Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS was in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia on 29th September 2010. There he came across a pair of Brown-throated Sunbirds (Anthreptes malacensis) having a “squabble” with an adult male Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis).
“They repeatedly had to chase the Olive-backed Sunbird away from either their nesting site (did not spot it) or feeding grounds,” recounted Amar. “The Brown-throated Sunbird male then proceeded to enjoy a nectar feed on one of its favourite trees, the *Coral Tree (Erythrina variegata) (left). So absorbed was he that I could get close pictures.
“The subspecies and distribution in Borneo is not fully certain (see The Birds of Borneo 4th edition 1999 by Smythies & revised by Davidson and the Internet Bird Collection). Up north in Sabah (northern Borneo) Anthreptes malacensis bornensis is the common subspecies. Down south in Sarawak it is either Anthreptes malacensis malacensis or bornensis or intermediate birds. The differentiation being brightness of colour, so not easy to tell.”
Anthony Wong agreed with Amar’s observations, saying, “Among the three species of sunbirds in my garden Brown-throated is the most aggressive and will make a loud entry and departure from the feeding ground and chase away whoever are there – most of the time it is the olive-backed.”
NOTE: *The tree may be the Brown Coral Tree, Erythrina fusca.