Vigor’s Sunbird      Aethopyga siparaja vigorsii


  • Aethopyga : Greek word  aithos – fire, burning heat; puge– rump
  • Siparaja : Malay name Sipa raja for the Sunda Crimson Sunbird
  • Vigorsii: Named after Irish zoologist Nicholas Aylward Vigors (1785–1840)

 Vernacular Names:  Guj: Phulraj, Mal: Tenkili, Mar: Kirmiji suryapakshi

Distribution in India: Resident of Western Ghats in India.

Description: Size Male 15 cm, wt. of 7·9 g; size of female 10 cm, wt. of 7·7 g. It has a heavy, strongly curved bill. The male has forehead to centre of crown as metallic blue-green, metallic violet or blue cheek spot; nape to mantle and shoulders are dark, dull crimson-red, back is blackish, patch on lower back is pale yellow. The uppertail-coverts and elongated narrow central tail feathers are blackish-brown, edged metallic blue, outer rectrices are tipped dark grey, edges of other tail feathers are metallic green. The upperwing is blackish-brown; throat to breast is scarlet with yellow streaks, metallic violet or blue malar streak, breast is bordered below by thin blackish band which extends downwards to form narrow black patch. The rest of underparts are grey, underwing-coverts and axillaries are white; iris is red-brown to crimson; bill is blackish, dark brown below; legs are dark brown to blackish. The female has crown, nape and mantle as greyish-olive, back olive, brightening to olive-yellow on rump and uppertail-coverts. The tail is black, outer webs are tipped olive, inner webs are tipped white, central feathers are olive, wing is dark brown, edged olive; chin is whitish-grey, throat to breast are olive-grey, rest of underparts grey, some individuals with chin to breast are dull orange-scarlet; bare parts are as male. The juvenile male is occasionally like adult female, but with dull scarlet throat and breast, the juvenile female as adult but greyer below.

Habitat:  It is found in evergreen and moist-deciduous forest, and forest edge, particularly around flowering trees and shrubs. It is found from foothills up to 1000 m.

Food habits: It eats nectar, small insects, and spiders. It forages mostly in small groups.

Breeding habits:  They breed in Jun–Oct. The nest is purse-like, with porch, ornamented with scraps of bark, paper and caterpillar frass, and attached to twig over stream, or suspended from bush or exposed roots along earth cuttings in hilly country. They lay a clutch of 1–3 eggs.