Greater Green Leafbird feeding on fruiting Muntingia calabura

posted in: Feeding-plants | 0

“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

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