Olive-backed Sunbird: Feeding nestling or attempted infanticide

SunbirdOB-feeding? [WooJiaWei]

“The video below was taken at Satay By The Bay in March 2016. It was taken at full HD at 100 frames per second played back at 25 frames per second.

“The adult male Olive Backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis) was foraging nearby before flying to the nest. It was ‘feeding’ the chick in the nest in a very ‘aggressive’ manner (top, below).

SunbirdOB-feeding? [WooJiaWei]

“Note that between 16-17 seconds of the video, just before the adult flew off, its tongue projects out prominently (below, arrowed).

SunbirdOB-feeding? tongue [WooJiaWei]

“The chick subsequently fell out of the nest. It clinged on to the exterior of the nest and struggled trying to get back for about 30 minutes. This caught the attention of a monitor lizard lurking below. When the chick finally fell into the water below, it was swiftly eaten by the monitor lizard within seconds.

“There was a younger chick in the nest but no activities were seen during or after the dominant chick fell out.”

“For those with a Facebook account, you can view the video at this LINK for a better video quality by clicking on HD.”

Woo Jia Wei
16th June 2016

Jia Wei’s video was sent to Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS for comment and the latter’s reply is as shown below:

“Thank you for sharing this interesting behaviour with us.

1. I do not see any feeding behaviour in the video – there is no food brought to the chick by the adult male in the segment provided.

2. Agreed that the behaviour of the adult to the chick is very aggressive.

3. The protrusion of the tongue is quite common in sunbirds and not of much significance, here I think.

4. My opinions:
(a). Is this the adult parent for this chick or a rival parent? (Answer: Unable to establish.)

b. but my main opinion when I saw it was infanticide – killing of young offspring by an adult. I see the male attempting to inflict injury on the young bird.

“See also: HERE and HERE

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
17th June 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.


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