© Courtship Feeding Behavior of Gold-Whiskered Barbet Pair

on 7th March 2012

“Different barbet species have been known to each have their own peculiar way of courtship feeding. While breeding male Coppersmith Barbets (Megalaima haemacephala) have been observed to demand a condition of sex first before offering their gifts, I chanced an opportunity of a fig foraging, perhaps inexperienced male Gold-whiskered Barbet (M. chrysopogon) learning the ropes of wooing a female the hard way.

“Here is a routine shot of a male with a ripe fig (left).

“Instead of devouring it, he flew to a nearby fig tree branch where a female perched awaiting an offer.

“Digiscope followed my observation.

“Courtship feeding took place and the female swallowed the berry fig in a jiffy (below).

“‘Is that all?’

“A vacant expression look issued from the female (below left).

“Did readers notice the insatiable female quickly retracted her body and distanced herself away from the male? (below right).

“Without further ado, the female Gold-whiskered Barbet did a runner and left the suitor in aghast (below left).

“‘Oh…dear… There goes the berry, she gone too and so is my one dangling, ripe berry’ (below right).

“Did readers notice a partially hidden, ripe berry fig dangling quite in front of the female’s eyeballs in the earlier images?

“The ripe berry took flight with the female. Left behind was the blurry, moving image of the foliage that partially hid the red fig for the surprised and less generous male to stare blankly at.

“‘Wah… blind me, she was so quick!!’

“Barbet’s parable to mankind – ‘It is futile exercise for males with little to offer, woo ladies with quantum needs.'”

Avian Writer Daisy O’Neill
Optics used: Fieldscope ED82+30x+Camera P3. Binoculars- 8×32
Copyright article and 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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