Family Sunbirds (Nectariniidae)

Least Concern

Ruby-cheeked Sunbird (Chalcoparia singalensis)


French: Souimanga à joues rubis German: Rubinwangen-Nektarvogel Spanish: Suimanga carirrubí

Motacilla singalensis

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,

Ceylon; error = Malacca, Peninsular Malaysia


Geographical variation not well marked; in addition, described race rubinigentis (from Cachar, in NE India) considered inseparable from assamensis, and stellae (from Trat Province, in S Thailand) indistinguishable from koratensis. Eleven subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. s. assamensis Kloss, 1930 – C Nepal (from Chitwan) E to NE India (S from Assam), Bangladesh, N Myanmar, N Thailand and S China (W & S Yunnan).
  • C. s. internota (Deignan, 1955) – S Myanmar and S Thailand (S to Isthmus of Kra).
  • C. s. interposita Robinson & Kloss, 1921 – peninsular Thailand S of Isthmus of Kra.
  • C. s. koratensis Kloss, 1918 – E Thailand and Indochina.
  • C. s. singalensis (J. F. Gmelin, 1789) – Peninsular Malaysia S from N Perak.
  • C. s. sumatrana Kloss, 1921 – mainland Sumatra, Lingga Archipelago and Belitung.
  • C. s. panopsia Oberholser, 1912 – islands off W coast of Sumatra (Banyak Is, Nias I, Batu Is).
  • C. s. pallida Chasen, 1935 – N Natuna Is.
  • C. s. borneana Kloss, 1921 – Borneo (including Banggi I).
  • C. s. bantenensis (Hoogerwerf, 1967) – W Java.
  • C. s. phoenicotis (Temminck, 1822) – C & E Java.
  • Descriptive notes

    10–11 cm; male 8·2–9·1 g, female 8·6 g. Male nominate race is dark with brilliant emerald-green iridescence above; upperwing blackish, with... read more


    Song a shrill rising trill ending in short double note, followed by descending trill ending in 2... read more


    Various forest types, including mangroves, regenerating forest, and forest edge, also coastal and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, including caterpillars, and probably spiders (Araneae); also fruit, pollen and nectar. Forages in upper storey, occasionally lower... read more


    Nest-building in Feb (Mizoram) and laying end Mar to Jun in India; laying Mar and May–Aug in Myanmar, at least Mar–Aug in Malay... read more


    None recorded. Possibly crosses water to reach Singapore.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Rare in Nepal and Bhutan, but locally common in other parts of NE Indian Subcontinent; common in Thailand and uncommon to common in Malay Peninsula;... read more

    Recommended citation

    Cheke, R. & Mann, C. (2019). Ruby-cheeked Sunbird (Chalcoparia singalensis). 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).