; class Aves, order Passeriformes)
A family of small birds, most of which have a long, narrow, pointed, decurved bill, which is partly serrated. (Anthreptes, a genus of small sunbirds which are less specialized than most members of the family, have relatively shorter and straighter bills.) They have short legs, short, rounded wings, and a short to long, square, rounded, or graduated tail. Sunbirds have bright, metallic-coloured plumage, and are the Old World equivalent of humming-birds (e.g. the 75 species of Nectarinia, the males of which have bright, metallic blue, green, red, and purple plumage, although that of the females and some non-breeding males is dull). Spiderhunters are mainly brown. They inhabit forests, clearings, and bush, and feed on insects, spiders, nectar, and fruit. Their nests are built suspended from branches or leaves; some are sewn on to the undersides of leaves. There are five genera, with about 117 species, many of them kept as cage birds, found in Africa, Asia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Australia.
Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences.