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; 5·2–7·5 g. Male nominate race has crown iridescent coppery green or golden-green, side of neck, mantle and scapulars maroon, lower back,... read more


    Song “psweet, psweet, psweet, psweet, psweet, psweet…psit-it, psitit, psweet, psweet... read more


    Found in many forest types, including peatswamp-forest, heath forest, montane forest and mangroves... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, including caterpillars and aphids (Aphidoidea); also nectar, fruit and seeds. Forages singly, in pairs or in small groups;... read more


    Laying recorded in Feb–May in Bangladesh, Apr–May and Jul in Thailand, probably late Jan to May and Jul (nest-building seen... read more


    Some seasonal movements recorded in India and Bangladesh and in Borneo. Apparently regularly... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally local or rare in India; common in E Bangladesh (Sylhet), mainly Oct to mid-Jan, Locally common in Thailand, but uncommon in S; common and... read more

    Recommended citation

    Cheke, R. & Mann, C. (2018). 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 15 November 2018).