Length 13-15 cm, mass 12-15 g, males larger than females. Male: Black with iridescent emerald-green crown and chin and scarlet throat and upper breast. Bill, legs and feet black, eyes dark brown. Female: Upper parts and face dark brown, eyebrow whitish. Chin and throat dark brown, feathers edged light brown. Breast and belly pale yellow, streaked dark brown.
Broadleaved open woodland, moist thornveld, coastal bush, parks and gardens.
Often in groups at nectar sources where males frequently chase conspecifics and other Sunbirds. Also hunts insects and spiders, but usually alone. May hover to feed, but usually perches.
Nectar, insects and spiders.
The male defends the breeding territory. The nest is pear-shaped with a hood over the entrance hole, and suspended from a branch. It is built by the female using dry grass, stems, leaves and/or bark bound by spider web. Usually two eggs are laid and incubated by the female. Chicks and fledglings are fed by both parents for up to eight weeks.