My Sunbirds In Bangkok
Olive-backed Sunbirds In Bangkok
Olive-backed Sunbirds are common in Thailand, even in Bangkok where I live. I am often amazed that these beautiful little birds manage to thrive in such a polluted, busy, urban area but thrive they do and a pair frequently visit the few plants that I have in my yard and balcony.
It is really interesting to watch these little sunbirds visiting flowering plants to drink the nectar and forage for insects - they are a real jewel in a concrete jungle.
The Olive-backed Sunbirds that visit our house have not only entertained me and my wife but have captured the attentions of family and neighbors. Hopefully in this lens I can pass on some of my enthusiasm for these beautiful little creatures to the readers; they are one of my favorite birds.
Olive-backed Sunbird photo by Alex Vargas
Have You Ever Seen A Sunbird? Please Let Us Know Here
Have you ever seen an Olive-backed Sunbird?
Watch An Olive-backed Sunbird Feeding On A Flower
Before I say anything more about Olive-backed Sunbirds take a few moments to watch this great little video clip of a male feeding on a flower; you can learn a little about its behavior in this video clip and see what a colorful little character it is. This video clip shows the lovely plumage of the male very clearly.
Learn About All Of The Sunbird Species In The World
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The Feeding And Foraging Behavior Of Olive-backed Sunbirds
A Little Bit of OrnithologyOlive-backed Sunbirds are fun to watch whilst feeding. In fact I often watch them feeding whilst I am feeding since they frequently come down to forage whilst I am having my breakfast in the morning - in a way they are my breakfast companions!
Olive-backed Sunbirds have two different feeding strategies:
1. Nectar Drinking - It is obvious from the photos that the Olive-backed Sunbird has a special bill, this is for drinking nectar. However, it often does not insert its bill into a flower's aperture to get nectar (although it often will), therefore assisting in the pollenation of the flower, but instead pierces the base of the flower, "stealing" the nectar. A neat little trick!
Olive-backed Sunbirds usually perform this trick whilst perched, although they sometimes hover in the fashion of a hummingbird as the one in the photo here is doing.
They will also drink from nectar feeders designed for hummingbirds: hummingbird nectar feeders.
2. Insect Gleaning - This species is rather partial to small insects and other tiny invertebrates, something which should please the local gardeners. Rather than picking insects from leaves or pecking at them, the sunbird "gleans" the insects with a sort of sideswipe action with the bill across leaves and petals. Occasionally this species will make a special effort to chase an invertebrate and I have even seen them chasing insects around in mid air.
Use This Feeder to Attract Sunbirds
Just fill this little feeder up with nectar or sugar solution and hang it in an attractive spot to feed sunbirds if you live in Asia. If you are in North or South America it will serve hummingbirds. Birds will come to feed at the four feeding ports that are designed to look like flowers.
Here Are The Plants In Our Yard That Attract The Sunbirds
Something that is a constant surprise to me is how small a patch of vegetation is needed to attract Olive-backed Sunbirds in Bangkok, in fact there are quite some number of species that are able to survive in this concrete jungle.
At our house we only have a tiny patch of habitat available for these birds in our yard and balcony, but they still come every day to have a feed on whichever flowers are blooming at the time. In this photo you can see the small collection of plants that attracts the sunbirds.
These plants are watered daily so that they are healthy and bloom quite frequently and they are also not treated with any type of insecticide meaning that insects are abundant and the sunbirds come down to eat these too; in this way the birds act as a natural bio-control. In fact birds are great at controlling insect and other invertebrate populations and when you eliminate slugs, snails, insects and other creepy crawlies from your yard you also help to eliminate birds too; many species are scarce or close to extinction now because of the use of pesticides in gardens, but not in our yard!
Their Favorite Flowers - The Sunbirds Seem To Love These
In particular, in our yard, the sunbirds seem to enjoy feeding from these flowers pictured above. As you can see they are tiny, clustered flowerettes, with no apparent opening for a bird or insect to get into the nectar chamber. This highlights the Olive-backed Sunbirds flower piercing ability and role as a "nectar thief".
Of course it is not just my plants they feast on but all the neighbors' too who have similar collections of plants in their yards and on their balconies - these are community sunbirds! In fact when you put together all the plants in similar yards along our street, it becomes obvious that these little birds have quite a territory even in what at first appears to be a wildlife free zone.
Olive-backed Sunbirds' Range In Thailand - They Are Everywhere!
This species is a remarkably ecologically tolerant bird being able to adapt to living in Bangkok it would have to be. Its natural habitat is forest and mangroves but it has managed to adapt to live in virtually all habitats including monocultural palm oil and rubber plantations, cities, gardens and all sorts of cultivation with scattered trees.
It is funny, actually, that when you are out bird watching in Thailand you are far more likely to see this species of sunbird in a park or garden than you are in its natural habitat; spend some time in one of the parks in Bangkok and you can see this species quite easily.
The distribution map from this extract you can see pictured here from Craig Robson's A Field Guide to the Birds of Thailand helps to illustrate my point.
Some More Olive-backed Sunbird Video Clips To Watch
Now that you know a little more about these charming birds you can choose a few more of these video clips to watch and get a better idea of how they behave; there is nothing like seeing a bird in action to really get an idea of its character, often photos do not do birds justice.
The abundance of Olive-backed Sunbird video clips on YouTube highlights how this lovely little species brightens up many people's lives and how common it is throughout much of Asia, not just Thailand.
Enjoy watching their cheeky behavior of these garden birds in a few of these videos.
Please Let Us Know What You Think Of Olive-backed Sunbirds Now
What is your impression of Olive-backed Sunbirds after reading this lens?
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This really informative guide will teach you how to get the most out of your hobby and how to identify the birds you see either in the garden or out on birding trips. This is a highly rated book for beginners but even experienced birders will be able to learn from this publication from one of America's foremost ornithologists.
Some Of My Photographs Of Other Birds From Thailand
I am lucky enough to be able to lead bird watching tours around Thailand which gives me plenty of opportunity to see many species on a regular basis. Sometimes these tours focus on photography which then gives me the chance to get some shots of some of the colorful birds that we see. I use just a compact digital camera but such is the quality of these gadgets these days that I am able to get quite a lot of good pictures; here are just a few of them.