Olive-backed Sunbird harvesting nectar from heliconia

posted in: Feeding-plants, Sunbirds, Videography | 0

“It was about 9 am. The sun was shining brightly but I was in the shade. Then I heard the familiar chirping foraging calls of a sunbird. I turned around and there was a female Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis) harvesting nectar from the Heliconia Pstticorum ‘Lady Di’ nearby.

“Watch the video, recorded on 17 Apr, here:

“While trying to ID the Heliconia as a beginner, I came across a bewildering catalogue of Heliconia images at the website of Heliconia Society of Puerto Rico, Inc. HERE. There are several cultivars that looked very similar to the one in the video. After spending sometime studying the subtle differences between them, and with the help of the Heliconia Cultivar Checklist and Register HERE, which gives detailed description of each cultivar, I concluded that the one in my video is ‘Lady Di’.

“The description is as follows:

‘Lady Di’ H. psittacorum Status: Accepted. Nominant: C. Ullman and R. Wyss (1985). Description: Erect inflorescence; 5 to 8 distichous bracts, dark red with paler red on lower cheek; rachis red, pink, or pale pink; sepals light yellow with distal dark green band and white tip; ovary yellow; pedicel light yellow or cream. Vegetation musoid. Height 0.8 to 1.5 m (2.5 to 5 feet). Reference: Berry and Kress, 1991.”

Sun Chong Hong
Singapore
27th April 2011

Note: Heliconias are native to tropical South Amarica. The native pollinators are hummingbirds and certain species of flycatchers help to disperse the seeds.

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