“I have just been watching two Straw-headed Bulbuls (Pycnonotus zeylanicus) on a tree outside my study pulling pink petals off bauhinia flowers and eating them. I have never seen this before. Is it rare?” queried Richard Hale on 4th August 2010.
The bauhinia is Blake’s bauhinia or Hongkong orchid tree (Bauhinia x blakeana). It is a hybrid, perhaps between B. variegata and B. purpurea. This is a smallish tree, sparsely branched and popularly grown in gardens for its attractive pink flowers. The leaves are deeply notched, looking like the wings of butterflies.
Birds eating flower petals is not uncommon, as seen with: Pink-necked Green Pigeon and simpoh, Long-tailed Parakeet and simpoh, Long-tailed Parakeet and seram palm, Blue-naped Parrot and sea almond and Red-whiskered Bulbul and starfruit.