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Crimson Sunbird harvesting nectar from hibiscus

on 8th March 2010

Crimson Sunbird (Aethopyga siparaja siparaja) was observed feeding on a hibiscus flower (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) for its nectar.

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS photographed it at the Kledang-Sayong Forest Reserve in Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia on 12th February 2010.

This hibiscus is native to continental Asia, probably China. It has never been found in the wild, being cultivated for centuries in many tropical countries that its exact origin is not known

The natural pollinator of the hibiscus is believed to the hummingbird. The Crimson Sunbird, being not adapted to collect nectar from the hibiscus flower, has to short-circuit the process by piercing the base of the flower to get at the nectar. Is it a wonder then that the hibiscus never sets fruits in this part of the world?

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. There are no hummingbirds in the native range of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis – or its wild ancestors – in East Asia, so these cannot be the natural pollinators. There must be another explanation for the failure of sunbirds to pollinate the flowers: possibly that centuries of artificial breeding has greatly increased their size.

    Richard

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