Lineated Barbet, Asian Glossy Starlings and Ceram Palm fruits

on 7th December 2015

It was around 1600 hours in the evening of 12th August 2015. The sky was overcast and it was drizzling lightly. I was keeping watch on the bunch of ripening Ceram Palm (Rhopaloblaste ceramica) fruits in their colourful yellow, orange and red.

I was waiting for the Pied Imperial-pigeons (Ducula bicolor) to arrive as a few were seen in an earlier fruiting feeding on the fruits.

Instead, Asian Glossy Starlings (Aplonis panayensis), adults as well as juveniles, were pecking at the ripe fruits. These starlings were always around, gathering among the fronds just before they fly off to their night roost in some wayside trees nearby.

Then a single Lineated Barbet (Megalaima lineata) flew in, perching on a branch on the other side of the massive mass of fruiting branches (top image by Johnny Wee from a different location; above video). Immediately the starlings flew off. Although the barbet is only slightly larger than the starlings, its massive bill must have been intimidating. Anyway Piciformes tend to be aggressive, even belligent, especially at food source (Short & Horne, 2002).

The barbet then started pecking on the fruit, trying to detach them but without success. Instead, thin pieces of the outer flesh got torn from the fruits. Some pieces the barbet swallowed while most fell to the ground.

All this time the starlings were nowhere nearby.

The following evenings the Lineated Barbet was absent from the palm. The starlings (more juveniles than adults) thus fed on the fruits undisturbed (above).
YC Wee
November 2016

Short, L. L. & J. F. M. Horne, 2002. Family Capitonidae (Barbets). In: del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott & J. Sargatal (eds.), Handbook of the birds of the world. Vol. 7. Jacamars to Woodpeckers. Lynx Editions, Barcelona. Pp. 140-219.

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.

Other posts by YC Wee

One Response

  1. Hello! I’d like to talk with Johnny Wee. I am seeking permission to use an image on our nonprofit website, Would you please email me and I can explain? Thanks!
    Ellen Blackstone, BirdNote

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