Birds and fruiting Ficus benjamina in Ipoh, Malaysia

on 14th August 2010

“Tambun is a small town on the outskirts of Ipoh that has, in the past 10 years, been engulfed by the city. Now considered a suburban area with large properties and garden.

“Came across this sprawling Ficus benjamina that was fruiting extensively. Full of ‘common’ birds feeding together. There was some minor conflict, but generally enough food to keep everyone busy.

“I have grouped the birds seen over a two hour period into three groups as below:

“Birds seen feeding on Ficus benjamina ‘fruits’:
1. Pink-necked Green Pigeon (Treron vernans): 4-6 (2-3 pairs) (above left).
2. Black-naped Oriole (Oriolus chinensis maculates): 10-12, 2-3 were juvenile feeding independently (above centre).
3. Asian Glossy Starling (Aplonis panayensis strigata): a flock (more like a swarm) (above right).
4. Yellow Vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier analis): 6-8 (mostly adult pairs) (below left).
5. Coppersmith Barbet (Megalaima haemacephala indica): 4-5, 3 were juvenile feeding independently (below centre).
6. Lineated Barbet (Megalaima lineata hodgsoni): one pair.
7. Blue Rock Thrush (Monticola solitarius madoci) feeding on fallen ‘fruits’ – they forage on the ground and do not seem to pick ‘fruits’ off the tree.

“Birds suspected to feeding on Ficus benjamina ‘fruits’:
1. Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis tristis): one pair, seen checking out ‘fruits’ in tree, actual feeding not seen (above right).
2. Emerald Dove (Chalcophaps indica): one adult noted in tree but not seen feeding, flew off soon after I came.
3. Peaceful Dove (Geopelia striata) – seen picking on old ‘fruits’ that had dropped on to the pavement below (below left).

“Birds using the Ficus benjamina ‘fruits’ feeding frenzy to get other animal prey:
1. Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia horizoptera) – one pair foraging for caterpillars (above centre).
2. Pied Triller (Lalage nigra striga) – one male foraging for animal prey (above right).”

[The above images show the Coppersmith Barbet’s feeding behaviour – pecking off a piece from a fig and then taking the remainder between its mandibles to squash it before swallowing.]

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Tambun, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
16th May 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.

Other posts by YC Wee

2 Responses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Overall visits (since 2005)

Live visitors
Visitors Today

Clustrmaps (since 2016)