Little Spiderhunter

Little Spiderhunter Arachnothera longirostra, Xishuangbanna, Yunnan, China. (Craig Brelsford)

Little Spiderhunter Arachnothera longirostra ranges India to Greater Sundas and Philippines. Nominate in western Yunnan (Ruili), sordida in southern Yunnan (Xishuangbanna), southeast Yunnan, and northwest Guangxi. HABITAT & BEHAVIOR Lowland forests (lower canopy), around plantations, and in gardens; to 2000 m (6,560 ft.). Often around banana trees, sipping nectar from banana flowers and making cuplike nest on underside of leaves. Often hovers to reach nectar and pluck spiders from web. ID Has mainly grey head (olive-grey crown), olive-green upperparts with darker wings and tail, and yellow underparts. White on throat, as well as above and below eyes, contrasts with dark brown eyes and blackish moustachial stripe. Displays orange wing tufts during courtship. Juvenile throat yellowish. BARE PARTS Decurved bill much longer and stronger than sunbirds; all-black in male, black with pale base to lower mandible in female. Feet bluish-grey. VOICE Song a single, loud cheep, sometimes on two levels, continuously and rapidly repeated. Also grating, squeaky buzz. — Craig Brelsford

THE SUNBIRDS OF CHINA has research on all 13 species in the family Nectariniidae in China. Click any link below:

Ruby-cheeked Sunbird Chalcoparia singalensis
Brown-throated Sunbird Anthreptes malacensis
Purple Sunbird Cinnyris asiaticus
Olive-backed Sunbird C. jugularis
Mrs. Gould’s Sunbird Aethopyga gouldiae
Green-tailed Sunbird A. nipalensis
Fork-tailed Sunbird A. christinae
Black-throated Sunbird A. saturata
Crimson Sunbird A. siparaja
Fire-tailed Sunbird A. ignicauda
Purple-naped Sunbird Kurochkinegramma hypogrammicum
Little Spiderhunter Arachnothera longirostra
Streaked Spiderhunter A. magna


Daniel Bengtsson served as chief ornithological consultant for Craig Brelsford’s Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of China, from which this species description is drawn.

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