Male Palestine sunbird. December 2015, AUB Campus, Beirut, Lebanon

The Palestine sunbird (Cinnyris osea)

By Fouad Itani

The Palestine sunbird (Cinnyris osea) is a very attractive small passerine bird of the sunbird family measuring only 11cm long, with a wingspan of 15cm, and an average weight of 7g.

During the breeding season the dark male has a metallic black, green and blue plumage with occasional orange tufts on the breast sides.  Whereas the female and juveniles have a duller grayish plumage with paler underparts.

 Male Palestine sunbird feeding on flower nectar. December 2015, AUB Campus, Beirut, Lebanon


The Palestine sunbird is found in well-vegetated areas like orchards and gardens where it feeds on insects and extract nectar from the flowers using its long tongue and decurved bill.

 Male Palestine sunbird has his head covered with pollen. December 2015, AUB Campus, Beirut, Lebanon

In Lebanon the Palestine sunbird is a common breeding resident in the south to some parts of Beirut, and a winter visitor to the southern coastal strip, with increasing sightings in Tabarja, Adma, and Jounieh. This indicates that its population is suspected to be stable and expanding farther towards the North.


The Palestine sunbird has a high call and nice jingling songs. The female lays an average of two eggs in a ball like nest made out of plant material dangled from a tree branch or placed inside a bush.  The eggs are incubated for two weeks and the young will start fledging from two to three weeks later.

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