First, at 8 in the morning, before my time, the Ungardener captured this little fellow. We asked a birding friend why this bird looked so moth-eaten. So tatty. And he explained - that’s this year’s youngster. He is still growing in his new feathers. Trying out his first business suit after ‘years of dreary school uniform‘.
Junior came back for an afternoon refill.
Now this really smart metallic green jacket with the flashy double collar. Saville Row’s finest. Is his dear old dad. Last year’s male.
These 12 cm little birds go under the catchy title of Lesser Doublecollared Sunbirds. The double collar being a narrow flash of blue and a wider band of flaming red. Puts a robin ‘red’ breast to shame.
This is our most common sunbird in the Western Cape. Found wherever there are trees. They eat nectar (Tecomaria, Aloes, Melianthus and the gardener is working on extending the menu), beetles, spiders and flies. The nest is built of the usual plant bits and cobwebs. (We also have the twice as large Malachite sunbird, occasionally, so waiting on good pictures)
And with that he is gone.
BTW Spirulina, our damaged sparrow, is not growing her wings back. But she is growing new feathers. A black bib and chest plate, a Cape Sparrow. She is no hen sparrow. He is a young cock sparrow. So when the Ungardener rescued him, the parents were probably still hoping junior would learn to fly soon! We’re renaming HIM SpiruliNO.
Photos by Jurg,
words by Diana of Elephant's Eye