Olive-Backed Sunbird’s Affinity for Bicycles

on 26th August 2011

“The Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis) is well known to nest close to human habitation. Their nests can be found in gardens, balconies of high-rise apartments, and on potted plants. Some nests are known to be constructed over man-made objects like wind chimes and lamps. Unknown to many, this species may have an affinity for bicycles.

“Recently, I discovered a nest that was constructed below the basket of a parked bicycle (above). Apparently, this bicycle must have been left there for weeks for the nest to be fully completed. Interestingly, there was another incomplete nest on the other side of the bicycle. Could this be another nest by another pair or perhaps it was a dummy nest constructed by the same pair?

“Many years ago, there was a pair that chose to construct their nest on the handle of my neighbour’s bicycle. The bicycle was parked along the common corridor, and my neighbour had not used it for some time. Unfortunately, that nesting was not successful as my neighbour cleared away the half-built nest thinking it was rubbish.

“On other occasions, I found the Olive-backed Sunbirds, usually a pair, exploring around bicycles (above). They were probably searching for suitable nesting spots or looking for food (spiders, perhaps?). The most recent encounter was a pair that was clinging onto the basket at the front of my bicycle, which had been parked just minutes before their exploration. They were seen hovering along the entire length of the bicycle, perching for brief moments on the sides of the basket, the handle bar, and the baby seat. Finally, the male departed while the female perched itself on the back rest of the baby seat. The female looked around for another few seconds before she flew off in the same direction as the male.

“Why would the Olive-Backed Sunbirds have an affinity for bicycles?”

Kwong Wai Chong
19th August 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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