Black-and-red Broadbill and a mosquito

on 8th June 2009

“Was doing a night cruise on the river Kinabatangan in Sabah and came across a row of three Black-and-red Broadbills (Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchos) roosting on a horizontal branch overhanging the river from the banks. We were able to get quite close to the birds to take photographs. Interesting enough, one of the pictures had a mosquito on the bill of one of the birds. The mosquito was feeding on this bird through its nostril! Well, I guess this might be the easiest place for the mosquito to get at the blood. The bill itself would be too hard and other parts of the body would be covered by the bird’s thick feathers, and the region around the eyes? Well maybe.”

KC Tsang
2nd June 2009

Yes, birds are also plagued by mosquitoes. A number of diseases are spread by mosquitoes to humans via infected birds. One example is the West Nile Virus. This is a potentially serious illness that is seasonally endemic in North America. The mosquito is first infected when it feeds on an infected bird. It then spreads to humans and other animals. Severe symptoms of WNV include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, convulsions and even paralysis.

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. Interesting facts. I have just know that West Nile Virus can be spread by mosquitoes via birds.

    Do you suggest that we should avoid these birds? Can you give more information about what kind of birds is used by mosquitoes to spread the virus? Thanks.

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