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18

Olive-backed Sunbird

(Nectarinia jugularis)
Alternate name(s): "Yellow-bellied Sunbird", "Yellow-breasted Sunbird"
Aboriginal name(s): "tirridirri"

Size: 10-12 cm
Weight: 8-10 g
Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Olive-backed Sunbird at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "frenata"

ADULT

MALE

Frontal view of a male Olive-backed Sunbird; note the glossy blue "bib" with its black fringe, which is not always clearly shown in field guides (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Cairns, QLD, July 2013]

Frontal view of a male Olive-backed Sunbird (photo courtesy of R. Russell)
[Mount Molloy, QLD, May 2009]

Frontal view of a male Olive-backed Sunbird, now seen preening and thereby exposing its light-grey underwing
(photo courtesy of R. Russell)
[Mount Molloy, QLD, May 2009]

Close-up near-frontal/ventral view of a male Olive-backed Sunbird (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Cattana Wetlands, Cairns, QLD, November 2018]

Close-up near-frontal/ventral view of a male Olive-backed Sunbird (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Cattana Wetlands, Cairns, QLD, November 2018]

Lateral view of a male Olive-backed Sunbird (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Town of 1770, QLD, September 2017]

Lateral view of a male Olive-backed Sunbird (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Cairns, QLD, July 2013]

Lateral view of onto the upperparts of a male Olive-backed Sunbird (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Lakefield NP, Cape York peninsula, QLD, August 2019]

Lateral/ventral of a male Olive-backed Sunbird (photo courtesy of R. Russell)
[Mount Molloy, QLD, September 2010]

Near-dorsal view of a male Olive-backed Sunbird turning sideways (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Town of 1770, QLD, September 2017]

FEMALE

Frontal view of a female Olive-backed Sunbird (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Town of 1770, QLD, September 2017]

Frontal view of a female Olive-backed Sunbird (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Cairns, QLD, June 2013]

Near-frontal view of a female Olive-backed Sunbird (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Town of 1770, QLD, September 2017]

Near-lateral view of a female Olive-backed Sunbird (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Town of 1770, QLD, September 2017]

Close-up near-lateral view of a female Olive-backed Sunbird (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Town of 1770, QLD, September 2017]

Lateral view of a female Olive-backed Sunbird (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Cairns, QLD, July 2013]

Dorsal view of a female Olive-backed Sunbird (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Town of 1770, QLD, September 2017]

Pair of Olive-backed Sunbirds squabbling with the competition in the mirror (photo courtesy of M. Mearns)
[Near Cooktown, QLD, October 2008]

Breeding information

Breeding season: Oct - Feb Eggs: 2 - 3 Incubation period: 15 days Fledging age: ca. 15 days

The period listed above is the core breeding period; given the right conditions, Olive-backed Sunbirds can breed at any time of the year.

Nest building: Female Incubation: Female Dependent care: Female & male

Nest

"bungobittah", "malunna" = nest [Aboriginal]

Type: Domed hanging bottle Material: Bark strips, grass, rootlets, webs, paperbark flakes, spiders' cocoons Height above ground: 1 - 2(?) m

Pair of Olive-backed Sunbirds at their nest (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Lakefield NP, Cape York peninsula, QLD, August 2019]

Pair of Olive-backed Sunbirds at their nest (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Lakefield NP, Cape York peninsula, QLD, August 2019]

Male Olive-backed Sunbird at its nest (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Lakefield NP, Cape York peninsula, QLD, August 2019]

Eggs

"boyanga", "booyanga", "derinya", "dirandil", "koomura", "ngampu", "nooluk", "pateena" = Egg; "dirundirri" = eggs [Aboriginal]; "gawu" = eggs [gamilaraay]

Size:17 x 12 mm Colour: Greyish, with copious mid-brown specks Shape: Tapered oval

Behaviour

Female Olive-backed Sunbird harvesting material from a spider's web (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Cape York, Cape York peninsula, QLD, August 2019]

Male Olive-backed Sunbird hanging off a plant in a stance typical of sunbirds (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Town of 1770, QLD, September 2017]

Male Olive-backed Sunbird (photo courtesy of L. Tonnochy)
[Near Townsville, QLD, May 2012]

Food, Diet

To the best of our knowledge Olive-backed Sunbirds feed exclusively on nectar. They profit from the creation of urban gardens and parks with flowering plants.

Frontal view of a male Olive-backed Sunbird feeding on nectar from mistletoe in a grevillea
[Byfield NP, QLD, July 2009]

Lateral view of a female Olive-backed Sunbird feeding on nectar (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Rocky Creek, Cairns, QLD, June 2013]

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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