Sunbirds (Nectariniidae)

Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis) - HBW 13, p. 296

French: Souimanga à dos vert German: Grünrücken-Nektarvogel Spanish: Suimanga Dorsioliva
Other common names: Yellow-breasted Sunbird (frenatus, flavigastra); Yellow-bellied Sunbird (“nominate group”); Black-breasted/Black-throated Sunbird (idenburgi)

Taxonomy: Certhia jugularis Linnaeus, 1766, Philippine Islands.
Genus often subsumed in Nectarinia. Forms a superspecies with C. buettikoferi, and possibly conspecific; closely related also to C. solaris, but considerable overlap in range. Races fall within two (sometimes treated in three) groups: “nominate group”, comprising populations from Continental Asia, Greater and Lesser Sundas, Sulawesi, parts of Moluccas, and Philippines S to New Guinea, Bismarck Archipelago, Solomon Is and Australia, and “clementiae group”, with remaining races (buruensis, clementiae, keiensis, idenburgi, teysma.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Certhia jugularis Linnaeus, 1766, Philippine Islands.
Genus often subsumed in Nectarinia. Forms a superspecies with C. buettikoferi, and possibly conspecific; closely related also to C. solaris, but considerable overlap in range. Races fall within two (sometimes treated in three) groups: “nominate group”, comprising populations from Continental Asia, Greater and Lesser Sundas, Sulawesi, parts of Moluccas, and Philippines S to New Guinea, Bismarck Archipelago, Solomon Is and Australia, and “clementiae group”, with remaining races (buruensis, clementiae, keiensis, idenburgi, teysmanni) from some small islands of Lesser Sundas, Moluccas and R Mamberamo region of N New Guinea. These groups may represent two separate species; moreover, the second group could arguably be split into three species, teysmanni and idenburgi each being accorded species rank and clementiae (with buruensis and keiensis) treated as an additional species. Alternatively, if all are deemed to belong to one species, teysmanni could be separated into a group of its own. It is possible that tendency for development of dark plumage is dependent on gene pool of colonizing population, and that clementiae (with buruensis and keiensis) descended from one “typical” race, idenburgi from another, and teysmanni from a third. It is not known if ranges of the two New Guinea races (frenatus, in “nominate group”, and idenburgi, in “clementiae group”) are contiguous, although a female of former and a male of latter have apparently been found together at Aiome, in R Ramu drainage (in NE part of island). Birds on Andaman Is currently placed in race andamanicus, but some variation exists, indicating that perhaps more than one race is involved. Conversely, several races poorly differentiated, e.g. blanfordi could perhaps be included in klossi or ornatus, and robustirostris in frenatus. Race name pictus, described from NW Basilan (in W Philippines), was based on a composite specimen, major parts deriving from nominate race. Many additional races have been described, all considered insufficiently distinct to warrant retention: tamdaoensis (from NE Vietnam) treated as synonym of rhizophorae, and annamensis (Nha Trang, in C Vietnam) included in flammaxillaris; heliobletus (Tanjong Dungun, in Peninsular Malaysia), microleucus (Pulo Taya, off SE Sumatra), heliozetetus (Tanjung Rengsam, on Bangka I, off SE Sumatra), zapegus (Pulo Subi, in Natuna Is), heliomanis (Salintukan, in E Borneo) and pectoralis (Java) all synonymized with ornatus; in Philippines, dinagatensis (from Dinagat) and mindanensis (Zamboanga, in W Mindanao) both included in nominate; meyeri (N Sulawesi), dissentiens (Indrulaman, in S Sulawesi) and saleyerensis (Salayer I, off SW Sulawesi) all merged with plateni; zenobius (Ambon, in S Moluccas) considered inseparable from clementiae; and hachisuka (Obi, S of Halmahera), valia (Goodenough I, off SE New Guinea) and, in Australia, macgillivrayi (Cape York, in N Queensland), olivei (Cairns, in NE Queensland) and australis (Port Molle = Airlie Beach, Whitsundays, in E Queensland) all merged with frenatus. Twenty-two subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • flammaxillaris (Blyth, 1845) - Myanmar, Thailand, Indochina (except N) and N Peninsular Malaysia (S to Penang and Kuantan); probably W to SE Bangladesh.
  • rhizophorae (Swinhoe, 1869) - S China (S Yunnan, Guanxi, Guangdong, Hainan I) and N Vietnam.
  • andamanicus (Hume, 1873) - Andaman Is.

     See all 22 subspecies
  • flammaxillaris (Blyth, 1845) - Myanmar, Thailand, Indochina (except N) and N Peninsular Malaysia (S to Penang and Kuantan); probably W to SE Bangladesh.
  • rhizophorae (Swinhoe, 1869) - S China (S Yunnan, Guanxi, Guangdong, Hainan I) and N Vietnam.
  • andamanicus (Hume, 1873) - Andaman Is.
  • proselius Oberholser, 1923 - N Nicobar Is (Car Nicobar).
  • blanfordi (Stuart Baker, 1921) - Katchal and Kondol (Nicobars).
  • klossi (Richmond, 1902) - Nicobar Is (except Car Nicobar, Katchal and Kondol).
  • ornatus Lesson, 1827 - C & S Malay Peninsula (S of Penang and Kuantan), Sumatra and most satellites, Borneo, Java, Bali and Lesser Sundas (except Sumba, Timor and some small islands), probably also Tanimbar Is.
  • polyclystus Oberholser, 1912 - Enggano I, off W Sumatra.
  • obscurior Ogilvie-Grant, 1894 - N Philippines (N Luzon).
  • jugularis (Linnaeus, 1766) - Philippine Is (except N Luzon, SW and Sulu Is).
  • aurora (Tweeddale, 1878) - SW Philippines (Calauit, Busuanga, Culion, Dumaran, Palawan, Ursula, Balabac, Lumbucan), including islands in N Sulu Sea (Agutaya, Cuyo, Cagayancillo).
  • woodi (Mearns, 1909) - Sulu Archipelago (Balukbaluk, Jolo, Dammai, Simaluc, Siasi, Tawi-Tawi, Sanga Sanga, Bongao, Papahag, Simunul, Manuk Manka, Sitanki, Omapoy, Sibutu, Tumindao, Saluag, Tres Islas), in S Philippines.
  • plateni (A. W. H. Blasius, 1885) - Talaud Is, Sangihe I, Siau I, and Sulawesi (including Manadotua, Manterawu, Bangka, Togian Is and Salayar).
  • robustirostris (Mees, 1964) - Banggai Archipelago and Sula Is (off E Sulawesi).
  • infrenatus E. J. O. Hartert, 1903 - Butung, Hoga I and Tukangbesi Is, off SE Sulawesi.
  • teysmanni Büttikofer, 1893 - islands in Flores Sea (Tanahjampea, Kalao, Bonerate, Kalaotoa and Madu).
  • frenatus (S. Müller, 1843) - N Moluccas (Morotai, Halmahera, Ternate, Mare, Moti, Kayoa, Bacan, Obi and Gomumu, possibly also Bisa) E to New Guinea (except N coastal region), Aru Is, D’Entrecasteaux Archipelago and NE Australia (N & E Queensland).
  • buruensis E. J. O. Hartert, 1910 - Buru, in S Moluccas.
  • clementiae Lesson, 1827 - Boano, Seram, Ambon, Saparua, Nusa Laut and Watubela Is.
  • keiensis Stresemann, 1913 - Kai Is.
  • idenburgi Rand, 1940 - N New Guinea (R Mamberano system E to R Ramu drainage).
  • flavigastra (Gould, 1843) - Bismarck Archipelago and Solomon Is.