The male is a stunning sunbird with a fiery-orange belly and an iridescent purple breast band and green head. The female and juvenile are dull olive with slightly paler underparts. Singles, pairs, and small groups are tied to fynbos heathland, where they feed mostly on the nectar of Erica and Protea flowers. The species may be nomadic when its preferred flowers are absent, shifting to gardens and the edge of the Karoo. It gives a distinctive tinny, rapidly repeated “tshuuew” contact call. The female Southern Double-collared Sunbird differs from the female Orange-breasted Sunbird by being gray-brown (not olive) in coloration.