Dollarbird feeding nestlings with shield-bug

on 30th April 2008


The Dollarbirds (Eurystomus orientalis) were nesting again at the Changi Boardwalk. Constructed from palm stems, probably nibong (Oncosperma sp.), the rotting top portions are favourite nesting holes for these birds. These hole nesters make use of the natural cavities as they are not able to excavate their own. There is an earlier post on the nesting in 2006.

James Wong a.k.a. Jw73 documented the birds bringing insects to the nestlings and are sharing his images with us here (above and below).


According to Fry (2001), Dollarbirds take large insects like beetles, mantises, grasshoppers, shield-bugs, cicadas, moths and termites. The image above (right) shows an adult bird bringing a shield-bug (Cantau ocellatus) to feed its young. Insects are usually caught in flight and brought back to the perch where they are shaken rather than beaten against the branch.

Fry, C.H. (2001). Family Coraciidae (Rollers). Pp. 342-377 in: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. & Sargatal, J. eds. (2001). Handbook of the birds of the world. Vol. 6. Mousebirds to Hornbills. Barcelona: Lynx Editions.

All images by James Wong.

This post is a cooperative effort between and BESG to bring the study of bird behaviour through photography to a wider audience.

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

2 responses

  1. On several occasions, the adults were observed to beat the insects against the branch on the perch opposite the pole. Into the middle of the nesting season, a third adult appeared one evening and observed to be interacting gregariously with the breeding pair. In comparison, the chicks fledged relatively sooner than the previous year.

    In terms of behavior, each parent bird exhibited a distinctive pattern. One adult would perform a direct approach to bring the food direct to the nest whilst another would perch on the adjacent higher pole to survey the vicinity before dropping to feed the chicks.

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