Amethyst sunbird feeding juvenile Caption: Adult male Amethyst Sunbird feeds a juvenile female while both cling to the stem of a red-hot poker, Curry’s Post, KZN, South Africa.

Camera: Canon EF 50D; Lens: Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM; Focal length: 400mm; Aperture: f/8; Shutter speed: 1/1250; ISO: 640

I don’t have a garden in front of my cottage – just a tiny patch of lawn that falls away to natural grass that, at this time of year, is thick and very unkept.

Last year I did, however, plant three red-hot pokers on the edge of the lawn. This summer one colorful head bloomed, soon discovered by the sunbirds.

White taking some photos of a female amethyst sunbird (Chalcomitra amethstina) feeding on the nectar of the red-hot poker, an adult male appeared. Immediately the female opened her bill and the male responded by feeding her.

I don’t know why a male would feed an adult female in this way, so can only assume this was a juvenile, although it seemed quite capable of finding its own nectar from the red-hot poker (below, left). On the right is the adult male.

Female amethyst sunbird feeding on nectar of red-hot pokerAdult male Amethyst Sunbird feeding on nectar of red-hot poker




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+Scotch Macaskill