Neergaard's Sunbird Cinnyris neergaardi


Justification of Red List Category
This species is listed as Near Threatened because it has a moderately small population, which may be in decline owing to the clearance of its native forest habitats. More information on its population size and the severity of habitat loss may qualify the species for a higher threat category (Barnes 2000).

Population justification
The species is described as not uncommon (Cheke et al. 2001). The population in southern Mozambique probably exceeds 5,000 individuals (Parker 1999), and the population of South Africa and Swaziland may be c.3,000 mature individuals (Brown and Peacock 2015), roughly equivalent to a total of 4,500 individuals. Therefore it is tentatively placed in the range of 5,000-9,999 individuals, roughly equivalent to 3,333-6,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 3,300-6,700 mature individuals.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction.

Distribution and population

Nectarinia neergardi occurs from just south of Richard's Bay in northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, to Inhambane, southern Mozambique (Harrison et al. 1997). It is restricted to the coastal belt, but atlas data do not suggest any range retraction. In Mozambique, it has two widely separated populations; one south of Maputo and the other north of the Limpopo River (Cheke and Mann 2001).


This species is a sometimes common, but nomadic, species of woodland, especially dry, dense forest on sandy soil. It also inhabits coastal scrubland and has been recorded in isolated trees in clearings and villages (Cheke and Mann 2001). It is found only at low elevations and apparently avoids fragmented coastal forest (Clancey 1985). It consumes nectar, small insects and spiders (Cheke and Mann 2001). The nest, in which a clutch-size of two has been recorded, is suspended from a tree and made of cream-coloured fibrous material, feathers and down, and camouflaged with insect larvae and other debris. Observations suggest that breeding activity occurs in September-January and possibly July (Cheke and Mann 2001).


In southern Mozambique, the species's coastal forest habitat is highly threatened, particularly by commercial logging and afforestation with non-native tree species (Parker 1999). In Reserves such as Tembe Elephant Park, habitat modification by elephants may also prove to be a threat (Brown and Peacock 2015).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
A large proportion of its range in northern KwaZulu-Natal falls within nature reserves.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Carry out surveys to obtain a total population estimate. Monitor population trends through regular surveys. Monitor rates of logging and afforestation with exotic species across its range. Protect significant areas of suitable forest, in both strictly protected areas and community led multiple use areas.


Text account compilers
O'Brien, A., Robertson, P., Starkey, M., Symes, A., Taylor, J. & Westrip, J.

Parker, V.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Cinnyris neergaardi. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 30/11/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 30/11/2020.