The sunbirds and spiderhunters are a family of very small passerine birds. There are 132 species in 15 genera. The family is distributed throughout Africa, southern Asia and just reaches northern Australia. Most sunbirds feed largely on nectar, although they will also take insects, especially when feeding young. Fruit is also part of the diet of some species. Their flight is fast and direct on their short wings.
The family ranges in size from the 5-gram Black-bellied Sunbird to the Spectacled Spiderhunter, at about 45 grams.
Sunbirds can be found in lowland and mountain tropical rainforest, savanna with open woodlands, gallery forests (along rivers in dry country), thornscrub, and mangrove. They are active, energetic creatures. Individuals may forage alone, in monogamous pairs or in groups.
The males of most sunbird species are brilliantly colored with combinations of iridescent, metallic green, purple, blue and black along with spots and patches of yellow, orange and red. Males of a few species are more drab, as are the females of nearly all sunbird species, although females of some species bear a metallic sheen. Outside of the breeding season, males molt and revert to less gaudy plumage (feathers) resembling that of the female of the species.