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Bulbuls feeding on wild pepper

on 1st December 2012

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS was walking along the open trail through the primary forest of the Kledang-Sayong Forest Reserve in Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia on 14th November 2012 when he came across a wild pepper plant (Piper sp.). The climber was fruiting high on a tree. The fruits were bunched along an elongated stalk, green turning orange with ripening.

Three species of bulbuls were feeding on the fruits. The birds “were competitive in trying to gain access to the plant. As it was a climber/creeper, they had to flutter to pull off pieces or try to find some foothold (occasionally on unripe fruit) to gain access,” wrote Amar. “Bulbuls have a wide diet and the range of food amazes me.”

The image at the top shows the Cream-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus simplex simplex). That below it, the Red-eyed Bulbul (Pycnonotus brunneus). The lowest image shows the Spectacled Bulbul (Pycnonotus erythropthalmos) eating the pepper fruits.

Note: Through the courtesy of Chew Ping Ting, Ali Ibrahim, Paul KF Leong, Lua Hock Keong and Serene Lee of Singapore’s National Parks Board, the plant has been identified as a wild pepper, probably Piper longum or Piper retrofractum (formerly Piper chaba).

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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