Innocent Juvenile Common Flameback

“There is a 28 year old 6-storey (20 m) high Trumpet tree (Tabebuia rosea) outside one of my bedrooms. As my apartment is on the fourth storey, I get to enjoy observing birds, such as Black-naped Orioles (Oriolus chinensis) and Brown-throated Sunbirds (Anthreptes malacensis), that come to visit this tree at close proximity, sometimes as close as 3 m. The noisy Asian Koels (Eudynamys scolopacea) also roost in this tree once in a while.

“One afternoon on 11th Oct 2011, my son excitedly announced that there was a woodpecker in the tree (left). While I found one partially hidden from view, he was busy taking video. Soon the Common Flameback (Dinopium javanense) I was looking at disappeared from view, and I noticed that my son was still recording with the camera pointing in a different direction. There it was, another Common Flameback ‘in the clear’. From its behaviour it looked like a juvenile and would stay for some time. I quickly set up a tripod to continue recording for more enjoyable viewings later on. After a while I realised that the window grille was getting in the way because the LCD screen seemed to be wrapped in a haze. This was quickly sorted out and the rest of the recordings became much clearer.

“After about half an hour, one of their parents came and took them away.

“The edited video shows a rather lethargic juvenile mumbling (not to be confused with the chirping of a Brown-throated Sunbird) several times in the beginning. I was unable to hear the sound even after repeated viewings. It then gave a big yawn, offering a rare glimpse of its palate. After stretching itself, it became more active and started pecking at the bark fissures. It is fascinating to see its use of the tongue as a feeler, in between pecks, to probe for the presence of preys.

“The edited video can be viewed above.”

Sun Chong Hong
9th November 2011

5 Responses

  1. Howard Banwell

    What a great location you have for bird observation, Chong Hong! This is superb.

  2. Wendy Chin

    This is my first time seeing a Flameback Juv. So cute. Thank you for sharing that. It is sometimes great to stay in an apartment at the height of a palm or tree level. I did catch some birds’ behaviors when i was staying in an apartment.

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