Brown-throated Sunbird uses mandibles and foot to get at flower nectar of Costus woodsonii

posted in: Feeding-plants, Sunbirds | 2

Our first post of a Brown-throated Sunbird (Anthreptes malacensis) taking nectar from the flower of Costus woodsonii (Scarlet Spiral Flag) – wrongly identified as Costus spicatus (Indian Head Ginger) – is illustrated with a single image LINK. There is a hint that the bird may have used its mandibles to pry open the flower.

Johnny Wee subsequently provided more images of nectar harvesting by the same species of sunbird LINK. The images clearly show that the bird uses its foot to pry open the flower. But then there is also an image showing the bird with its mandibles extended before it takes the nectar. This begs the question of whether it also uses its mandibles to pry open the flower.

Now, Johnny Wee has provided more images (above) and confirmed that the Brown-throated Sunbird did use its mandibles to keep open the petals after prying it with its foot. Only then did it dip into the flower to get at the nectar.

Johnny Wee
January 2014

2 Responses

  1. Victoria Delossantos

    Why is it that some Indian head flowers are big and some are small?
    Is it because there are different variety of Indian head

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