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Red-breasted Parakeet and Dillenia suffruticosa

on 13th February 2009

Choo Teik Ju sent in an image of a Red-breasted Parakeet (Psittacula alexandri) taking an immature fruit of dillenia or simpoh air (Dillenia suffruticosa) and the following comment:

“…this image of a Red-breasted Parakeet taking a premature fruit of simpoh air… Local birds that I had seen, primarily Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier) and Pink-necked Green Pigeon (Treron vernans), taking matured fruit of simpoh air where they take turn to feed on it, and importantly they share the seeds… until the seeds are completed consumed. However, bird like the parakeet taking away the entire fruit pre-maturely would also means lesser food opportunity to others.

“My personal feel is, this ‘introduced’ bird, looking at this picture, may be creating a huge threat to our local species.”

Parakeets have strong and powerful bill that allows them to pluck and consume the entire flower bud or even the developing fruits, as shown in an earlier post on a Long-tailed Parakeet (Psittacula longicauda).

Birds like Yellow-vented Bulbul and Pink-necked Green Pigeon have bills that are not as powerful and have to wait for the fruits to mature and display the seeds, see HERE.

Obviously these parakeets eat up everything, even before the flowers develop into fruits or before the fruits mature and display the seeds. Parrots in general have the ability to eat up such large “buds” that other birds are not able to. I would agree that they could pose a long-term threat in terms of food supply.

However, simpoh air is a common plant of disturbed areas and as such, there are plenty of fruits around. Also, each bird species has its own niche in terms of food supply, etc. and there should be minimum competition between the species.

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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