Amazing Images of Palestine Sunbird Babies at Dinner Time in Tyre

Photography courtesy of SPNL Board Member Shawki Saidi ©

This new feature portrays some of the glorious species that we encounter everyday in Tyre Southern Lebanon . It’s often easy to take these day-to- day birds for granted, but we hope to share some of our most beautiful residents in full color images.

Palestine Sunbird is the only representative of the family Nectariniidae that occurs in Lebanon. It is common in most climates in the country, and especially familiar around gardens which have allowed this attractive species to expand as a result of the greater abundance of flowering plants and preventing random hunting.

At SPNL board member Shawki Saidi garden in Tyre Southern Lebanon one or two pairs are usually present within the residential area itself. The pictures included in this gallery include a very rare glimpse of the Baby Birds at Dinner Time.


These images were taken on July 2013. Please enjoy them.

Palestine Sunbird Nectarinia osea
  • Habitat: Lives in a variety of habitats, anywhere there are nectar producing flowers: in natural woodlands, but mainly in gardens, towns, and parks
  • Food: Mainly nectar, from wildflowers and in gardens. The chicks are fed mostly insects. The principal garden flowers whose nectar is sipped are hibiscus, honey-suckle, and others. In nature, the Sunbird is the major or only natural enemy of the acacia mistletoe, (a parasite of acacia trees, with green flowers which turn red later on, flowering all year round). The Sunbird also feeds on a variety of other natural flowers such as moringa, zygophyllum and others. Sunbirds are curious birds, checking out anything new in their territory. As a result it is also easily accustomed to a bird table offering sugar water which it sips using its tongue.
  • Distribution: The species has two sub-species. One is common in central Africa, between Mali and southern Sudan. The subspecies we know resides only in our region, from Lebanon and southern Syria through Palestine and along the western Arabian peninsula to Yemen.
  • Distribution in Lebanon: Exceedingly common, mainly in the towns gardens, all over the country. Also common in open woodlands in the hills and in any area with flowering trees and bushes.
  •  Breeding: Among the early breeders, sometimes in February. Lays two or three clutches a year. Can sometimes found nesting in autumn or even winter, although these attempts rarely succeed.
  • Location of the nest: Suspended from a dangling branch in a sheltered site, in bushes or near a wall. The nest is closed, elongated, and entered from the side. Sometimes nests are built on verandahs and even in rooms indoors, hanging from lampshades or potted plants. The Sunbird often lays again in the same nest, and sometimes returns to it the following year. Even if the nest is destroyed, the Sunbird tends to return and lay in the same place, and often on the same branch, year after year. Building: The female builds, the male accompanies her. The nest is built of thin stems, as well as leaves, tree bark and spider webs. The lining is mainly feathers, bits of paper and torn leaves. Construction lasts about a week. If for some reason nesting did not succeed the materials are reused for building another nest in a different place.
  • Eggs: They are fed by both parents, but mainly by the female, with small insects. At the beginning, their beaks are wide and short. They fledge at the age of 13 days, but continue to sleep in the nest for another few days, with the female. The coloring of the young is like that of the female, and at two or three months they gradually begin replacing their feathers appear in the vibrant colors of the adult male.
  • Incubation: The female lays 2-3 eggs measuring 11×15 mm, and weighing 0.9 g. She incubates by herself, beginning when the last egg has been laid, for 12-13 days
  • Justification: This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
  • Taxonomic source(s):AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: _the_WP15.xls. Cramp, S.; Perrins, C. M. 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.Dowsett, R. J.; Forbes-Watson, A. D. 1993. Checklist of birds of the Afrotropical and Malagasy regions. Tauraco Press, LiSibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.
  • Population justification: The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as uncommon (Cheke et al. 2001).


  • Trend justification:The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.


  • References:Cheke, R. A.; Mann, C. F.; Allen, R. 2001. Sunbirds: a guide to the sunbirds, flowerpeckers, spiderhunters and sugarbirds of the world. Christopher Helm, London.


  • Recommended Citation: BirdLife International (2013) Species factsheet: Nectarinia osea. Downloaded from on 05/08/2013. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2013) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 05/08/2013. This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife .To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife’s Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

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