Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Anthreptes malacensis (Scopoli, 1786)

Species:A. malacensis
Common Names:Plain-throated Sunbird, Brown-throated Sunbird
Status:Common resident


Found throughout Singapore and its offshore islands.

General Biology

Often seen taking leaf baths, especially when gardeners spray their plants with water. Afther a bath it will dry itself, shaking its body and preening. It is also regularly seen in comfort behaviour, stretching their feet and wings as well as preenng. This sunbird can be fiercely territorial, attacking an intruding Blue-tailed Bee-eaters (Merops philippinus) nearby, pecking it around the vent.

The vocalisation of the two sexes can be heard on video HERE.


Plant food includes the fruits of Rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum), Blue Mahang (Macaranga heynei) and Simpoh Air (Dillenia suffruticosa). It takes nectar from flowers of Trumpet Tree (Tabebuia rosea), Indian Head Ginger (Costus spicatus), Coconut (Cocos nucifera), Golden Penda (Xanthostemon chrysanthus), Coral Tree (Erythrina variegata), Sandbox Tree (Hura crepitans), Lumnitzera littorea, Saraca (Saraca sp.), Umbrella Tree (Schefflera actinophylla) and Sea Apple (Syzygium grande).

It even rob nectar from a Hibiscus (Hibiscus sp.) flower.

Feed on tha pupae of micro-moths, but first have to remove the silky mass that the caterpillard cover themselves during pupating, spiders, spittlebug (Clovia sp.),

It forages along branches covered with creeping epiphytic ferns, turning over fronds to look for insects. It also joins other species in bird waves to dislodge insects.

Life Cycle

The nest is firmly lodged in the branches, the pouch has a side entrance with a porch above. It often uses spider's silk to bind the nesting materials. The full clutch is 2 eggs.


Wang, L. K. 2011. Sunbirds. Pp. 472. In: Ng, P. K. L., R. T. Corlett & H. T. W. Tan (editors). Singapore Biodiversity. An Encyclopedia of the Natural Environment and Sustainable Development. Editions Didier Millet, Singapore. 552 pp.

Wang, L.K. & Hails, C.J. 2007. An annotated checklist of birds of Singapore. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, Supplement 15: 1–179, Singapore.

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