In June 2012 David Tan Jian Xiong was conducting a nature walk at the Bottle Tree Park in Jaln Mempurong when he noticed a female Laced Woodpecker (Picus vittatus) attracted to a durian fruit (Durio zibethinus) in a nearby tree. The woodpecker, normally insectivorous, was using its long tongue to repeatedly probe into an opening in a fruit (above).
“Every few seconds of probing or so, the bird would perk its head up to check that the coast was clear before proceeding to resume with using its tongue to probe the durian’s malodorous orifice,” wrote David in his blog. “After a few minutes or so, the woodpecker eventually lost interest in the durian and flew off, which provided an excellent opportunity for me to grab a quick shot of the underside of its wing (below left).”
“One thing remains unclear, however, and that is whether or not the woodpecker was feeding on insects inside the durian fruit or whether it was feasting on the supposedly buttery flesh that surrounds the durian seed (I wouldn’t know, I’ve never tried durian before),” continued David. “Based on the photograph (above right), taken about 30 mins later when the fruit seller cut down the durian fruit to sell, it would appear that there were tiny ants inside the durian shell, which suggests that the woodpecker may have been feeding on these, although the woodpecker might also have been feeding on the durian flesh as well since woodpeckers do sometimes also feed on fruit, as was mentioned in a BESG article some years back LINK.
David Tan Jian Xiong