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    Crimson Sunbird Aethopyga siparaja  
Crimson Sunbird Aethopyga siparaja copyright Rajneesh Suvarna; 2007
Crimson Sunbird (Female) Aethopyga siparaja
copyright Sumit K Sen
Crimson Sunbird (Juvenile) Aethopyga siparaja
copyright Sumit K Sen
    Bird of the Month: May 2002  
  Old name: Yellow-Backed Sunbird
Latin name: Aethopyga sipraja
Size 15cm

  The male has a long tail and a metallic-green crown and tail. The back is dark crimson as is the neck and sides. The bottle-green malar stripe helps in identification. The chin and breast are a striking scarlet. The belly is olive-yellow. The yellow-rump (which is not easily seen) gives this bird its old name. The female is grayish-olive from throat to breast with deep buff below. In the Western Ghats, the sub-species vigorsii is distinguished by the male having a yellow streaked breast and a smaller pin on the tail. In the Nicobar race nicobarica the male has violet-purple crown and tail.

Voice; Sharp, clicking call-notes. The breeding males also have a pleasant chirping song.
Food; Nectar, small spiders and insects.
Range; and distribution; Disjunct: Himalayan foothills from Kangra east. Parts of Southern Bihar, NE Madhya Pradesh, Bengal and orissa. Western Ghats between the Narbada River and Northern Kannara, possibly further south. North-eastern India and Nicobar Islands.
Status; Resident and locally common.

  This picture was taken by me while having my morning cigarette and a good cough in my house in Dehra Dun. We have two resident pairs in the garden, which have now become very tame. The males spend the entire day chasing each other from their part of the garden. They nest behind the tunbergia mysorensis creeper. It is not that rare and in fact much more easily seen than the Fire-tailed or Mrs Gould's Sunbirds which we see less often in our part of the world. The least common one we have in our area is the Nepal or Green-backed Sunbird which I have seen only twice. Amateur photographers are welcome to come and try and photograph this bird. I will provide the cigarette but the cough will have to be yours !!!

Bikram Grewal
Crimson Sunbird Aethopyga siparaja
copyright Sumit K Sen; Dehradun, India
Size: ?15cm ?10cm
Description: Unmistakably painted crimson and scarlet, the male sports a longish blue tail (except in some subspecies) with a yellow rump. The belly is yellowish-olive.
Female has white tips to outer tail feathers. Eclipse male/juveniles show a red throat and breast.

Call: Sharp "chee-cheewee", "pittit".

Distribution: Breeding resident, spread across the Himalayas and hills of India, including the Western Ghats area. <1800m [3].

Status: Fairly common to scarce in India. Range extends to the far east.

Forests, scrub, gardens and orchards.

Notes: Races nicobarica of Nicobar Is., vigrorsii, labecula and
  seheriae are to be found in our area. Recent authors have suggested that the form vigorsii of the western Ghats may best be treated as a separate monotypic species, Western Crimson Sunbird Aethopyga vigorsii [11].  
Crimson Sunbird Aethopyga siparaja Male
copyright Sumit K Sen; Jan 6, 2005; Dehradun
Crimson Sunbird Aethopyga siparaja Male
copyright Sujan Chatterjee; Kazirangav, India
Crimson Sunbird male Aethopyga siparaja
copyright Sumit Sen; Dehradun, India
  For more information regariding Crimson Sunbird see Sunbirds General  

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