Flowerpeckers and Clidemia hirta

posted in: Feeding-plants | 2

Calvin Chang a.k.a deswitch was at the Panti forest in nearby Johor state of Malaysia in May 2009. There, he documented an adult male and a juvenile Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker (Prionochilus percussus) as well as a male Orange-bellied Flowerpecker (Dicaeum trigonostigma) (above) eating the fruits of what looks like the hairy clidemia (Clidemia hirta). This plant, introduced from the American tropics, is one of the most intrusive weed in the region.

Cheke & Mann (2008) report that the Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker crushes berries of Melastoma, uses its bill to either puncture figs and Eugenia and sucks out the contents or bites off pieces. It also presumably feeds on the nectar, pollen and fruits of mistletoe (Loranthaceae). As for Orange-bellied Flowerpecker, they report various fruits, including figs, mistletoe, seeds of sedges, spiders and small insects. The bird also takes nectar from flowers.

Reference:
Cheke, R. A. & C. F. Mann, 2008. Family Dicaeidae (Flowerpeckers). In: del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott & D. A. Christie (eds.), Handbook of the birds of the world. Vol. 13. Penduline-tits to Shrikes. Lynx Editions, Barcelona. Pp. 350-389.

This post is a cooperative effort between NaturePixels.org and BESG to bring the study of bird behaviour through photography to a wider audience.

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2 Responses

  1. Are you sure this is Clidemia hirta? The leaves don’t look quite right to me. I’m not familiar with other species of the genus, but the leaves look more like species I know in the (related–same family–and also extremely weedy) genus Tibouchina.

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  2. You may well be right. The leaves appear to be a little too hairy.

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