This poor little frightened Sugar-bird flew into my house today. Summer is a time when the Sugar-birds invade our gardens. They are greedy feeders at the sugar water feeder. Often there are up 14 birds vying for the feeder, making a huge noise and fights are frequent.
The Cape Sugar-bird is a grey-brown bird that easily recognizable by a spot of yellow under its tail and the very long tail feathers present in males. The male is 34–44 cm long, and the shorter-tailed, shorter-billed, and paler breasted female 25–29 cm long. Another characteristic of the Cape Sugar-bird is the sound it makes when it flies. The main flight feathers are arranged in such a way that when the bird beats its wings, a fr rt-fr rt sound is made with the intention of attracting females.
The Cape Sugar-bird is a specialist nectar feeder when it comes to feeding off Proteaceae. Its long, sharp beak is used to reach the nectar of a variety of species of protea with its long brush-tipped tongue. The staple diet of this sugar-bird is nectar; however, it will also eat spiders and insects. The characteristic strong winds in the Cape may make feeding off protea heads difficult, but the Cape Sugar-bird has adapted to this with the development of sharp claws.
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