Irfan Choo’s image shows a Dusky Broadbill’s (Corydon sumatranus) putting the final touches to its massive nest. This species is well known for its cooperative breeding behaviour. As many as 20 birds have been known to help in the building of the nest. Whether they also assist in incubation, brooding and other aspects of the breeding cycle have yet to be documented.
This huge nest is suspended from the hooked end of a rattan’s frond. Made up of twigs, pieces of roots, dried leaves and masses of the epiphytic fern dragon’s tail (Pyrrosia piloselloides), the surface is embellished with spider’s silk and caterpillar excreta.
The nest is suspended over an open forest clearing, pool or river, safe from most predators. The thorny suspensor discourages predators from moving in from above.
The messy nest looks like a bunch of dried leaves and twigs that does not generally attraction attention.
The Dusky Broadbill is a former resident of Singapore, now locally extinct. It is a common resident in nearby Peninsular Malaysia.