The malachite sunbird (Nectarinia famosa) is a small nectivorous bird found from the highlands of Ethiopia southwards to South Africa.
This large sunbird is found in hilly fynbos (including protea stands as well as areas with aloes) and cool montane and coastal scrub, up to 2,800m altitude in South Africa. It also occurs in parks and gardens (often nesting within those located in the Highveld). It is resident, but may move downhill in winter.
This species, like most sunbirds, feed mainly on nectar, although they will also take insects, especially when feeding young. This sunbird may hunt in a similar manner to a flycatcher, hawking for insect prey from a perch.
Most sunbird species can take nectar by hovering like a hummingbird, but usually perch to feed most of the time. As a fairly large sunbird, the malachite sunbird is no exception. They have long thin down-curved bills and brush-tipped tubular tongues, both adaptations to nectar feeding. Some plant species from which malachite sunbirds feed include many Aloe species, such as Aloe broomii, Aloe ferox and Aloe arborescens, and Protea species, such as Protea roupelliae as well as various other bird-pollinated plants such as Leonotis and Strelitzia.