In an earlier post on the Dusky Broadbill (Corydon sumatranus) putting the finishing touches on its nest, it was mentioned that the bird uses the dragon’s-scale fern (Pyrrosia piloselloides) to decorate the outside of its nest. This serves to camouflage the large nest.
Dr Jonathan WK Cheah has now sent in images of the Dusky Broadbill collecting this epiphytic fern (above left). The fern has a slender creeping stem with small, oval leaves (called fronds in ferns). Pieces of the stem can easily be detached from thick mats found on the surface of trunks and larger branches of old trees. The fertile fronds are narrow and elongated, seen in the image on the left (top left corner) with the margins lined with masses of brown spore cases that are packed with tiny spores. Ferns reproduce by spores, not seeds as in seed plants (herbs, shrubs, trees). These spores are released into the air and dispersed far and wide.
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