Indigenous Nursery News Blog

Sunbirds and why they are important

Did you know that because Sunbirds feed almost exclusively on nectar, they are important pollinators of long, tubular flowers, such as those of the Cape-honeysuckle (Tecoma = Tecomaria capensis).

 Sunbirds' long thin tongues and long, thin, curved beaks enable them to reach down and sip the nectar at the bottom of the flower tube that bees and butterflies find impossible to reach.

Different species of Sunbird have different beak lengths. This suggests that they pollinate different species of flowers, and it is thought that those with a shorter beak feed more on insects than those with longer beaks.

Did you know that some flowers have even adapted to have Sunbirds as their main pollinator? Sunbirds also feed on fruit occasionally, and insects and spiders, particularly when they are nesting. This is to increase the nutritional content of their diet. Sunbirds have a poor sense of smell, so rely very much on sight to locate their food.

Plant some of these indigenous nectar plants for Sunbirds to attract these little feathered jewels to your garden:

Cape Honeysuckle (Tecomaria - Tecoma capensis)

Sunbird Bush (Metarungia longistrobis)

Aloe species, especially Aloe fosterii

Tree Fuschia (Halleria lucida)

Wild Dagga (Leonotis leonurus)

Feathery Touch-me-not (Melianthus comosus)

.For more suggestions, visit us at Random Harvest Indigenous Nursery in Muldersdrift. Our staff would love to help you choose plants for Sunbirds to put in your garden.

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