on 22nd April 2014

“Many who have been to Fraser’s Hill, Peninsular Malaysia for nature appreciation and birdwatching would be familiar with the resident Glossy Swiftlets (Collocalia esculenta), with their healthy roost in a barricaded garage (above). This has been their safe haven for multiple generations and they continue to live and breed here to this day.

“On the evening of 22nd March 2014, an aerial assembly of Glossy Swiftlets caught our attention as they were circling intently around the crown of an emergent tree (top). Then right before our eyes, the swiftlets took turns to bombard a dangling clump of beard-like lichen (Usnea sp.) that was growing from a high branch.

“The following morning (23rd March), we returned to the site and were delighted to witness the same activity with the rising sun. One after the other, the swiftlets were eagerly swooping in and tugging away strands of this lichen with their beaks (images above and below).

“Two video clips of the swiftlets collecting lichen may be previewed below.

“Back at the swiftlet colony, it was clear to see why they were collecting all that lichen with such enthusiasm and urgency (below). We wish them reproductive success in this year’s breeding season!”

Dr. Leong Tzi Ming & Dr. Vilma D’Rozario
4th April 2014

Footnote: “We understand that the predators of the Glossy Swiftlets in this garage include the Malayan Racer, the Collared Owlet and the Yellow-throated Marten. But to date, we have not been able to get a photo of such predation. Just anecdotes…” – Vilma D’Rozario, 22nd April 2014.

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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