Attracting TAMSI or Olive-backed Sunbird to your Garden


We don’t have hummingbirds here in the Philippines but we do have “tamsi”, as we call it here in Mindanao. The Olive-backed Sunbird or Tamsi is one of the smallest birds in the Philippines.


Although hummingbirds and sunbirds both largely feed on nectar, they are different in sizes. Hummingbirds are between 5-11 centimeters in length, some like the bee hummingbirds are at 5-6 cm, considered to be the tiniest in the world. Olive-backed sunbirds and other sunbird species grow at most to 12 cm long.

To see a tamsi is not that hard, you don’t actually need to be venturing out to a specific site to really see one, as they are exceptionally common all over the place, even at your own terrace.

On a chance that you have a few trees around your home, a few plants with pretty blooms, you will be a place an Olive-backed sunbird will visit or has been visiting.

Tamsi is one of the smallest birds of the Philippines, and they like to build small hanging nests in trees using dry materials like grasses, small leaves, and even plastic strings.

Tamsi Sunbird on garden gumamela flower

Tamsi Sunbird on Gumamela Bloom

Female Tamsi Sunbird nesting

A female Olive-backed Sunbird doing the final touch of her nest.

Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis)

The olive-backed sunbird is common across southern China and Southeast Asia to Queensland and the Solomon Islands. Originally from mangrove habitat, the olive-backed sunbird has adapted well to humans, and is now common even in fairly densely populated areas, even forming their nests in human dwellings. (Wikipedia)

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Nectariniidae
Genus: Cinnyris
Species: C. jugularis

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