Olive-backed Sunbird’s blue nest: Continuing saga

on 14th June 2011

Remember the blue nest of the Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis) at Jean Ho’s balcony way back in March 2010? LINK. Well, the nestlings fledged on 15th April.

On 1st May 2010, a pair of these sunbirds took up residence in the empty nest. Subsequently a chick was seen at the entrance. Then there were two chicks. One day, towards the end of the month, no chick was seen at the nest entrance. Curious, Jean peeped into the nest and found it inside, lying still. Thinking that it was keeping a low profile, she left it alone until the afternoon of 29th May when she detected a faint smell coming from the nest. And later that evening the adults appeared at the nest entrance, as if feeding the chick. That night there was no adult inside the nest, confirming Jean’s suspicion that the chick had died.

Before the nest could be disposed of, the adults arrived and dragged the dead chick from the nest chamber, leaving it dangling outside the entrance. Jean disposed of the nest, thinking that it was soiled. What happened to the other chick? Did it fledge earlier?

In the absence of the blue nest, the sunbirds returned only to feed from the ginger plants.

However, seven months later a pair of Olive-backed Sunbird was seen around the wind chime, busy building a new nest (above left). The stages of nest building as shown above is, from left to right: day 1, day 3, day 6 of nest building, day 6 close up of nest chamber, and day 8 when cotton wool was incorporated into the nest. This time it was not building a blue nest but a white one, as Jean left a supply of cotton wool around.

After nearly ten days of nest building, monkeys came and destroyed the nest.

Dr Jean Ho
June 2011

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.

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