The Purple Sunbird is a small sunbird. They feed mainly on nectar and insects, especially when feeding young. They have a fast and direct flight and can take nectar by hovering but often perch at the base of flowers. The male purple sunbird has two distinct types of plumage. The breeding male is characterized by the metallic bluish-black body, and the tuft of crimson and yellow feathers under each wing. Females are olive above and yellowish below.
The non-breeding male (below) purple sunbird has a much duller plumage know as the ‘eclipse plumage’ that is similar as the female, and have yellow underparts and a dark line of feathers running down the center of the throat and breast. The purple sunbird female (above) have indistinct super-cilium behind eye. The photos of the purple sunbird have been taken near my home. They come everyday in search for nectar on trees and their calls include a “chwit” or “chwing!”. In the morning they wake me up with their rapid rattle followed by ringing, metallic songs.
These types of sunbird are found in western Maharashtra. The above type is male purple rumpled sunbird. This one comes in front of my house nearly everyday and feeds on the nectar in the flowers on different trees. It does not stay at one place for long time and makes short and loud whistling sounds. They are generally present in pairs and the other one is present nearby. The male and the female purple rumped sunbird are different in size and differ in coloration. Below is a photo of a purple rumped female sunbird.
The bird in the left hand side is the purple rumped sunbird female. The male and the female sunbird are often seen together and move around in pairs.