Lineated Barbet’s household chore

posted in: Barbet-To'can-H'guide, Waste | 0

Johnny Wee was at Singapore’s Jurong Lake Garden in June 2009 and photographed a Lineated Barbet (Megalaima lineata) bringing fruits to its nest. After feeding the chick, it entered the nesting cavity, cleaned it up and scooped up the trash at the bottom of the cavity for disposal elsewhere.

Barbets keep their nest clean, scooping faecal matters, indigestible fruit remains and hard seeds with their bill and flying off to dispose them away from the nest. Initially the faecal matters may be eaten by the adults as they contain undigested foods. As the chick grows and its digestive system becomes more efficient, the faecal matters are deposited as faecal sacs and carried away to be dropped some distance from the nest. However, we do not generally see the adults picking up these sacs from the posterior end of the chicks as with other species like bulbuls, white-eyes… Most probably the sac is mixed together with the uneaten foods, etc. and carried in the adult’s bill.

Loose wastes are usually mixed with wood chips and carried away. Some excavation of the nest may be necessary to provide the wood chips.

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