Birds leaf-bathing at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

on 28th February 2009

GS Soh was at the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve on the morning of 15th February 2009 and documented a pair of Copper-throated Sunbird (Leptocoma calcostetha) (above: male left, female right), Crimson Sunbird (Aethopyga siparaja) (below left) and an Oriental White-eye (Zosterops palpebrosus) (below right) enjoying a leaf-bath.

February 2009 was a hot month with intermittent rain. The birds must be feeling the heat. As soon as there was a bout of rain, some birds must have enjoyed the droplets by not taking shelter. Others, like these birds, took advantage of the droplets that collected on the larger leaves after the rain to enjoy a leaf-bath.

These birds typically land on the leaf and moved their bodies about to wet their feathers. Once the birds had wiped the leaf clean, they moved away to preen.

Leaf-bathing is one method of feather maintenance, that includes anting, water bathing and preening.

Images by GS Goh.

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. I was at SBWR on Saturday 21 Feb 2009 morning and also many cooper-throated sunbirds, olive-backed sunbirds, scarlet-backed flowerpecker and oriental white-eye enjoying leaf-bath at the pond just before the entrance (where they collect entrance fee) to the reserve. It did not rain that morning but the leaves were wet with dew.

    Many serious photographers (around 4-5) were there snapping away. Hope they will also post their pictures here.

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