David Tan’s image shows a male Crimson Sunbird (Aethopyga siparaja) taking nectar from a flower of an ant plant, Dischidia major (previously D. rafflesiana, identified by Johnny Wee).
Dischidia major is a creeping epiphyte that grows on the branches of old trees. The leaves are small, roundish and thick. Some leaves develop into hollow pitchers that are inhabited by ants (above, below, scale = mm – YC Wee). These ants bring in organic debris that provides nutrients to the plant.
Flowers are small, greenish-yellow, borne on a short stalks and flask-shaped. They do not open out, thus the sunbird has to probe into the flower to get at the nectar.
An earlier account can be viewed HERE.
David Tan Kok Kheng & YC Wee
14th May 2016
This post is a cooperative effort between Birds, Insects N Creatures Of Asia and BESG to bring the study of birds and their behavior through photography and videography to a wider audience.