Distinguished for their signature thin down-curved bills and the impressive variety of colors, sunbirds are among the most beautiful and recognizable fowls in the world. Some of the biggest and most magnificent species of sunbirds live in South Africa, where you can find a whopping 21 different species of sunbirds, many of which are endemic to the region.
During the Covid-19 lockdown in South Africa - one of the strictest in the world - everyone was confined to their homes, and Steve Benjamin, a professional nature photographer, was no different. So, instead of capturing stunning shots of his usual underwater subjects, such as sharks, whales, and dolphins, the photographer from Cape Town turned his underwater photo gear towards the inhabitants in his backyard - sunbirds. The photographer set up a special bird feeder along with a variety of plants as perches for his feather models. This allowed him to photograph the beautiful fowls in a studio-like setting, with each hue and each feather shining lustrously in the sun.
We've collected 10 astonishing photos of different sunbird species by Steve Benjamin in this article, and a video explaining the process that enabled him to make such stunning shots below. To see the full bird exhibition, visit Benjamin's website, or take a look at his Instagram page for his other works.
1. Malachite Sunbird (Nectarinia famosa)
2. Cape Sugarbird (Promerops cafer)
3. A Closeup Shot of a Southern Double-Collared Sunbird (Cinnyris chalybeus)
4. A Malachite Sunbird (left) and an Orange-breasted Sunbird (right) on a Double Perch
5. A Closeup Shot of a Cape Sugarbird (Promerops cafer)
6. Southern Double-Collared Sunbird (Cinnyris chalybeus)
7. Malachite Sunbird Spreading Its Wings
8. Green-backed Camaroptera (Camaroptera Brachyura)
9. An Orange-Breasted Sunbird Perched on a Flower
10. Left: Malachite Sunbird Landed on a Red Hot Poker; Right: Orange-breasted Sunbird Sitting on a Protea Flower
Bonus Video: Behind the Scenes of These Amazing Bird Photos