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Corella, parakeet and hornbill at Changi Village

on 3rd November 2006

Changi Village, with its row of large and old angsana trees (Pterocarpus indicus), has been the meeting place of a number of Oriental Pied Hornbills (Anthracoceros albirostris) that were seen looking for nesting cavities (left). These trees are also a favourite with the Tanimba corella (Cacatua goffini) and Red-breasted Parakeets (Psittacula alexandri). The latter two species are also tree hole nesters and have been coexisting rather peacefully in these trees.

The hornbills had been checking the tree where no corellas and parakeets were congregating. However, of late they apparently moved to those trees where these other birds were present (above). What happened next was that conflicts occurred, with the corellas shrieking whenever the hornbills appeared.

Our bird specialist R. Subaraj reported in July 2006 that he saw the hornbills arriving regularly at around 5 pm, always causing the corellas to panic, shrieking loudly. At times the hornbills were seen perching in front of the cavity as if blocking the entrance.

Meng and Melinda Chan were at Changi Village on 31st July 2006 and witnessed the arrival of the hornbills at 4.30 pm. Unfortunately the corellas and parakeets were not around the nesting holes. So there was no excitement. The parakeets only appeared at around 6 pm by which time the hornbills had left.

Certain nesting holes were sometimes occupied by corella and sometimes by parakeet (above). As these birds were used to living in close proximity with each other, there was no conflict when one found the other inside the cavity.

But this was not always the case. On 6th August a pair of corellas arrived at a tree with two cavities, one on either side of the trunk. The left cavity was apparently empty as the corellas took turns checking it out, one even entering the cavity for a short while (above, top). The right cavity was occupied by a parakeet. The corellas again took turns checking this right cavity, to occasionally meet with protests from the parakeet inside. Every now and then the parakeet would poke its head out, scolding the intruder (above, bottom). This would frighten off the corella who would then jump back with wings flapping. This went on for some time. Unable to expel the parakeet from the cavity, the corellas eventually left the scene.

Peace returned to Changi Village – until the next confrontation!

Input by Subaraj, Meng and Melinda. All images by Meng and Melinda.

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

5 Responses

  1. I wonder if the hornbills will start nesting there.

    A thought just came to my mind; do hornbills raid the nests of smaller birds? Was wondering if it’s ever possible that a hornbill seeking a good nest hole will evict any corellas or parakeets already nesting inside, including consuming any eggs or hatchlings.

  2. We have to wait and see. Hope they do nest in the cavities in the angsana trees. I am sure they will, if they can evict current residents from their cavities and use them themselves. If there are breeding birds inside, I am sure they will put up a good fight.

    I have not come across any reports of hornbills eating eggs and nestlings. Anybody with such information?

  3. Super photos.
    I’ve often had to strain my neck just to catch a glimpse of the bird-life there, but these shots (presumably from ground level) show so much detail.

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