The orange-breasted sunbird (Anthobaphes violacea) is the only member of the bird genus Anthobaphes, however it is sometimes placed in the genus Nectarinia. This sunbird is endemic to the fynbos habitat of southwestern South Africa.
The head, throat and mantle of the male are bright metallic green. The rest of the upper parts are olive green. The upper breast is metallic violet and the lower breast is bright orange, fading to paler orange and yellow on the belly. The tail is long and blackish, with elongated central tail feathers, which extend some way, belong the other feathers.
The female has olive-greenish grey upperparts and olive yellowish underparts, paler on the belly. The wings and tail is blackish. The juvenile resembles the female.
The call is a twangy, weak ssharaynk or sskrang, often repeated several times.
Obviously due to its restricted range within fynbos this sunbird is associated with Ericas, from which it takes nectar, insects (often taken in flight) and spiders. It breeds when the heath flowers, typically in May. The male defends its territory aggressively, attacking and chasing intruders.
This tame species is a common breeder across its limited range, and is an altitudinal migrant, moving to higher altitudes during the southern summer in search of flowers. It is gregarious when not breeding, forming flocks of up to 100 birds.
The orange-breasted sunbird subsists on flower nectar, insects and spiders.
The orange-breasted sunbird breeds from February to November (Mainly in May - August) The nest is an oval of rootlets, fine leafy twigs and grass, bound together with spider webs and lined with brown protea fluff. It has a side top entrance, but does not have a covered porch.
This species is not seriously threatened, although it may be adversely affected by urbanisation, habitat conversion to agriculture, and fynbos fires.
- Sinclair, Hockey and Tarboton, SASOL Birds of Southern Africa, ISBN 1-86872-721-1
- Orange-breasted sunbird - Species text in The Atlas of Southern African Birds.