The purple sunbird is predominately a nectar-feeding bird, but raises its young on small invertebrates. This species is capable of hovering like a hummingbird for short periods of time to feed on nectar while in flight. Usually, however, it feeds from flowers while perched, and is even capable of hanging upside down to feed. The purple sunbird obtains the nectar by inserting its long tongue down into the base of a flower and retracting it back into the bill (4) (5).
The breeding season of the purple sunbird varies across the Asian continent, generally coinciding with the months where flowers are most abundant (4). During these months, the female purple sunbird constructs a hanging oval or pear-shaped nest from a tree, roughly three metres from the ground. The nest is built using an array of materials including leaves, grasses, hair, twigs, and caterpillar droppings, all woven together with cobwebs, with a small entrance near the top (4) (5).
The female lays 2 to 3 eggs and these are incubated until they hatch after 15 to 17 days (4). The purple sunbird pair usually rear at least two broods in succession, sometimes from the same nest (5).