Thick-billed Green-pigeons feasting on figs

on 7th August 2009

Mark G sent in images of the Thick-billed Green Pigeons (Treron curvirostra) (male above, female below) feasting on the figs of Ficus benjamina or Benjamin fig, also known as waringin. The tree stands near the canteen of the MacRitchie Reservoir Park and the picture was taken at 5.30 pm.

Fig trees, when in fruits, attract large numbers of birds, all coming to feast on the succulent figs. Waringin is a common strangling fig that attaches itself on our wayside trees. In time the aerial roots grow round the trunk of the host tree and with the years, the thickening of the roots prevents the host tree from increasing in girth. This in turn causes the death of the host tree.

Because of the “strangling” nature of this fig and its invasive roots, its presence on our wayside trees is frowned upon. Our wayside trees are thus “rescued” and as a result we do not see many such strangling figs around. However, old stranglers are left alone and thus when such trees are in figs, we tend to “hear” the trees long before we actually see them, such is the popularity of the figs with birds.

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

3 Responses

  1. Wow, thick billed green pigeons are not that common in Singapore as they like undisturbed forests unlike their pink neck relatives which can be found all over parks and even among HDB greenery. Beautiful pictures, does anyone know whether they are getting more common in Singapore? I personally have not sported one in Singapore though they are very common in Malaysia(Taman Negara)etc.

  2. I saw a flock of thick billed green pigeons at the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve this evening. They were feasting on the figs;-)

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