Birds and Dillenia suffruticosa

posted in: Feeding-plants | 1

Mark Chua a.k.a. Cajuca was at the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve on the morning of 20th January 2009 when he came across the Pink-necked Green Pigeon (Treron vernans) feasting on the seeds of dillenia or simpoh air (Dillenia suffruticosa) (left).

The ripe fruit, when it splits open in the early morning to expose the succulent red seeds, attracts plenty of birds. It is indeed the “early bird that gets the worm” as the seeds do not remain on the fruit for long. By late morning only the “shell” of the fruit is left.

The four red “buds” below the fruit are actually developing fruits, easily mistaken for flower buds. The persistent sepals that enclose the developing fruits will eventually unfold when the fruits mature, to display the red seeds.

The flowers of the plant are just as attractive – with yellow petals.

Subsequently, Mark photographed the Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier) (below left), Brown-throated Sunbird (Anthreptes malacensis) (below centre) and Purple-throated Sunbird (Nectariniua sperata ) (below right) also relishing the seeds.

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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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