Family Sunbirds (Nectariniidae)

Least Concern

Western Violet-backed Sunbird (Anthreptes longuemarei)


French: Souimanga violet German: Violettmantel-Nektarvogel Spanish: Suimanga violeta

Cinnyris longuemarei


, 1831,

#R, “Senegambia superior” = Senegal


See A. gabonicus. Two subspecies groups, separated geographically. Race haussarum sometimes included in nominate. For subspecies group, name angolensis awarded priority over nyassae by First Reviser#R. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. l. longuemarei (Lesson, 1831) – Northern Violet-backed Sunbird – Senegal S to Guinea-Bissau and E to N Sierra Leone.
  • A. l. haussarum Neumann, 1906 – E Guinea E to N Cameroon, Central African Republic, extreme SW Sudan, South Sudan, N DRCongo, N & W Uganda and W Kenya.
  • A. l. angolensis Neumann, 1906 – Southern Violet-backed Sunbird – S Congo, SW & SE DRCongo, Angola, Zambia, Malawi W of Rift Valley, and W Tanzania.
  • A. l. nyassae Neumann, 1906 – E Tanzania, Malawi E of Rift Valley, N Mozambique and E Zimbabwe.
  • Descriptive notes

    13–14 cm; 9·8–14 g. Distinctive sunbird with almost straight, stout bill. Male nominate race has metallic violet head, throat and upperparts, bluer on rump... read more


    Song (race angolensis) a rapid series of five or six rising and falling chatters before... read more


    Savanna woodland, including acacia (Acacia), miombo and Uapaca woodlands, gallery... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, including beetles (Coleoptera), flies (Diptera), lepidopteran larvae and Hymenoptera; spiders (Araneae). Also nectar from... read more


    Egg-laying in Feb–May and Nov in W Africa, mostly Jan–Mar in E Africa; Feb and Sept–Dec in DRCongo, Feb, Jul, Sept, Oct... read more


    In W Africa moves N in Jan–May, to breed in N savanna in dry season. Probably sedentary in... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Uncommon in W Africa; common in S Sudan and savannas of DRCongo; not uncommon in Uganda W of Budongo Forest; scarce in S Africa, uncommon in Malawi... read more

    Recommended citation

    Cheke, R. & Mann, C. (2019). Western Violet-backed Sunbird (Anthreptes longuemarei). 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 23 August 2019).