The origin of the hibiscus is not known but Keng (1990) believes that it probably originates from China. The pollinating agent is reported to be the hummingbird. In the tropics the hummingbird is represented by the sunbird. But sunbirds are not adapted for hibiscus pollination.
BK Lim photographed an Olive-Backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis) as it was in the process of robbing a hibiscus flower (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) of its nectar in an unconventional way.
To get at the nectar, the sunbird probes the base of the flower rather than pokes its head into the corolla “tube” and in the process does not help in the pollination process.
An earlier post shows a Brown-throated Sunbird (Anthreptes malacensis) similarly robbing nectar from another hibiscus flower.
Image by BK Lim.
Keng, H. (1990). The concise flora of Singapore: Gymnosperms and dicotyledons Singapore University Press. 222 pp.
This post is a cooperative effort between www.naturepixels.org and BESG to bring the study of bird behaviour through photography to a wider audience.