Why do birds call when preening?

on 2nd June 2012

“I’ve seen quite a few birds preen and call at the same time, and managed to catch a Brown-throated Sunbird (Anthreptes malacensis) doing this in the video below.

“I don’t know why birds multi-task this way, maybe it’s for the joy of it, like singing in the shower?

Lena Chow
24th May 2012

Any idea anyone?

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.

Other posts by YC Wee

2 Responses

  1. I agree with Lena about “the joy of singing” but in addition I believe it is also a call to keep in audio contact with partner, who may be doing something else (some distance away). Very common behavior & well documented here.

  2. Yes totally agree with Dato Amar’s observation that those calls are usually audio contact calls keeping their partner in check.

    There is a regular pair of same species that visit whenever my ‘powder puff’ tree blooms with their attractive red flowers and the branches are tall enough to overhang my upstairs balcony. The chirping and preening usually comes from the male and the female is never too far away. My washline is a favourite perch for the male and has got accustomed to the place,allowing me to sit on my balcony chair and observed him close -up.


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