Nesting of the Pied Fantail: 1. Nest construction

posted in: Nesting, Nests | 0

“In March I posted our resident Pied Fantails (Rhipidura javanica longicaudata) nesting in a Payung Sumatra (Hura Crepitans, sandbox tree) LINK. Despite laying eggs the nesting failed a few weeks later. On the 23rd April I noticed that their behaviour was unusual, they seemed to be searching in the garden for items rather than feeding.

“Watching casually for a while allowed us to spot that they had just begun constructing a new nest in our patio on a Bauhinia kokiana creeper.

Disclosure: I would like to start with a disclosure of our behaviour. This nest is very close to us and very accessible. It is being built just 3 meters from where we sit in our garden for meals and adjacent to were our car is parked in the drive way. It is only 1.5 metres off the ground and we can just barely ‘peep’ into the nest. Hence we have had to be very careful not to disturb this nesting couple. I have to open our gate and go out of the home to take some images. I have limited images to very few and no videos as, although they are happy for us to watch, they dislike the camera intensely.

Observations & Timeline: The nest is just 1.5 metres off the ground built in our Bauhinia kokiana creeper (we attached this creeper to our pillar and wall with metal hooks) (above).

23/04/2011 (Day 1): Construction began in the mid morning (above left) and rapidly grew in size [by evening] (above centre). A lot of sticky material, especially spider webs and material from pupae were used to anchor material to the branch.

25/04/2011 (Day 3): Construction was undertaken by both partners and occurred in fits and spurts. By Day 3 the rest was recognisable (above right). The extensive use of spider web can be clearly seen.

26/04/2011 to 30/04/2011 (Day 4-8): I had been travelling extensively on work overseas and could not document nesting but my wife has been watching assures me that there was little activity during this period. They seem to have ‘lost interest’ for a while.

01/05/2011 to 04/03/2011 (Day 9-11): Renewed vigour to build and rapid construction to close to completion (above left = day 10; above middle = day 12).

“I have lots of observations of them coming repeatedly with small items to add to the nest. They also use the body to ‘rim’ and shape the cup (above right=at day 10). They still do not appear satisfied and continue to add to the nest.

“Meanwhile, these past 2 weeks, the Pied Fantail has been serenading us from the early hours of the morning (before 5 am) – the sheer joy of breeding or territorial in nature.”

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS & Datin Dr Swee-Im Lim
Canning Garden Home, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
23rd April to 4th May 2011

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