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Sunbirds sipping nectar from flowers

on 12th December 2012

“This is a series of videos about sunbirds sipping nectar of plants. All taken around the grounds of my condominium.

1) Olive-backed Sunbird – Canna `Pennsylvania’

“This beautiful Canna cultivar (above) was identified using the reference at “Know your Cannas” LINK.

“In the video, recorded on 28th April 2011 at about 9.40 am, the male appeared to need more effort to pierce its bill through the sepal/petal to reach the nectar. [Note that the sunbird is actually robbing the flower of its nectar by piercing its bill through the base of the flower and thus not helping in its pollination.]”

2) Olive-backed Sunbird (Nectarinia jugularis) and Ixora

“The Ixora is a genus of flowering plants commonly found in gardens and parks. Yet, surprisingly, …there is almost no information about what species of birds are attracted to these plants other than the [Eurasian Tree] sparrow (Passer montanus) LINK, besides the tiger shrike(?) (Lanius tigrinus) LINK

“Perhaps, with this video taken on 25th April 2011 at about 8.45 am, a record can be added for the Olive-backed Sunbird to be associated with the plant.

“At the end of the video, the male in full breeding plumage interrupted its meal abruptly because someone rushed by.

“The Ixora appeared to be either a javanica or a coccinea, definitely not the dwarf varieties.”

3) Olive-backed Sunbird and Heliconia psittacorum “Choconiana”

“This was recorded on 2nd October 2012 at about 9 am. As usual, the feeding was accompanied by chirps in between sips and at moments when the bird took off to reach another perch.”

4) Olive-backed Sunbird and Wild Water Plum (Wrightia religiosa)

“This was recorded on 25th November 2012 at about 8.30 am. When I saw the bird hopping in the plant, I could not tell what it was doing. Only after I reviewed the video on the computer monitor screen did I realise that it was drinking the nectar of the Wild Water Plum flower.”

5) Crimson Sunbird (Aethopyga siparaja) and Fire Cracker Plant Russelia equisetiformis

“For the first time, a Crimson Sunbird was so near (about 10 feet) and stayed long enough for me to record its action. Taken on 12th June 2012 at about 6.30 pm.

“Not sure if my observation is correct, but it seems that, unlike Olive-backed, Crimson Sunbird do not chirp will they feed.”

Sun Chong Hong
Singapore
26th 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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