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Olive-backed Sunbird

Olive-backed Sunbird
Photo Information
Copyright: John Plumb (JPlumb) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 618 W: 158 N: 896] (2904)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-06-22
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D200, NIKKOR AF-S 18-200mm F3.5-5.6 ED DX VR
Exposure: f/11, 1/60 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Yellow Birds [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-08-02 17:39
Viewed: 4013
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 52
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I saw this Olive-backed (Yellow-bellied) Sunbird (Nectarinia jugularis) some time after my walk up on Castle Hill in Townsville. It was down near the water, along The Strand. This one is a female. The males have an iridescent purple patch on the top of their chest.

This bird is the sole Australian representative of a family of “old world” birds (Nectariniidae). These are not much larger than humming birds and like humming birds dart from flower to flower seeking nectar. It is a nectarivore.

They breed from September to February. To nest they gather strips of bark and fibre to weave tear drop shaped nests which hang in mid air from an attachment to a tree branch. They line the interior with fine down and other soft material. A small awning is normally woven above the nest providing protection from sun and rain. Females take up residence and incubate two eggs at a time. Incubation can take from 13-15 days.

It is said they love a bath and will ruffle and flutter in the raindrops on a wet leaf after even the briefest rain shower. This may have been what brought this one out for this pose, (it was still drizzly) but she wasn’t doing any ruffling and fluttering. Maybe I was a distraction.

Much of this from:
http://www.abc.net.au/nature/island/ep5/locals/2.htm and

ID from: Simpson K. and Day N. (2004), Field Guide to the Birds of Australia, Penguin Books, Camberwell.

Workflow for this shot was as follows:
The shot - shot in Raw with Jpeg reference
NEF files adjusted for exposure and shadow
Levels adjusted
Adjusted curves
Burned and Dodged with overlay layer (5% opacity black and white brush) – very minor on bird only.
Saved as a tiff
For this post, cropped, sharpened with USM (toned down edges with layer mask and 40% opacity black brush), framed, and saved as a jpeg

Necipp, Mariol, gracious, rcrick, giacomosg, ridvan, pablominto, Proframe, alguazul, dew77, mlines, mayuresh, Janice, eBirdy, deblink, zenitlady, pierrefonds, uleko, lovenature, magiqa, SelenE, timonejoon, jusninasirun has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • Mariol Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 160 W: 15 N: 1654] (8221)
  • [2007-08-02 19:51]

Hi John,
Nice little bird, interesting specimen with beautiful colors. I agree with Necip, it looks like camouflage colors. Good post, TFS
Regards, Mario

Hi John, Very nice image and excellent detail, nicely spotted with the camouflage and all...well presented Cheers Rick

that's an incredible wonderful yellow nectarinia.
the shot is very good.

Hello John,
Excellent composition on this sunbird in good sharpness, vivid colour and details
very good bg and pov here
thanks for sharing

  • Great 
  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2007-08-03 0:45]

Hi John,
wonderful shot of Sunbird with sharp details and superb exposure on its plumage. I like the way the yellow/green leaves set up a nice tone as BG with the colours of the Sunbird. The focus and lighting are spot-on and you have captured a nice pose. Excellent POV and very nicely composed. Kudos.

selam john, an excellent shot and very good composition of this lovely bird nice pov and bg with splendid colours.
Well done ! Regards

Hello John,
A lovely little fellow, he has found a nice place to sit in front of that yellow leaf!
Good details are recorded in the plumage, fine colour palette...
Good feeling of depth and a fine composition!
Pablo -

Very well spotted bird image John.
The bird is using good camouflage by sitting in front of leaf wich has almost the same color tones like the ones in his feathers.
Must have been quite hard to find.
Sharpness and lighting are spot on and due to that feather details are great.
Background is a bit busy, but that's hard to overcome with the bird sitting in between the leaf and branches.
I personally would have changed composition a bit by giving the bird a little more space on the right side to look in to and cropped a small part from the left side, but that's just my opinion ofcourse.
Nevertheless a real beauty and great joy to look at.
Thanks for sharing.
Best regards,

Good capture. Very sharp and coloured. The contrast with the background is attenuated by the curiously similar colors of the leaves. It somehow reminds of the Bananaquit of the Coerebidae in the new world that has a similar feeding and shape.

  • Great 
  • dew77 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4432 W: 248 N: 4028] (13270)
  • [2007-08-03 4:03]

Hello John,
Beautiful capture.POV,clear details,vivid colors,pose of bird and composition are exclelent.

  • Great 
  • mlines Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 556 W: 26 N: 668] (3116)
  • [2007-08-03 15:15]

Hi John. Perfect backdrop for this one, not always easy to arrange so well. I like the very clear and colourful composition of this sunbird. TFS. Murray.

Hello John, beautifully captured with fine details in the feathers, The natural surroundings show how well it had adapted to the environment to appear camouflaged among the leaves. Good pov tfs rgds Necip

Hi John,
what a cute bird!very nice captured by you,lovely colours and superb sharpness.
I love this composition.its wonderful.
excellent pov and details.
well done.

  • Great 
  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2007-08-04 4:52]

Hi John, what a colourful litle bird, the Yellow-bellied Sunbird. He's real cute, hiding against the yellow and green leaves. Very good colours and sharpness,

Hi John,
Excellent shot of this beautiful girl...so sharp and detailed... and not easy to solve, yellow on yellow...
And really interesting notes, so little knowledge on australian birds...TFS, Marta

Hi John,
Reading your notes jogged my memories relating to Castle Hill in Townsville. This was one of my favorite spots when I was posted there in the Army during the 70's. I wasn't that interested in Nature back then and I often wonder what I missed out on, this beauty would be one image I missed.

What a glorious looking little bird. The detail you captured in the wonderful little creatures image is superb. A beautiful POV.

Hello John! Very accommodating of the little sunbird to land at a place which gave you the perfect background!! Olive earth tones are so nicely presented--great POV and fabulous detail! I like the little "hair" feathers sticking up on the top of her head. Great shot and interesting note about this wee bird. Well done! Thank you, Linda

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2007-08-08 21:14]

Hello John

A beautiful shot of this beautiful bird.The colours are well saturated and show very well.The POV and DOF are very good and the plumage detail is excellent.The eye has nice catch light.Very nicely done.TFS


Hi John,

A nice image of the Olive-backed sunbird, the photo has a good composition, sharpness and nice colors. Thanks for sharing.


  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2007-08-09 8:06]

Hello John,
Very fine capture of this beautiful little Sunbird. I like the sharpness and the colours are beautiful. Fine composition although the leaf behind is a bit distracting, but we don't always get time enough to choose the background!
TFS and regards, Ulla

  • Great 
  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2007-08-13 6:19]

Great shot John, those birds know how to hide themselves ! Very sharp picture, well exposed and a great compostion. Well done and thanks,


Hi John
Interesting note! A very cute little bird. Nicely captured sitting amongst the yellow leaves. He blends in so well to his surroundings. Colours are rich and vivid, details and lighting are great. It's nice to see a old-world species.
TFS Janice

So lovely! And a very good bird photo.

  • Great 
  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2007-12-12 12:58]

Hi John,
Beautiful bird with lovely colors. Composition, POV, details and contrast are very nice. TFS
Best wishes,

Hi John

I was looking at your galery and passing this shot thumbnail and thinking what is this. becuase the BG and bird chest are almost the same color. when i opened the pic, i said wow, such a nice shot.
I love these kind of shots which give me the feeling of live and life.
Well done


Hello John,

Is your sunbird as small as ours? I remembered having a hard time trying to capture my sunbird because of its tiny size and constantly moving on the tree. Your sunbird definitely better looking in sharpness and details. Very well perched and how I like the way you dress up the plumage in bright color and excellent texture.

Nice perch and the leaf makes a very good natural setting at the back as its natural habitat.

Well done and very best regards,

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