©Foraging Behavior of Borneo’s Endemic Brown Barbets

posted in: Feeding-invertebrates | 0

“Five days prior to photographing the record shot of a juvenile Malaysian Honeyguide (Indicator archipelagicus) in Sarawak Borneo LINK, I chanced upon an opportunity and uncommon shot of a female Brown Barbet (Calorhamphus f. fuliginosus) in late rainy September, offering a small, four-legged looking gecko to its young. Perhaps a new food record…? (below left).

“This observation was followed up amidst being swamped by thousands of mosquitoes in the grounds of the Park quarters to a shallow hollow of a tree. What thought to be a nesting cavity at a distance, my photographs showed tree trunk of a decayed hollow, stripped off its bark with wood exposed and deeply embellished. The hollow resembled a deep, lacerated and necrotic opened wound of a limb. It appeared to be well prospected looking at the severity of numerous dimpled cavities pecking have made.

“Foraging behaviors of Brown Barbets are quite different from other frugivorous barbets for this species are also insectivores known for hunting insects amongst tree trunks.

“A male was seen probing into the hollow and then brought out material or cache and deposited its contents on his left side (above right). This was repeated twice before he reached out and broke a piece of remnant bark with his beak (above).

“This observation was followed by a lot of whistle-like calling by the male. The parental female soon appeared to pick up the deposits under the watchful eye of the male. Both then flew to their awaiting chick (below left).

“Fledglings of Barbet species observed tend to be robust in size and independently flighty. I would put this chick observed fleeting its wings for feeds to be less than a week old (above right).

“Breeding Brown are known to bore nesting holes in active ant or termite nests.
Hypothetically in Borneo, they are also highly suspects as brood hosts to parasitic chicks of honeyguides.”

AvianWriter Daisy O’Neill
Penang, Malaysia
Optics used: Fieldscope ED82+30x+Digital camera P3. B-8×42
Copyright images: Daisy O’Neill Bird Conservation Fund

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