Blue-winged Minla and Long-tailed Sibia feeding on nectar

posted in: Feeding-plants | 1

“The Blue-winged Minla (Minla cyanouroptera sordidior) are recorded to take animal prey and and fruits but there is no record of nectar feeding (see Wells 2007).

“I observed a small flock of 3 Blue-winged Minlas feeding on nectar for 10 minutes (above). They were accompanied by Long-tailed Sibias (Heterophasia picaoides wrayi) (below). [The birds were feeding] on the nectar of flowers of a tall tree that appears to be of the Eucalyptus species. A small clump of these trees have been planted here that are not native to the country, and possibly of Australian origin. The birds would visit many flowers and take nectar from the centre of the ‘feathery’ flowers. I did not see them take any animal prey.

“As nectar feeding in the Blue-winged Minla has not been described in literature, I conducted an internet image search and word search for Blue-winged Minla looking for nectar events. There are a number of image reports of nectar feeding for this species.

“1. Callistemon (Bottlebrush) flowers (another Australian import). A number of images of feeding on nectar of a Callistemon (Bottlebrush) flowers. Three example HERE, HERE and HERE.

“2. Although I am dealing with the species from the Peninsular, there is one example from China showing a Blue-winged Minla feeding on the dark purple nectar of the Leucosceptrum canum flowers. Zhang, F.-P., Cai, X.-H., Wang, H., Ren, Z.-X., Larson-Rabin, Z. and Li, D.-Z. (2012), Dark purple nectar as a foraging signal in a bird-pollinated Himalayan plant. New Phytologist, 2012; 193: 188–195. SOURCE.

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
17th July 2013

Location: 1,700m ASL, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia
Habitat: A public road along primary montane forest


    Dear Amar,

    Thanks for the update. A fine example to emulate that one should not be content to be ‘tunnel-vision’ to read and accept all context in field guides alone but to explore beyond and be fearless to document observations. With photos, to substantiate one just can’t be far from wrong…..



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