Purple Honeycreeper

(Cyanerpes caeruleus)
Also called the “Yellow-legged Honeycreeper” and “Yellow-legged Grampo,” this species is among the most colourful of the birds which frequent the Centre, specifically concentrating around the sugar and fruit feeders. Much debate occurs over the exact colour of the 4.5-inch male which appears to range somewhere between blue and purple. Either way, it is unanimous that its legs are unmistakably sunny yellow with black toenails. The female bird is lime green with dark striations around the face and breast, while young males look like the females and gradually morph from a nondescript green to green with dark stripes on the wings and head, to the smooth “bluish purple” body, black wings and face of the adult. Honeycreepers of all species are typically brightly coloured and are closely related to Tanagers with which they have similar behaviour, feeding, nesting and physiology. In many cases Purple Honeycreepers are observed foraging in mixed flocks with other Honeycreeper species, Tanagers and Bananaquits (the latter being separated into its own family), typical of Tanagers. Convenient and reliable viewing of this species is possible from almost anywhere on the estate throughout the year, especially from the verandah. Honeycreepers are easily seen and photographed as they take turns at the feeders or navigate through the Centre’s many flowering trees and plants. The species is particularly prevalent at this time of year as the ending of the rainy season brings with it a sequence of flowering trees which are highly favoured by these fruit and nectar feeders. Nesting also coincides at this time, thus providing great views of both adults and juveniles.