Mrs. Gould’s Sunbird

Mrs. Gould's Sunbird
Mrs. Gould’s Sunbird Aethopyga gouldiae, male, Nabang, Yunnan, China, elev. 940 m (3,080 ft.), January. (Craig Brelsford)

Mrs. Gould’s Sunbird Aethopyga gouldiae ranges India to China and Vietnam. Substantial range in China, with nominate resident southeast Tibet and dabryii southwest China to Hubei and Guangdong. HABITAT & BEHAVIOR Hills and mountains, in summer to 4000 m (13,120 ft.), lower in winter. Nectarivore; uses long, decurved bill to probe flowers. ID & COMPARISON Male has iridescent lilac crown, throat, ear patch, and patch at bend of wing (which may appear entirely black in poor light). Sides of face scarlet, as are nape, mantle, and lesser and median coverts. Wings brown, suffused with yellow. Rump yellow. Tail shiny blue, with white tips to tail feathers. Breast fire-orange (dabryii) or yellow (gouldiae). Rest of underparts yellow. Female has greyish head and is olive-green above and yellowish below, with bright yellow band on rump and prominent white on tail. Yellow rump band broader and brighter in Mrs. Gould’s than on female Black-throated Sunbird A. saturata; Black-throated darker and drabber overall. Male eclipse like female but usually lacks grey hood of female, instead having all-yellow breast up to often blackish throat. BARE PARTS Bill black; feet brown. VOICE Variable calls include thin seep, seep, seep. Busy warbling song includes chirps and whistles. — 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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