“While visiting a private durian estate in Peninsula Malaysia, an accidental discovery was made of a tree termitarium over a branch stump cavity about twenty feet above ground in January 2012 (below left).
“From this cavity, I noticed movements. Suddenly, small birds no less than four of them were flying out singularly in short intervals. With wheezy sounding calls, they took swift flights and disappeared into a canopy of durian (Durio zibethinus) trees nearby.
“I recognised them with their coral pink legs and feet and managed a shot of an adult male, Brown Barbet (Calorhamphus fuliginosus hayii) (above right).
“Over the next few days, revisits confirmed a partly communal family was using the stump also as a roost. They were seen flying in and out at various times of the day and took to party food raids and one seen to have brought food and entered into the cavity. As dusk began, they returned to roost. An adult pair is shown here (below left).
“A male helper was seen amongst the regular family of four (above right). |Plate 4| In March 2013, an adult pair was seen again (below left). A juvenile male was also extracted from a video shoot (below right).
“Brown Barbets are known to breed from around February-September.
“It was also observed the birds took to open perches in neighbouring branches to preen, stretch their wings or just perched contently and enjoyed fresh air during the day and returned to roost by dusk (below and bottom left).
“They have also exhibited territoriality when Orioles, Barbets and Woodpeckers came too close to prospect neighbouring tree branches.
“There is one particular species of bird with supposedly a very short breeding season I am looking out for within that vicinity.
“Shown here is a young juvenile bird- Malaysian Honeyguide (Indicator arachipelagicus) taken in a different time… in a different place (above right). |
“The female Malaysian Honeyguide – a parasitic suspect on Brown Barbets – may one day perhaps set a record confirmation that the latter do play host parents to the former.
“When it does, that would be the day of rejoice…”
Avian Writer Daisy O’Neill
20th April 2013
Copyright article and All Images: Courtesy of Daisy O’Neill Bird Conservation Fund