Olive-backed Sunbird’s nest destroyed by a macaque

on 22nd February 2008

The Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis) that was hard at work collecting fibres for weeks from a piece of fabric in front of my house was actually building a nest in the garden of my front neighbour. I did suspect that the bird was building her nest there as she would fly immediately into the compound after collecting a few strands of fibres. But I paid scant attention as these nests are common in urban and suburban gardens, even in the small balcony gardens of high-rise condominiums.


Imagine my surprise and dismay when my neighbour Sheng Lau mentioned to me on 9th February 2008 that the nest was totally destroyed a few days back.

Apparently, five Long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis) descended onto the scene one day and one of the macaques simply ripped the nest from the branch and threw it away. There were two eggs in the nest but it has not been established whether the eggs were eaten by the macaque.


Another failed nesting by a pair of Olive-backed Sunbirds. Failure due to various causes is common (1, 2, 3, 4) . But all is not lost.

I was surprised to see the female bird hard at work continuing collecting fibres from the same tree in front of my house (left). This time she did not fly directly into my front neighbour’s compound. Instead, she flew into the next house, obviously to restart building her nest elsewhere, hopefully in a safer environment. Does this mean that she will be laying more eggs once the nest is rebuilt?

A persistent female sunbird indeed…
YC Wee
February 2008

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.

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