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Topic : Photographic

Article 3 bullet 05 December 2006

Purple-banded Sunbird feeding chicks

by Guy Upfold

The photos below are of a Purple-banded Sunbird feeding two chicks at a nest in the Nkwaleni valley (KwaZulu-Natal). The nest was about 2m high and placed in an acacia tree, found by Derek Coley.

I took the photos from a hide about 3m from the nest raised on low scaffolding to get to the height of the nest. I placed two flashes just in front of the hide, one the same height a the camera and the other a little bit higher. It was an overcast day so most of the light came from the flashes.

With birds like this that use a lot of lichen to build their nests its quite easy to over expose and loose detail as the lichen seems to glow with flash light.

The female made most of the deliveries and the male bird followed her and often distracted her when he didnt have any food to deliver to the chicks. Feeding was very fast with the bird at the nest for only a second or two at the most. Focusing was manual as there was not time for auto focus when the bird arrived to feed.

The photos were taken with a Canon 30D Camera, 100-400mm F4.5/5.6 L IS lens and 2 Sunpak 622 flashes. Apeture was kept around f10 for most of the photos and shutter speed was 1/125th on manual exposure.

male Purple-banded Sunbird Female Purple-banded Sunbird

This is a male and female (left and right) delivering food at the nest, deliveries were roughly every half hour and consisted mostly of small spiders and an occasional fly as seen in the photos below.

spider prey spider prey

small insect prey fly or bee preyl



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