Family Sunbirds (Nectariniidae)

Least Concern

Shining Sunbird (Cinnyris habessinicus)


French: Souimanga brillant German: Glanznektarvogel Spanish: Suimanga brillante

Nectarinia habessinica

Hemprich and Ehrenberg

, 1828,

Eilet, Eritrea


Hitherto treated as conspecific with C. hellmayri, which see. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. h. habessinicus (Hemprich & Ehrenberg, 1828) – NE Sudan, Eritrea and N & C Ethiopia.
  • C. h. alter Neumann, 1906 – E Ethiopia and N Somalia.
  • C. h. turkanae van Someren, 1920 – SE South Sudan, NE Uganda, Kenya, S Ethiopia and SW Somalia.
  • Descriptive notes

    13 cm; male 9·5–11·5 g, female 7–11 g. Male nominate race has purple forecrown, otherwise head and upperparts iridescent green, with golden sheen... read more


    Song a warbling sequence of fast “ch ch ch ch ch” preceding series of attenuated “chee-chee-chee”.... read more


    Dry thornbush and dry riverbeds with flowering plants, cultivations, gardens, rocky hillsides and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Nectar, fruits of Salvadora persica; insects and spiders (Araneae). Forages singly, in pairs and in groups; sometimes... read more


    Laying recorded in Dec–Jan in Sudan, Dec–Feb in Eritrea, Jan, Apr and Jun in Ethiopia, Feb–May in Somalia and Apr–... read more


    Wanders in search of flowering plants.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Very common in N of range, e.g. Red Sea hills of Sudan; becomes uncommon in S, e.g. in N Kenya, and just one definite record in NE... read more

    Recommended citation

    Cheke, R., Mann, C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Shining Sunbird (Cinnyris habessinicus). 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).