Mariqua sunbird

Mariqua sunbird
Nectarinia maquiquensis
Photo by Guillaume Emaresi (Flickr)

Common name:

Mariqua sunbird (en); beija-flor-de-Marico (pt); souïmanga de Mariqua (fr); suimanga del Marico (es); bindennektarvogel (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Nectariniidae

This species occupies two separate areas in sub-Saharan Africa. One population occurs from Eritrea to Tanzania while the other extends from Angola and south-western Zambia to northern South Africa.

This species is 10-12 cm long and weighs 11-12 g.

Mariqua sunbirds are mostly found in dry Acacia savannas, in rivers, streams and riparian woodlands, scrub dominated wetlands and swamp forests. They can also be found in suburban gardens.

They feed on nectar of a wide range of plants, namely Acacia, Aloe, Bauhinia, Cadaba, Crotalaria, Erythrina, Geranium, Kigelia, Kniphofia, Leonotis, Loranthus, Peltophorum, Callistemoni, Grevillea and Jacaranda. They also glean arthropods from foliage, namely flies, moths, caterpillars, wasps, termites and spiders.

Mariqua sunbirds breed in July-February. the female builds the nest alone, consisting of a compact, pear-shaped structure made of dry grass and spider web, and camouflaged with bark, lumps of resin, small flowers, plant seeds, caterpillar faeces and seed capsules. It is placed in dense foliage, 2-8 m above the ground. There she lays 1-3 eggs, which she incubates alone for 13-15 days. The chicks are fed by the female until fledging, but receive food from both parents for a few weeks after fledging.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as common to locally abundant. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

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