Fire-breasted Flowerpecker

Fire-breasted flowerpecker (male), January 2020


The fire-breasted flowerpecker (Dicaeum ignipectus) is a small member of the flowerpecker family (Dicaeidae), and a part of the subfamily Dicaeum.

The male flowerpecker is a deep blue on the head and wings, the latter being a bit more striking. They have short, thick, curved beaks and a white throat that gives way to a fiery red breast, and a peculiar black line that extends from the breast down to the belly. Females, by contrast, are mostly olive in appearance, with a lighter belly and darker wings and head.

Fire-breasted flowerpecker (female), January, 2020

Behavior and Ecology

Like many forest birds of Hong Kong, fire breasted flowerpeckers were not recorded in Hong Kong until the 1950s, when Hong Kong’s forests had matured considerably, as these birds are native to mature forests throughout the Himalayas, southern China, and the Southeast Asian mainland.

In Hong Kong, these birds have successfully colonized mature forests, though they stay well out of sight and are seldom seen. They primarily eat berries, specifically those of mistletoe, whose seeds the birds play an important in dispersing.