Crimson Sunbird harvesting nectar from hibiscus

posted in: Feeding-plants, Sunbirds | 3

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?

3 Responses

  1. Richard Corlett

    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.


  2. hibiscus rosa sinensis

    […] Linn English: China rose, Hibiscus Tagalog: Gumamela Gumamela is cultivated as an ornamental …Bird Ecology Study Group Crimson Sunbird harvesting nectar …Crimson Sunbird (Aethopyga siparaja siparaja) was observed feeding on a hibiscus flower (Hibiscus […]

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