A slender sunbird, the male being mostly black. Size 15cm – smaller than a sparrow. Afrikaans: Swartsuikerbekkie.
As with other sunbirds the bill is long and decurved. The bill, legs and feet are black. The eye is dark brown.
The male is mostly sooty black in colour. It has a bright metallic green patch on the forecrown. The throat, a small patch on the bend of the wing and the rump are a brilliant metallic purple colour, which varies in appearance according to light.
The Female is Grey above and creamy white below, with heavy blackish streaking on the throat and breast.
The Amethyst Sunbird is usually seen singly or in pairs, but may join other sunbirds at flowering trees. As with other sunbirds, they tend to be highly active, moving around at high speed and hovering in front of flowers or spider webs. They fly fast and often high.
The most frequent call is a high-pitched chak-chak-chak or chyek, chyek, chyek, chyek callnotes. The song is a sustained series of high-pitched twittering chattering notes, reminiscent of a canary.
It lives on the nectar of flowers, insects and spiders.
The Amethyst Sunbird breeds mainly from September to December. The nest is an oval of lichen, grass, dry leaves; bark shreds and stalks bound together with spider webs. It has a side top entrance with a porch or hood, and is usually lined with plant down.
A common sunbird of gardens, parks, bushveld, woodland and forest edges.