On 30th March 2010, Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS encountered an adult pair of Java Sparrows (Lonchura oryzivora) – collecting nesting material in Ipoh City, Perak, Malaysia.
“A flock of feral Java Sparrows have made their home here for many years, now threatened by development,” says Amar. “Saw a pair on the ground (below left), at first thought they were feeding but looks like they were collecting nesting material for their home in the limestone hills nearby.”
Flocks of these feral sparrows nest in the limestone hills surrounding the city (above right). They usually nest in cavities found on the bare cliffs using dry grass collected from around the city. Unfortunately about 40% of these fascinating hills are being actively exploited for their limestone.
Java Sparrow has its origin in birds deliberately released in and around urban centres. It was first reported in Singapore in the 1840s and in Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur in the 1960s. Ipoh’s population appears to be flourishing because of the limestone hills, but now declining due to development.
Wells, D.R., 2007. The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsular. Vol. II, Passerines. Christopher Helm, London. 800 pp.