Elegant Sunbird Aethopyga duyvenbodei


Justification of Red List Category
This sunbird is now confined to one very small island, where its population is severely fragmented. Although it can persist in degraded habitats, it is suspected to be undergoing a continuing decline as both primary and secondary habitats are being lost through human encroachment. It therefore qualifies as Endangered.

Population justification
Surveys carried out in 1998-1999 found high densities in both primary forest and adjacent secondary habitats. Low densities were also recorded in secondary habitats that were isolated from primary forest. As such, the population estimate was revised to take into account both higer abundance in key habitats, and presence in larger areas of secondary habitat, resulting in an increased estimate of 18,900-43,800 individuals, roughly equivalent to 13,000-29,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
Despite this species's tolerance of secondary habitats, moderate population declines are suspected to be continuing, as both primary and secondary forest habitats are being affected by encroachment and fragmentation throughout its range.

Distribution and population

Aethopyga duyvenbodei is currently known from Sangihe, north of Sulawesi, Indonesia, although there is an historical record from nearby Siau (BirdLife International 2001). In 1995, it was found to be regular at low densities at seven localities and in 1998-1999 it was the most commonly encountered forest species at Gunung Sahendaruman, suggesting locally high population densities. It was also found to occur at low densities in secondary habitats well isolated from primary forest, suggesting resilience to habitat loss (Riley 2002). It is, however, absent from large areas of the island, and continuing loss of both primary and secondary forest habitat suggests that populations continue to decline.


It is a resident in primary forest, forest edge, adjacent low scrub and plantations (when hardwoods persist in the vicinity and a scrubby understorey is available) at 75-1,000 m. It is usually encountered singly or in pairs, often within mixed-species flocks.


Original forest on Sangihe has been almost completely cleared. This species is now known to survive in secondary habitats without adjacent primary forest patches (Riley 2002), but agricultural intensification is reducing the available area of even these modified habitats. The tiny remaining area of primary forest, around which the main population is centred, receives inadequate protection and continues to suffer from agricultural encroachment at its lower fringes. Forest-cover on the volcanically active island of Siau is extremely limited and the species is either extinct there, or survives in tiny numbers.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
Forest on Gunung Sahendaruman is nominally conserved, although few measures have been taken. Since 1995, the Action Sampiri project has conducted fieldwork, conservation awareness programmes and developed ideas for future land-use through agreements between interested parties. As a result, plans are in progress to reclassify the 4 km2 Gunung Sahengbalira protection forest as a wildlife reserve. Some forest in the Kentuhang valley is protected as the watershed for a hydroelectric scheme.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct further surveys to monitor population trends and locate key remnant forests with a view to affording them protection. Investigate the ecological requirements of the species so that an effective conservation strategy can be devised. Ensure effective protection of habitat on Gunung Sahendaruman. Support proposals for the rapid establishment of remaining forest on Gunung Sahengbalira as a strict nature reserve. Continue conservation education programmes. Encourage forestry staff to establish a permanent presence on the island.


12 cm. Large, brightly-coloured sunbird. Male has purplish-red ear-coverts and collar, metallic green-and-blue patches on crown, upperwing-coverts and uppertail-coverts, yellowish-olive back, yellow rump-band and underparts. Female is much duller, with yellowish-olive upperparts and yellow rump and underparts. Similar spp. Male Brown-throated Sunbird Anthreptes malacensis has brown throat and purplish wings and tail. It lacks a yellow rump, as does the female. Voice Undocumented, but presumably has high-pitched calls and twittering song, like close congeners.


Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Gilroy, J. & Taylor, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Aethopyga duyvenbodei. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/10/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/10/2020.