Meet Cyril, whom I believe to be a Yellow-Bellied Sunbird—also known as Variable Sunbird—and one of the most glorious creatures it’s ever been my pleasure to photograph.
Cyril’s head and back range from iridescent indigo to deep purple and silky blue, and his chest is a magnificent shade of marigold. I use this designer name for this intense hue because it feels wrong to describe it as merely yellow.
This enchanting new friend hails from far-off South Africa and I found him at the wonderful McNeil Avian Center, where over a hundred rare, endangered and totally enthralling birds live in a variety of lovingly re-created natural habitats. I can’t recommend this place highly enough to any bird lover, because of the environments in which these birds swoop, light, sing and engage in other favorite activities. You move through one curtain after another, delighting in the very air and natural bird music of the exotic lands in which each bird exults. The keepers are always on hand and available to answer questions or point out avian friends you may have missed. Cyril needed no pointing out!
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