On 16th September 2009, Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS visited his favourite birding site at the Kledang-Sayong Forest Reserve, Perak, Malaysia to keep watch on a pair of Whiskered Treeswift (Hemiprocne comata comata) that he suspected to be nesting.
“Went back to watch this pair as their behaviour last week suggested that they were going to nest in this tree. Was pleasantly surprised when they mated in front of me. Managed to get some quick pictures against the light – was magical. They looked like angles with their wings outspread.”
The composite image above shows how difficult the mating is – a balancing act for the male. The female has to have a proper grip on the perch least she falls off as the male mounts her.
As Amar recounts, “Before and after mating this pair, in their home tree, spent a lot of time preening, more so before than after mating. After mating the male preened (above left) and then had this feather in his beak (above right), which he kept for some time, even in flight to and from the tree. I recognised they were about to build the nest but my presence was inhibiting so I left to give them space.
“I suspect the feather was obtained during preening – not sure if intentionally plucked or just a loose occurrence.”
Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
14th September 2009