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false sunbird

either of two species of birds in Madagascar of the family Philepittidae (order Passeriformes). Both are 10 cm (4 inches) long, with a short tail and a long, downcurved bill. Originally thought to belong with true sunbirds in the family Nectariniidae, they were shown in 1951 to be anatomically like the asities, from which they differ in external appearance. In the wattled false sunbird (Neodrepanis coruscans), the male is glossy blue above and yellow below, with a large eye wattle; this is lacking in the female, which has dark green upperparts. This species moves slowly and quietly along branches, searching for insects; sometimes (like a true sunbird) it takes nectar from trumpetlike flowers. The other species, N. hypoxantha, is more brightly coloured and has a thinner bill.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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