Birds of the Rwenzori Mountains National Park

SCARLET TUFTED MALACHITE SUNBIRD

(Nectarinia johnstoni dartmouthi)

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Male & Female Malachite Sunbird

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Male Scarlet Tufted Malachite Sunbird feeding on a Lobelia flower

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Female Scarlet Tufted Malachite Sunbird near a nest in a Rwenzori Giant Senecio tree

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Female Scarlet Tufted Malachite Sunbird sitting on eggs

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Description

Size Size: 27cm,11’’

Identification Is a big iridescent dark green Sunbird with scarlet pectoral tufts and extremely long central tail feathers. Non breeding male is mainly dusky brown with some green on wing-coverts,tail long as in breeding.

An adult female is more brown on upper parts,paler brown below with red pectoral tufts. A non breeding male is like a female but lacks pectoral tufts.

Call/Song Has a variety of harsh calls including a sit and an arresting loud,slow,wooden-sounding cattle.

(shree,shree,shree, shree shree shree,shreehh).

Distribution This sunbird is prevelant in the Rwenzori Mountains and sometimes seem around the edges of the pernament glaciers but can also be found in other parts of SW Uganda, central Kenya and NE,SW Tz.

Habitat. Mainly restricted to Alpine moorlands where it is common from 3000m to 4500m in areas of Giant Robelias and Senecios flowers, occasionally wanders down to 1800m.

Breeding/Nesting Breeding season is late November to early January (Rwenzori Mountains) and they nest in thick dead Lobelia leaves,or in thick dead leaves in forks of Senecio branches.

Movement They move from branch to branch to another by short flights and flutter between Lobila flowers

Local Information This Sunbird is not popular in the local community as the community seldom if at all climb to the heights where the birds are found.

 

 

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