Flame-breasted Sunbird – Cinnyris solaris

Star species – published on 20th of April 2020
Ecolodge_indonesia_logo_smallPage fully published with ECOLODGES INDONESIA
See Nectariniidae family (sunbirds, spiderhunters…)
In French: Souimanga de Timor en français

Cinnyris_solaris_main_flores_indonesieThis brightly colored sunbird is locally common but very localised. It is not officially endemic because the Lesser Sundas administered by two different countries (Indonesia and Timor Leste), but it only exists in a relatively small geographical area from the island of Sumbawa East to Timor.

The behavior, including breeding and diet, seems identical to that of the very widespread Olive-backed Sunbird. At first sight, it could even appear as a subspecies of the latter (similarity in size, shape, female plumage, etc.), but the two cohabit widely without territorial interaction. The voice is also radically different. They are, therefore, well distinct species, but the ecological niche gaps that enable such coexistence have not been explored.

Flame-throated Sunbird approaches your balcony as you sip your morning tea or coffee at Mbeliling Ecolodge

During the period of lockdown for half of humanity, in April 2020, we had the chance to settle in the superb Mbeliling Ecolodge on the island of Flores, in Indonesia, where the virus and the lockdown did not reach. The first morning, while we were enjoying the splendid view on the mountain, the forest, and the sea, with our hot drink in hand, many birds came to visit us. The place is rich in biodiversity, butterflies and dragonflies are also numerous. The first bird that perched right in front of us was this gorgeous male of Flame-throated Sunbird.

Cinnyris_solaris_5_indonesian_ecolodges_mbeliling_flores_adult_maleThe species is common in the gardens and in the surroundings of the property, where we were able to take other photos with a different light.

Cinnyris_solaris_4_indonesian_ecolodges_mbeliling_flores_adult_maleThe light, precisely, at 900 meters above sea level, is remarkably beautiful and suitable for photography. At the same time, on the lowlands, such in Labuan Bajo, there are just two hours where it is possible to take outstanding photos of birds and was the beginning of a very promising stay in a heavenly place!

Ecolodge_indonesia_logo_smallText by Valéry Shollaert
and Marinella Mejia

Taxonomy and subspecies

The birds of Wetar (one of the Lesser Sunda Islands in the north-eastern part of the range) have a slightly thicker beak, and the female is brighter yellow. They are separated in the subspecies C. s. exquisitus. The most likely sister-species is the Apricot-breasted Sunbird, who seems to replace the Flame-breasted Sunbird on this small island of Sumba where the latter is absent.





[Species #841 of the Holistic Encyclopedia of Birds project]


Click here to see the landscape and our description of Mbeliling Ecologethumbnail_mbeliling_ecolodge_flores_indonesia_fruitdove


List of other species pages: taxonomicalday per day


All photos and text are © Valéry Schollaert 2020
with acknowledgment to the copy editor: Remy Ty

5 thoughts on “Flame-breasted Sunbird – Cinnyris solaris

  1. Hi Valery.
    Were these photos taken at Mbeliling or Labuan Bajo, as the titles to the lower photos suggest?
    Also, was your juvenile still being fed by or accompanied by an adult? I’m interested in any breeding records from Flores.
    Richard (ELI supporter and Chief Editor of Kukila)


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