Pied Imperial-pigeon feeding on fruits of Ceram and Alexandra Palms

on 21st November 2015

On 12th July at 1800 hours, two Pied Imperial-pigeons (Ducula bicolor) flew silently to the same Alexandra Palm (Archontophoenix alexandrae) that was visited by three of them two days earlier (above). One flew off about a minute later. The other remained for another two minutes. During these three minutes the second imperial-pigeon frantically picked and swallowed a total of 34 fruits (below).

Flying from the Alexandra Palm, the second imperial-pigeon landed on the nearby Ceram Palm (Rhopaloblaste ceramica). Apparently the other bird was already there. Unlike the hectic feeding earlier, they took their time choosing and picking the fruits. These larger fruits were also swallowed whole (below).

The pair remained on the Ceram Palm for about 3.5 minutes before flying off. One of the imperial-pigeons swallowed a total of 8 fruits while the other only 3 (as it arrived earlier it must have swallowed a few more but this was not observed) and discarded a few that landed near to where I was standing below. On examining the discarded fruits, I found that much of their outer layer of pulp had already been removed earlier by other birds.

Based on ten fallen fruits collected from beneath each palm, the mean weight and dimensions of the Ceram Palm (above) are 50g and 30x20x18mm while those of Alexandra Palm (below) are 5g and 13x11x11mm. In term of weight, the former is about ten times heavier.

It can be assumed that after flying from the Ceram Palm, both imperial-pigeons would soon regurgitate the many seeds that were swallowed earlier – see HERE and HERE.

YC Wee
November 2015

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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