Sunbird Family of Lehele Lodge

October 9, 2015
Sunbird Fledgings on Gondwana

Gondwana’s landscape comprises of open grass plains and plateaus, wetlands, rolling fynbos, renosterveld hills, riverine and sub-tropical thicket valleys and cliff faces. The array of vegetation types allows for a variety of bird species.

One of the many bird species found on Gondwana is the gorgeous Malachite Sunbird. This large sunbird is found in hilly fynbos including protea which is found in abundance on Gondwana. 

Malachite Sunbird on Gondwana

Sunbirds are monogamous, meaning they mate for life. They build oval shaped nests which they suspend or build into a bush. 

Female Sunbird (Mom)

Female Sunbird (Mom)

Male Sunbird (Dad)

Male Sunbird (Dad)

On Friday 2 October, we noticed that a Malachite Sunbird pair had nested inside the front porch light frame of Lehele Lodge, which is a very unusual place for them to suspend a nest. 

Lehele Sunbirds-1 Lehele Sunbirds-5

With amateur phone cameras, we tried to determine the possibility of little chicks inside the nest, as the mother bird seemed to be coming to feed them every 2 to 5 minutes. The nest must have already been there for a few weeks as the female incubates one to three dark-blotched greenish eggs for about two weeks before they hatch. Sunbird chicks are fed by both parents until fledging; they will continue to return to the nest to roost.

On Monday Morning we were fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of these beautiful little fledglings as they welcomed us in at the front door of Lehele Lodge. 

Lehele Sunbirds-4

Mom and dad are still feeding the youngsters, who are very quickly testing the waters outside of the comfort of their snuggly nest. They have also discovered that they can now fly. Sunbirds are said to grow fairly quickly after hatching. 

Lehele Sunbirds-6 Lehele Sunbirds-7

Go well little ones!

By Mary Strydom, Reserve Manager