Red-crowned Barbet: Brood care and feeding behaviour

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

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