjipúrpura

Certhia sperata


, 1766,

Manila, Luzon, Philippines


Usually considered conspecific with L. brasiliana and hitherto with L. juliae; for differences, see those species. Nominate race intergrades and hybridizes with rather distinctive henkei (hybrids described as race theresae) and race trochilus does so with L. juliae (hybrids described as race davaoensis); an apparently stable hybrid population exists on Sibuyan (NC Philippines). Other proposed races in Philippines are manueli (from Karlagan, in Polillo Is), synonymized with nominate; minima (Mati Municipality, in Davao Province of Mindanao), synonymized with trochilus; and whiteheadi (N Luzon), subsumed into henkei. Described form marinduquensis is based on misidentification of female of Aethopyga magnifica. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. s. henkei (A. B. Meyer, 1884) – Calayan, Babuyan Claro, Fuga and Camiguin Norte, and mountains of N & C Luzon, in N Philippine Is.
  • L. s. sperata (Linnaeus, 1766) – N Philippines (C & S Luzon, Polillo and Catanduanes).
  • L. s. trochilus (Salomonsen, 1953) – W, C & S Philippines (Lubang, Mindoro, Busuanga, Culion, Tablas, Romblon, Sibuyan, Masbate, Ticao, Palawan, Dadagican, Ursula, Balabac, Panay, Guimaras, Biliran, Leyte, Samar, Basiao, Calicoan, Negros, Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor, Camiguin Sur, Dinagat, Nipa, Siargao, Bucas Grande, E Mindanao, Talicud, Pujada, Balut); also Maratua Is, off E Borneo.
  • Descriptive notes

    9–10 cm; 5·2–9 g. Male nominate race has crown iridescent coppery green or golden-green, side of neck, mantle and scapulars maroon, lower back, rump and uppertail-coverts... read more


    Song is apparently undescribed. Call a metallic “spee-spit” or “pee-pit”.


    Inhabits mangroves, primary and secondary forests, second growth, cultivated regions with trees and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet and foraging behaviour undescribed, but reported to be ‘very fond of flowering coconuts’. Usually observed in pairs, but occasionally... read more


    Nest with eggs in Apr in N (Camiguin Norte), laying in Dec on Palawan, Jan on Negros, Feb on Siquijor and Apr on Samar, and birds with... read more


    Presumably resident.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Generally common. Occurs in several protected areas, e.g. St Paul Subterranean River National Park (Palawan) and Rajah Sikatuna... read more

    Recommended citation

    Cheke, R., Mann, C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Purple-throated Sunbird (Leptocoma sperata). 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 12 December 2019).