Merops cafer Linnaeus, 1758, Cape of Good Hope, South Africa.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Sugarbird; French: Promйrops du cap; German: Kaphonigfresser; Spanish: Pбjaro Azъcar de el Cabo.
Females 9.5–11.5 in (24–29 cm), males 14.5–17 in (37–44 cm), including long tail; 1.5 oz (42 g). Rufous head and breast. Distinctive long bill and long, brownish tail feathers. Chin is white with a moustachial dark streak. Abdomen is whitish, vent yellow.
South Cape Province, South Africa.
Fynbos (coastal heathland).
Single or paired, sometimes in small flocks. Males in breeding season perform aerial displays in which wings are clapped together and tail is held high. Both sexes defend flowering bushes from other sugarbirds and sunbirds. Song is a sustained jumble of discordant notes. Emit harsh alarm call of chicks and clatters. Show local and altitudinal movements in response to flowering of proteas.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Forage on nectar, especially of Proteaceae, and on insects captured in flight or gleaned from plants.
Breed from February to August, but varies with local timing of flowering. The deep cup-shaped nest is placed in a bush or low tree and is made from grass and twigs and lined with plant down. Lay two buff to reddish brown eggs with brown spots, streaks, and blotches.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
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