Yellow-eared Spiderhunter: 1. Nest building

posted in: Nesting, Nests | 1

“I mentioned recently that I have been searching for spiderhunter nests for a long time. I was fortunate today to spot the nest building activity of the Yellow-eared Spiderhunters (Arachnothera chrysogenys chrysogenys). Available literatures suggest that the nest is similar to other spiderhunters, suspended underneath a large leaf. But in the region Wells 2007 states that there has been ‘no authentic description’.

“Of 5 nests reported to be of this species 2 were re-identified as those of Spectacled Spiderhunter, 1 of the Long-billed Spiderhunter. One other also possibly of the Spectacled Spiderhunter and the last uncertain (Wells 2007).

“An image and word search of the internet did not reveal any clear image or authentic description of the nest, however:
a. Davison G.W.H. (1999) The Birds of Borneo by B. E. Smythies (4th edition) reports one nest “an elongated structure … attached to the underside of a big monocotyledonous leaf …”
b. An image posted by Mike Birder on his blog may suggest a nest, see HERE.

“The nest I saw today was 7-8 meters up a large tree and situated inside a mass of epiphytes attached to a broken branch of the tree (above). The branch was still connected to the main tree by vines. It was mobile but appeared secure. The image below offers a side view which gives a better understanding of the structure.

“The birds were very active, bringing nesting material every 0.5-5 minutes during my observation period (below).

“Both adults were involved equally in nest building activities. Pauses away from the nest may have been feeding activities. Visits to the nest are brief but every 10-15 minutes (4 episodes seen in an hour) one adult would spend more time in the nest pressing down the nesting material and using the body and beak to shape the nest (below).

“Disclosure: I spent 2 hours at the nesting site with intermittent observations and episodes of walking away. The birds were fully aware of my presence and visited the nest frequently while I was present. The height of the nest allowed for some security and distance from me.”

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
20th July 2014

Location: Kledang-Sayong Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Habitat: A trail through primary jungle

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