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Welcome Swallow uses Maned Duck’s feathers to line nest

on 24th December 2013

“In November 2013, we were having our lunch in a sheltered area of Eyre Gardens, Albany, West Australia when a pair of welcome swallows (Hirundo neoxena) kept swooping around us and landing on a ledge under the roof. Splotches of white stains could be seen on the floor. This piqued our curiosity and we found a nest built on a ledge under the roof. Four young chicks with very wide mouths were clearly visible.

“A few feathers stuck upright to the nest and waving gently in the wind attracted our attention as they had faint barred lines on them. The feathers were too large to have come from the parent birds. We were quite certain that feathers from other birds had been used to decorate the nest. We had no idea what birds had feathers with faint barred lines.

“The whole garden was teeming with different species of ducks and Eurasian Coots.

“While viewing our holiday videos on the computer, we recognised the feathers lining the swallow nest on the grey wings of the male Maned Ducks (Chenonetta jubata). The ducks have mottled breasts and the head is goose-like but they are the size of ducks. However, the Maned Ducks we viewed on the computer were filmed in Perth.

“Do the ducks’ feathers exude a smell that mask the odour of the swallow chicks?”

Teo Lee Wei & K.
Singapore
17th December 2013

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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