Family Sunbirds (Nectariniidae)

Least Concern

Violet-tailed Sunbird (Anthreptes aurantius)


French: Souimanga à queue violette German: Violettschwanz-Nektarvogel Spanish: Suimanga colivioleta

Anthreptes aurantium

J. P. Verreaux and J. B. É. Verreaux

, 1851,



See A. gabonicus (above). Males from Gabon and lower R Congo have buffer breast and more violet on throat than those from E DRCongo (Ituri Mts), and some adult females have white (not yellow) belly, but unclear whether recognition of geographical races warranted. Monotypic.


S Cameroon, S Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Congo E to W & N DRCongo (E to Ituri Forest); also NE Angola.

Descriptive notes

13–14 cm; 12–13 g. Smallish sunbird with long, slightly curved bill. Male has crown to mantle brilliant metallic blue or green (depending on reflections), back... read more


Little known. High-pitched flight call.


Forest, particularly secondary forest, gallery forest, seasonally flooded forest and swamp-forest,... read more

Food and feeding

Takes fruits (e.g. of Macaranga assas), berries; also insects, such as flying ants (Formicidae), termites (Isoptera), crickets (... read more


Egg-laying in Mar in Cameroon; Apr, Nov and Dec in Gabon; and Apr and Jun (and probably Jul and Sept) in DRCongo; young in nest, Dec, in... read more


Presumed resident.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Rare or uncommon in most of range. More numerous in Gabon, where one pair every 500 m along rivers. Recently recorded from Korup... read more

Recommended citation

Cheke, R. & Mann, C. (2019). Violet-tailed Sunbird (Anthreptes aurantius). 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).