Greater Green Leafbird feeding on fruiting Muntingia calabura

on 11th December 2012

“When a Muntingia calabura is fruiting at the fringe of the forest reserve, a number of forest birds will venture out to feed on it. On this occasion I saw the following birds feeding on it, often competitively:

Greater Green Leafbird (Chloropsis sonnerati zosterops)
Gold-whiskered Barbet (Megalaima chrysopogon)
Yellow-vented Flowerpecker (Dicaeum chrysorrheum chrysorrheum)
Orange-bellied Flowerpecker (Dicaeum trigonostigma trigonostigma)
Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker (Dicaeum cruentatum)
Yellow Vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier analis)

“As I have mentioned previously, the Muntingia calabura (local called ‘Ceri Kampung’ i.e. Village Cherry) is an ‘import’ from South American and has done well locally. In Malaysia it grows very easily and is widespread. The fruit is 1-1.5 cm in diameter, edible, sweet and juicy when ripe, and contains a number of small seeds LINK.

“The top image shows the feeding technique: The Greater Green Leafbird feeds on the fruit by piercing the ripe fruit with the lower mandible, using the pink tongue to lick the juice and tilt the head upwards to let it drain down. As the fruit collapses the bird will reposition the fruit to crush it between the mandibles and squeeze out the pulp. See also Wells 2007 for more information.

“The image on the left differentiates the male Greater Green and Lesser Green Leafbirds:
Differentiating the adult males is not always easy in the field. Both the birds shown here are young adults. Notice the larger, heavier beak of the Greater Green (lower image) and the black face mask which goes round to the back of the eye in the Greater Green.”

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Kledang-Sayong Forest Reserve
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
(Village at fringe of primary jungle)
14th November 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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