Nest of the Brown-throated Sunbird

posted in: Morphology-Develop., Nests, Sunbirds | 0

“It was end March 2011. A pair of Brown-throated Sunbirds (Anthreptes malacensis) was darting around when they disappeared into the dense foliage of a small tree. A search to locate the birds led to the discovery of a nest in the dense foliage. Though common, the nest of this species had proved elusive in the past. This nest was my first sighting. The head of the female sunbird could be seen protruding out from the nest.

“The well-concealed nest was found in a tree that was along the side of a path that was heavily used. It was located directly above the path at about 3 metres above ground. It was so well hidden that it was virtually invisible from normal view. Nobody using the path would have noticed its existence. Someone standing directly below and deliberately looking perpendicularly up into the foliage might have seen it. But, this seemed an unlikely scenario. I was purely lucky to be able to discover it.

“My first impression of this nest was one of disbelief. I had expected the nest of this species to be somewhat similar to the familiar drooping, pear-shaped nest of the Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis). Unlike the suspended nest of the Olive-backed, which may gently sway with the breeze (see LINK), the nest of this Brown-throated Sunbird seemed to be firmly lodged in the branches (top). Nevertheless, there are similarities when comparing the nests of the two species. Both have side entrances leading into their nesting chambers. Both nests have porches constructed immediately above the entrances. And both species can often be seen with their head protruding out from the entrance cavities when brooding.

“Another unusual find for this female Brown-throated Sunbird lies in its long curving bill (above). As seen from the close-up images, its upper and lower mandibles were not in proper alignment. It had an abnormal crossed bill.” 

Kwong Wai Chong
8th July 2011

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