Skip to Main Content
San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance logo
San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Library logo

Beautiful Sunbird (Cinnyris pulchellus) Fact Sheet: Population & Conservation Status

Population Status

  • Common and widespread throughout its range, where habitat is suitable (Fry et al. 2000; Cheke et al. 2001; Cheke and Mann 2008)
    • West Africa: Senegal, Gambia, Mauritania (Cheke et al. 2001)
    • Ghana, Togo, Nigeria (Cheke et al. 2001)
      • Resident and wet-season visitor
    • Also, Ethiopia, Sudan south of Atbara, and north Uganda (Cheke et al. 2001)
  • May be seasonally common (Cheke et al. 2001)
  • Of limited conservation concern (Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett 2014)
    • Habitat changes
      • Sunbirds generally able to adapt if changes not too severe [sunbirds, general] (Cheke and Mann 2008)
      • Use human-altered habitats (e.g., gardens)
    • Cagebird trade (Cheke and Mann 2008; BirdLife International 2012)
      • Attractive plumage, but only minor international use as cagebirds/pets
      • Singing abilities not admired
      • Difficult to keep in managed care

Conservation Status


  • Least Concern (2016 assessment) (BirdLife International 2016)
  • Large range (see Distribution)
    • Estimated extent: 5.65 million km2 (BirdLife International 2012)
  • Stable population trend
    • Population size has not been quantified
    • Described as common (IUCN cites Cheke et al. 2001)


  • Not listed (UNEP 2018)
  • Occurs in many protected areas
    • For example, Comoé National Park (Ivory Coast), Waza National Park (Cameroon), Awash National Park (Ethiopia), Murchison Falls National Park (Uganda), Serengeti and Arusha National Parks (Tanzania) (Cheke and Mann 2008)

Threats to Survival

Potentially, habitat loss and degradation

  • Types of habitat loss
    • Logging forests for conversion to agriculture (Winkler et al. 2015)
    • Logging riparian habitat (Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett 2014)
    • Flooding of C. pulchellus habitat by humans (Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett 2014)
    • Replacing native tree species with non-natives (Cheke and Mann 2008)
  • Difficult to quantify effects of habitat degradation [sunbirds, general] (Cheke and Mann 2008)
    • May shift habitat use to human-made habitats
      • Occurrence in these areas may misleadingly give an impression of a stable, adaptable population
      • Sunbirds differ in their ability to adapt to urban areas (cities) (Pauw and Louw 2012)

Management Actions

[sunbirds, general] (Cheke and Mann 2008)

Sunbird species with small, restricted ranges are at high risk.

Protection of sunbird habitat

  • Long-term conservation of important habitats
    • Prevention of illegal forestry, coastal forestry, and destruction of other habitats
  • Prevention of severe habitat fragmentation
  • Conservation awareness programs, especially regarding land use and water use

Garden Dweller

Beautiful Sunbird drinking from a hose

A Beautiful Sunbird, Cinnyris pulchellus, drinks from a garden hose. Male in non-breeding plumage, with elongated tail feathers.

Sunbirds use human-made habitats, such as gardens, in addition to natural habitats.

Image credit: © Philippe Boissel at Flickr. All rights reserved. Used with permission from the artist.

Image details: Taken 06 February 2012 in Senegal.

SDZWA Library Links