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Brown-throated Sunbird - BirdForum Opus

Photo by arian001
Mandai Orchid Garden, Singapore, 2005
Anthreptes malacensis


12·1–13·5 cm (4¾-5¼ in)

  • Pale brown throat and sides of head diagnostic. Upperparts dark iridescent green with rufescent olive tinge on wings, patch on shoulder, rump and uppertail coverts iridescent purple; underparts bright yellow


  • Olive upperparts and bright yellowish underparts distinctive. Has indistinct narrow yellowish patch above and below the eye.

Similar Species

Female can be distinguished from female Olive-backed Sunbird by larger size, straighter bill and the lack of white in tail.


Myanmar to southern Indochina through the Malay Peninsula south to the Greater Sundas, Bali and the Philippines.


This species and Grey-throated Sunbird were recently split from each other. Prior to the split the common species was called Plain-throated Sunbird.

Photo by Bob Philpott
Borneo, October 2009


There are 17 subspecies[1]:

  • A. m. malacensis: Southern Burma to peninsula Thailand, Indochina, Sumatra and southern Borneo
  • A. m. mjobergi: Maratua Island (off Borneo)
  • A. m. borneensis: Northern Borneo (Sabah, Brunei and adjacent islands)
  • A. m. chlorigaster: Cebu, Masbate, Negros, Panay, Sibuyan, Tablas, Romblon, Ticao
  • A. m. heliolusius: Southern Philippines (Basilan, western and central Mindanao and Talicod)
  • A. m. cagayensis: Cagayan Sulu Island (Sulu Sea)
  • A. m. paraguae: Southern Philippines (Balabac, Culion, Palawan and Calauit)
  • A. m. wiglesworthi: Sulu Archipelago (Bongao, Jolo, Tawitawi and Basbas)
  • A. m. iris: Southern Philippines (Sibutu and Sitanki)
  • A. m. heliocalus (sanghirara): Sangihe and Siau islands (off Sulawesi)
  • A. m. celebensis (citrinus, nesophilus): Sulawesi and adjacent islands
  • A. m. extremus: Banggai and Sula Islands
  • A. m. convergens: Western Lesser Sundas (Lombok to Pantar and Alor)
  • A. m. rubrigena: Sumba Island (Lesser Sundas)
  • A. m. anambae: Anambas Island (South China Sea)


Mangroves, beach scrub, riverine vegatation, forest edges, plantations and gardens.



Photo by robby thai
Kho Chang Island, Ranong, Thailand, April, 2015

Frequents trees as well as low shrubs. Very active and noisy, flitting about in search of nectar and small insects. Often feeds high on flowering coconut palms.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2015. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2015, with updates to August 2015. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. BF Member observations

Recommended Citation

External Links

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