Family Sunbirds (Nectariniidae)

Least Concern

Southern Double-collared Sunbird (Cinnyris chalybeus)


French: Souimanga chalybé German: Kapnektarvogel Spanish: Suimanga acerado

Certhia chalybea


, 1766,

Cape of Good Hope, South Africa


Sometimes considered conspecific with C. manoensis and C. gertrudis. Additional proposed races in South Africa are capricornensis (described from Soutpansberg, in Limpopo Province), synonymized with subalaris, and albilateralis (from Port Nolloth, in W Northern Cape), considered inadequately differentiated from nominate. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. c. chalybeus (Linnaeus, 1766) – S Namibia and W South Africa (Northern Cape, Western Cape).
  • C. c. subalaris Reichenow, 1899 – E South Africa (Limpopo Province S to KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape) and Swaziland.
  • Descriptive notes

    12 cm; 6–10 g. Male nominate race breeding is metallic green on head, throat, upper breast, neck, mantle, back and rump; uppertail-coverts iridescent bright blue, tail... read more


    Song starts and finishes with a series of 6–12 harsh “ptzzer” or “ssssweee... read more


    Varied, including scrub, gardens, fynbos, plantations, protea (Protea) areas of highlands... read more

    Food and feeding

    Nectar, insects, spiders (Araneae); probes fig fruits (Ficus). Associated with the milkweed Microloma sagittatum; the... read more


    Egg-laying Apr–Dec in South Africa; sometimes double-brooded. Territorial. Males may sing from perches for 15 minutes or more,... read more


    Recoveries up to 34 km from where ringed suggest dispersion in search of food, and post-breeding... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common to fairly common or locally common throughout range.

    Recommended citation

    Cheke, R. & Mann, C. (2019). Southern Double-collared Sunbird (Cinnyris chalybeus). 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 10 December 2019).