Liu Jianzhong a.k.a. Jz photographed a juvenile male Crimson Sunbird (Aethopyga siparaja) sipping nectar from the flower of the Water Canna (Thalia geniculata). Note his tongue projecting out from the tip of his bill.
The Water Canna belongs to the maranta family of plants, Marantaceae. The leaves are banana-like, the blade having a prominent midrib and numerous parallel side veins. The blade is connected with its stalk by a knee-like swelling and this allows it to move in response to light and humidity. Thus the specific name geniculata, meaning “bent sharply like a knee”. In some species of Maranta, the leaves fold up in the evening, as if in prayer, thus the common name, Prayer Plant.
The Water Canna proliferates in shallow marshy grounds in the full sun. Of North American origin, it is commonly grown along the edge of ponds, flowering the year round. The long, erect inflorescence bears pendulous flowers that attract sunbirds.
This post is a cooperative effort between NaturePixels.org and BESG to bring the study of bird behaviour through photography to a wider audience.