Crimson-backed Sunbirds are tiny, only 8 cm long. They have thin down-curved bills and brush-tipped tubular tongues. The adult male is velvety red on the mantle and wing coverts and has a broad red breast band. The crown is shiny green and there are pink-violet patches on the throat and rump. The underside from the breast is yellowish. There is a black edge to the bib that separates the yellow of the underside.The non breeding male has more olive on the head and velvet red on the lower mantle and wing coverts. The female is olive-brown but its rump(i.e the part above the tail) is distinctly red.

Habitat and Distribution

Crimson-backed Sunbird is an endemic resident breeder in the Western Ghats of India. They may be found in good numbers in flower-rich gardens at the edges of forests or plantations. Although resident in many areas, they may make altitudinal movements in response to rains. They may move to the foothills during the monsoons and then to higher regions after the rains.


Crimson-backed Sunbird have got tongues and beaks that are adapted for nectar feeding. They usually perch while taking nectar.


The peak nesting season is December to March. Two eggs are laid in a suspended nest on a thin branch of low tree, fern frond or shrub. Incubation, which is done mainly by the female takes about 18 to 19 days.

Calls and Songs

The calls include short chik calls and longer chee-chee-which-chee.