Red-crowned Barbet: Brood care and feeding behaviour

on 11th August 2012

In May-June 2006, a pair of Red-crowned Barbet (Megalaima rafflesii) was located nesting along the periphery of the old secondary forest at Mandai. In no time at all, a phalanx of photographers kept watch daily to document the nesting. Although this brought about disturbances to the nesting pair, the event concluded successfully with the fledging of a chick LINK.

The data on feeding regularity and waste disposal are now published (Wee, Y. C., Y. M. Chan & M. Chan, 2012. Feeding regularity and waste disposal by a pair of Red-crowned Barbet Megalaima rafflesii. BirdingAsia 17: 111-114), adding to whatever scarce knowledge on the species’ breeding ecology.

To summarise the findings…

1. Five observations were made, each consisting of a few hours during the morning of 30th May to 4th June.

2. The rate of feeding visits was once every 6-7 minutes or about 8-10 times per hour.

3. Not all feeding visits included nest cleaning as this obviously depended on necessity. Generally, cleaning was done 2-6 or more times per hour, decreasing as the chicks got older and their ability to digest food improved.

4. Excrement sometimes came enclosed in faecal sacs but this was not often observed. Wastes from partially digested food and faecal matter from the bottom of the nest were collected by the adult using its bill and shaken from a branch of a tree some distance away LINK.

5. Feeding started at 0900 hours or earlier. The adult would stop at a nearby branch before flying to the nest.

6. Fruits fed to the chicks included Elaeocarpus sp. and Syzygium polyanthum, brought in twos or threes. Insects included beetles and a praying mantis.

YC Wee, Chan Yoke Meng & Melinda Chan
August 2012

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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