Family Sunbirds (Nectariniidae)

Least Concern

White-breasted Sunbird (Cinnyris talatala)


French: Souimanga à ventre blanc German: Weißbauch-Nektarvogel Spanish: Suimanga pechiblanco
Other common names: White-bellied Sunbird, Talatala Sunbird

Cinnyris talatala

A. Smith

, 1836,

between Orange River and Kurrichaine, South Africa


Proposed races anderssoni (described from NW Namibia), lumbo (from Lumbo, in N Mozambique) and arestus (from near Eshowe, in KwaZulu-Natal) considered inadequately differentiated from birds elsewhere in species’ range. Monotypic.


SW & S Angola and N Namibia E to Zambia, Malawi and patchily to SE Tanzania, S to N & E Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland and E South Africa (North West and Limpopo Provinces S to Free State and KwaZulu-Natal).

Descriptive notes

10–12 cm; 6·4–10 g. Male breeding has head and upperparts, including median and lesser upperwing-coverts, iridescent green, uppertail-coverts iridescent... read more


Song complex and varied, often starting with up to six “tsk” notes, sometimes leading... read more


Dry savanna woodland, Baikiaea, Combretum, miombo and mopane woodlands, gardens,... read more

Food and feeding

Insects, such as aphids (Aphidoidea), and nectar. Forages singly, in pairs and in small, loose groups. Visits variety of flowering plants,... read more


Laying recorded in Sept–Oct in Zambia, Jan and Apr–Oct in Malawi, Jun–Dec in Zimbabwe, Feb–Mar in Namibia, Jan, Mar... read more


Resident and migratory. Some apparently move from drier W & S areas of S Africa to wetter E... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Abundant to locally common throughout geographical range. Occurs in several protected areas, e.g. Etosha National Park, in Namibia,... read more

Recommended citation

Cheke, R. & Mann, C. (2020). White-breasted Sunbird (Cinnyris talatala). 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 26 February 2020).