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Glossy Swiftlet – nesting conflict

on 12th April 2015

“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

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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