Juvenile Dark-necked Tailorbird sleeps with one eye closed

on 15th May 2010

After reading the earlier post on birds sleeping with one eye closed, Forest Ang sent in his image of the Dark-necked Tailorbird (Orthotomus atrogularis) taken on 18th April 2010 at 8.30 am in Kedah, Malaysia to illustrate the point (below left). Note that the right eye is closed, with the eyelid drawn up. The left eye is wide open.

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Forest and his friends had arrived at a campsite along the edge of Pedu Lake on the evening of 17th April. There was a dead bird in the water whose identity they could not then determine (above right). Note that the eye is covered with the nictitating membrane.

“The next morning, while still lazing in the tent, the deep chirping calls of tailorbirds woke us,” recounts Forest. “I noticed that this particular tailorbird did not move at all while another was calling further inside the forest. It was then that we realised it was a juvenile. It would make noisy calls to its parent (only one adult) and then stop to rest before making calls again. We went up close and took pictures, sometime just a foot away from the bird. I presumed these birds were still too weak to fly. The dead baby could have drowned.”

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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