on 26th January 2012

“The Blue-crowned Hanging-parrot (Loriculus galgulus) left a parable behind as he flew off for man to perhaps learn the creed of not being greedy- by only taking what was needed for sustenance. He was also a neat eater, not wasteful neither nor destroyed the rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum), rendering the fruit not serviceable by those that came after him LINK..

“Instead, the hanging-parrot aligned itself to be host cum Guest-of Honour for another winged wonder- a female Brown-throated Sunbird (Anthreptes malacensis)- to enjoy the already exposed thick- skinned, hairy fruit.

“Within a minute of the parrot’s departure flight, the awaiting and opportunistic sunbird flew in to inspect the rambutan (above left).

“This is definitely not a symbiotic arrangement but one of opportunity.

“The image of the Brown-throated Sunbird’s small bill (above right), though a bit straighter than her cousins, is not adapted for peeling. Instead its tool is more designed for probing and sipping nectar and perhaps… with limited capacity to collect food in small bits (below left).

“(I have turned the images above around to see the bird better, though making the stoned fruit to appear in horizontal levitating position).

“The above image (right) shows the 14cm sunbird enjoying a feast of the fruity flesh.

“Having had her fill, the sunbird too left the remnant rambutan behind to await yet another third visitor- a wasp looking insect (left).

“The Brown-throated Sunbird then flew around prospecting the fruit tree for opportunities. Eventually, she located a sunburst fruit with flesh already exposed, to enjoy a dig-in sip of yet another serving of sweet rambutan juice of nature’s providence (below).

Avian Writer Daisy O’Neill
Penang, Malaysia
Optics used: Fieldscope ED82+30X+ Camera P3
Copyright Article & Images: Copy courtesy from:

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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