Adorned with a metallic blue chest and throat, and a bright plumage true to its name, the Yellow-bellied Sunbird can be found fluttering about the forest surrounding Thala. This often fearless bird also possesses a long curved beak, which it uses to hunt spiders from their homes and extract nectar from flowers.
Found in north-eastern Australia, as well as Southern Asia, the Yellow-bellied Sunbird breeds between September and February. Its nests are typically long, hanging structures made from bark, leaves, feathers, grass and caterpillar droppings woven together with spider webs.
This resourceful bird often places these mottled nests above porches or verandahs. This is thought to be added protection for their young, as predators typically stay clear of human activity. However, nests can also found suspended above water sources and in tree canopies.
After building their nests, the Yellow-bellied Sunbird abandons them for around a week before the female returns to lay one or two greenish-blue eggs. The incubation period is around 14 days, while the survival rate of hatchlings have been recorded as low as 20%. This is largely believed to be caused by predation.
The Yellow-bellied Sunbird also makes a good husband and wife team, as the female constructs the elaborate and highly decorated nests while the male helps to feed the young. Whilst primarily a nectar feeder, this bright little resident feeds its young insects.
Besides being a good hoverer, the Yellow-bellied Sunbird has a short and direct flight, due to its small, strong wings. Coming in at a mere 12cm in length, this golden addition to Thala’s forests often eludes the lens of less experienced photographers.
Check out this footage of a Yellow-bellied Sunbird making a nest at Thala: