Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker feeding on fruits of Scurrula

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS photographed a moulting male Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker (Dicaeum cruentatum) feeding on the fruits of a mistletoe plant (left). Note that the head of the bird is covered with short shafts of pin feathers (above). The white sheath holds the developing feather and as the barbs break through the tip of the sheath, the latter will gradually disintegrate.

The photograph was taken at the fringe of the Kledang-Sayong Forest Reserve in Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia on 18th October 2011.

Francis Lim, who has been studying mistletoes in Singapore LINK, identified the semi-parasitic plant as either Scurrula parasitica or S. ferruginea. “Both species look almost alike, both having rusty leaf undersides and club-shaped fruits,” wrote Francis. “I noticed some curved flower buds, which would indicate the species … is S. ferruginea. S. parasitica flower buds tend to be long and straight and not covered with fine hairs. Of course any shots of the flowers would be helpful.”

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS & Francis Lim
December 2011

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