Forensic birding 4: Seeds

posted in: Feeding-plants | 0

Most mornings during the months of February and March 2006, I found seeds scattered along my driveway. They appeared in ones and twos, sometimes more. The ones I recognised were MacArthur (Ptychosperma macarthurii) (1, left) and Alexandra (Archontophoenix alexandrae) (2, left) palms seeds.

The seeds were always devoid of the outer fleshy covering. Because of their condition, they could not have come from the rear end of any birds. They must have been regurgitated. But by what species of bird?

I have evidence that the Asian Glossy Starling (Aplonis panayensis) swallows Alexandra palm fruits whole, and regurgitates the seeds soon after. Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier) pecks on these fruits but swallows whole fruits of MacArthur palm. But I have yet to witness any regurgitating of the seeds by the bulbul.

The bird or birds responsible for scattering these seeds on my driveway could be either of 4hese two birds. They would be perching on the frond backs of the two tall Ceram palms (Rhopaloblaste ceramica) by the driveway. The starlings regularly visit the palm to shelter from the heat of the day among the old inflorescence branches and old spathes that cluster around the base of the crown that have yet to be dislodged. They also come to feast on the ripe fruits. The bulbuls are fewer.

In March my Alexandra palms were fruiting. The starlings were feasting on the ripe fruits and they were also resting in the Ceram palms. During this period I found more of these palm seeds as well as those of MacArthur palm.

I have also found many other types of seeds that were probably regurgitated by birds. I have yet to ID them as I need to germinate then and have the seedlings identified. When I know their ID I will make a posting on this blog. In the meantime we just have to wait and see…

Input and images by YC Wee.

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