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The Temmick’s Sunbird is usually uncommon in its range.
This species is evaluated as Vulnerable in Malay Peninsula. But it occurs in some protected areas such as Kinabalu Park in Borneo.

Fr: Souimanga de Temminck   
All : Temmincknektarvoge
Esp : Suimanga de Temminck
Ital : Nettarinia di Temminck
Nd : Temmincks Honingzuiger
Sd: Temmincks solfågel


Ingo Waschkies
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Text by Nicole Bouglouan


HANDBOOK OF THE BIRDS OF THE WORLD Vol 13 by Josep del Hoyo-Andrew Elliot-Jordi Sargatal - Lynx Edicions – ISBN: 9788496553453

L’ENCYCLOPEDIE MONDIALE DES OISEAUX - Dr Christopher M. Perrins - BORDAS - ISBN: 2040185607

A Field Guide to the Birds of South-East Asia by Craig Robson. New Holland Publishers. ISBN: 9781780090498

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Temmick’s Sunbird
Aethopyga temminckii

Passeriforme Order – Nectariniidae Family

Male: L: 13 cm – Weight: 4,5 -6 g
Female: L: 10 cm – Weight: 5 g

The Temmick’s Sunbird’s name comes from the Dutch zoologist Coenraad Jacob Temminck (1778 – 1858), author of numerous books about ornithology.

The adult male has scarlet back, upperwing-coverts and breast. The rump is yellow turning brownish with purple gloss on the lower part. The uppertail-coverts are glossy purple and violet. The graduated tail is blackish-brown with scarlet edges, whereas the elongated central rectrices are scarlet with blackish centres. But usually, the uppertail appears scarlet first. On the wings, the flight feathers are dark brown with yellow-olive edges.
On the underparts, below the scarlet breast, the belly is grey with yellowish tinge in the centre. The flanks are mostly whitish.
The head is scarlet with lateral crown-stripes joining in a patch on central nape, and malar stripes. These stripes are glossed purple and violet.
The down-curved bill is black. The eyes are dark brown with black lores. Legs and feet are blackish to dull brown.

The adult female has grey head. The upperparts from hindneck to uppertail-coverts are yellowish-olive to olive-green. Wings and rectrices are fringed reddish-rufous. The underparts are pale grey washed greenish from chin to breast and on breast sides. Vent and undertail-coverts are tinged yellowish.
Bill, eyes, legs and feet are as male.

The juvenile resembles adult female with greyer underparts.

The Temmick’s Sunbird utters soft “cheet-cheet”. The song is a monotonous but rhythmic series “tit-it tit-it tit-it tit-it tit-it tit-it…”

The Temmick’s Sunbird frequents broadleaved evergreen forest, edges and secondary growths from lowlands and hills to lower montane forest and humid woodlands.
This species occurs from near sea-level up to 1500-1900 metres of elevation.

The Temmick’s Sunbird is found in S peninsular Thailand, Malay Peninsula, Sumatra and Borneo.
The species is probably resident in its range.

The Temmick’s Sunbird feeds primarily on nectar from flowers and mistletoes (Loranthaceae), and also takes small arthropods.
It usually forages alone, but sometimes in pairs, and may occasionally join mixed-species foraging flocks at nectar sources.
This is a very active bird, feeding by day in the canopy or at any level of the forest. It extracts the nectar by sucking. Sunbirds cannot store the nectar due to their peculiar anatomy. They do not have crop and their oesophagus is non-distensible. For this reason, they have to feed frequently.

The Temmick’s Sunbird is territorial during the breeding season. The male defends the area by singing from various perches, often at treetops, and may perform aggressive behaviour towards intruders.
They are monogamous, and the copulation follows some courtship displays by the male. The breeding behaviour of this species is poorly known, but the bright plumage of the male, the yellow rump and head and tail patterns are probably enhanced by postures and movements close to the female.
Some chases between mates are often observed in several sunbirds’ species.

The Temmick’s Sunbird performs undulating flight often accompanied by calls.

The breeding season varies according to the range, but often occurs between February and August.
The Temmick’s Sunbird’s nest is egg-shaped. There is an entrance-hole with a small porch, 1/3 down from the top. Such nest is made with dry grass and plant down, and lined with down too. We can see some ornaments such as paper, bark and other plant materials. This nest is suspended from small twig by a pointed roof.

The female lays 3 eggs. She incubates during about 13-15 days. The chicks are fed by both parents, and fledge 14-19 days after hatching.

The Temmick’s Sunbird feeds on nectar and small arthropods. It takes nectar from flowers, often red ones. It may adapt its feeding behaviour to numerous flowers. It also pierces the corollas of the largest flowers such as Hibiscus with its pointed curved bill.
It may sometimes perform flycatching to reach the nectar in tubular corollas, as hummingbirds do.