Orange-bellied Flowerpecker and fruit of Muntingia calabura

“More about flowerpeckers feeding on the fruiting Muntingia calabura I have been visiting these past four weeks.

“The most prominent flowerpecker at this tree is the Orange-bellied Flowerpecker (Dicaeum trigonostigma trigonostigma). There can be between 2-5 at any one time, usually mid to late morning. A mixture of adult males, females and self-feeding immature females.

“Their technique of feeding is quite different from the Yellow-vented Flowerpecker (Dicaeum chrysorrheum chrysorrheum) LINK. They look for a really ripe fruit, peck at it to get an opening and then piece meal address the fruit (above, female feeding).

“…an audio recording (calls-2a) while feeding – HERE. They are described as making a ‘zit, zit’ call when feeding (see Dr Wells 2007) and I can confirm this observation. A video of a female and male feeding events merged together is shown below:

Special Note:
There is often much conflict over the fruit, with the Orange-bellied FP being the most quarrelsome. AG Glenister (The birds of the Malay Peninsula, Singapore and Penang, 1971) had this to say when commenting on the Yellow-vented FP ‘Like other members of the same family, it is apparently quarrelsome, the different members of a flock pursuing one another in a most aggressive fashion.’

“The Orange-bellied FPs from ‘different’ family groups (an assumption on my part) chased the others frequently. They seemed to be fighting for the fruit and most activities involved chasing away ‘rivals’. What was most surprising was seeing, on three occasions, an adult male or female launch itself at another adult (female-female, male-male, male-female) and lock claws, like the raptors do. They will then plummet down to almost hitting the ground before breaking free. If I had not seen this three times I might have considered it my imagination.”

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Fringe of Kledang-Sayong Forest Reserve
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
18th & 22nd October, 5th November 2011,

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