© Go Carambolas With Wild Birds in Sepilok – N.Borneo

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“A tropical, succulent fruit when matured grows to about 10cm in length. When ripened, tastes sweet with an astringent finish. Shaped like a 5-pointed star when sliced cross-sectioned, is known to locals as Starfruit (Averrhoa carambola) and is also commercially grown (left).

“When left unplucked in private fruit gardens or orchard, ripen fruits become hosts to several species of birds. Some were observed to peck and swallow its flesh, some chewed to extract its juices and disposed off its fibres while those with thin bills simply stabbed and sipped up.

“A fruiting tree beside a stream was observed to have about a dozen fruits of variable ripeness hanging from its branches and hosting a hive of bird foraging activities.

“A family of Yellow-rumped Flowerpeckers (Prionochilus xanthopygius) – endemic to Borneo was observed visiting and foraging at the tree for several mornings and evenings.

“Male (above-left), juvenile (above-right) and female (below-left) bird shown here.

“The small stream nearby served well as bathing area for bird species. A pair of Red-eyed Bulbuls (Pycnonotus brunneus) flew in for some Carambolas and rested over during tea time (left).

“A female Greater Green Leafbird (Chloropis sonnerati) visited for short periods and flew away having taken fruit samples (above-right).

“A restless breeding pair of Orange-bellied Flowerpeckers (Dicaeum trigonostigma) was also observed making several revisits. These small birds are ‘clean’ foragers in the sense, would pick at same fruit until all goodness is consumed before flying to begin foraging on a new fruit (below).

“Small restless birds are difficult to photograph with a Digiscope but not impossible. With patience and plenty of practices, would somehow provide quite decent images to substantiate observations and do justice to documenting their foraging behaviour.

“More images coming up on bird –fruit-nectarine related series.”

Avian Writer Daisy O’Neill
Penang, Malaysia

Copyright article and all copy bird images – Courtesy of Daisy O’Neill Bird Conservation Fund

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