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Glossy Swiftlet steals nest materials from Baya Weaver II

on 18th March 2010

“I was out today to re-visit old locations in the city, with secondary jungle/scrub, that are being threatened by development.

“In May 2009 I reported a Baya Weaver (Ploceus philippinus infortunatus) nesting colony (8-10 nests) where Glossy Swiftlets (Collocalia esculenta cyanoptila) were robbing the active nests of Baya Weaver of their nesting material

“Went back to the exact location and saw the same behaviour still occurring.

“Many Glossy Swiftlets, one or two at a time would swoop down repeatedly to the completed Baya Weaver nest. They all target the same two nests that were already partially destroyed (one more than the other, both were close to each other). The material was again collected from the nest entry location (entrance-tube section). Possibly easier to steal and rip off from this location.

“The Glossy Swiftlets would either swoop in and grab a loose strand with their beak and pull away until it snapped. Or land upside down, hold on with their feet and pull out a strand (above left).

“Again they were stealing the Baya Weaver nesting material from a nest with young within. The activity was ‘violent’ and the nest swing side to side as they pulled strands hard. Again the Baya Weavers continued to feed their young (some difficulty in entering the nest) but did not seem to chase away the Glossy Swiftlets (above right). All the material brought for feeding was animal prey and I have only seen female feeding young (often caterpillars).

“About 10 meters away I saw more ‘healthy’ Glossy Swiftlets that were collecting nesting material of dried strands from a dead creeper (above left) It was tougher work but an honest day’s labour.

“You can see in contrasting the two nest being robbed how much material has been lost from the entrance-tube section of the nest (above right).

“I suspect this “colony” of Glossy Swiftlets has learned this bad behaviour and it will persist.”

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh City, Perak, Malaysia
6th March 2010

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.

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