“We noticed a small flock (10-12) of nesting Glossy Swiftlets (Collocalia esculenta cyanoptila) starting to build nests on the under surface of the balconies of an apartment building. Usually these swiftlets choose darker environments like car parks or large drainage tunnels, etc, so this was a bit unusual.
“However the main observation was the conflict between the nesting birds. One pair had managed to find a good nesting site and was clinging on to that corner surface (above). Other birds were interested to gain that vantage point and were continually harassing them, to the point of pulling their feather and even landing on them. This was associated with loud calls and squeaks (which I failed to document). Note that I have increased the brightness of images to allow us to view the activity.
“With so many other balconies available we wondered why this was happening. Looking closely we recognised that the surfaces had been recently painted. We suspect that the management had cleared old nests, smoothed the surfaces and re-painted the balconies under surfaces to discourage bird nesting. We saw other birds having difficulty landing or gripping many other corners that were being attempted. This one corner had some irregularity that allowed a perch (above).
“So this breeding pair was clinging on defiantly in the face of the onslaught.
“I generally found this unusual as the Glossy Swiftlets generally nest communally and sociably.”
Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
25th March 2015
Location: 1700m ASL, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia
Habitat: Apartment buildings built into primary montane forest