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© SPIKY DURIAN AND GREATER GREEN LEAFBIRD

on 4th February 2012

“The subject of pursuing best quality durians (Durio zibethinus) is never a dull moment to durian connoisseurs who would be prepared to pay a day’s laborer’s wage for a fruit or two, drive kilometers after kilometers, galloping on their four wheels during a good season in hot pursuit and to indulge in this King of fruits. There are many species- each segmented and clove fruit with their own peculiar refined textures, aroma and taste.

“During the flowering season, the fragrant blooms attract a host of pollinating insects and birds especially spiderhunters (above).

“It takes about 100-120 days before the ripe, spiky fruit- the size between that of a rugby and football – dislodges itself from the vital branch via a stem-like umbilical cord. It then drops to the ground for picking.

“[The image below (left)] shows the bi-annual, dangling fruit had an early visitor. It is usually squirrels that somehow managed to gnaw at the thick, spiky skin to reach the delicious, aromatic, sweet and buttery fruit pulp.
The silhouette of a bird prospecting the durian caught my attention against a back lighting sky.

“My incorrect viewing position could not appreciate a clear view of what the bird was doing behind the fruit. At most, I was only able to see the bird clinging onto the spiky contraption fruit.

“My Fieldscope identified the green looking bird to be a male Greater Green Leafbird (Chloropsis Sonnerati) (above right)

“The spikes were not a deterrent. The 20.5-22.5cm bird was further seen scaling and indulging over the fruit with ease in various comfortable positions (above).

“Eventually, having had his fill and with all evidence smudged on his beak, the male leafbird then flew away (above left).

“[The images above (right)] shows an opportunity view of what was left of the eaten fruit rendering it commercially unviable.

“The squirrel has made a friend of the Greater Green Leafbird (Chloropsis sonnerati) by making the fruit accessible to the latter.

“The main diet of leafbirds is mainly arthropods, some figs and berry species and maybe nectar. Perhaps, this opportunity observation includes durian as a new food record for the Green Leafbird species especially of the Greater Green…?”

Avian Writer Daisy O’Neill
Optics: Fieldscope ED82+30x+Camera P3. Binoculars 8×32
Copyright Article& Images copy: Courtesy of Daisy O’Neill Bird Conservation Fund

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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