White-cheeked Barbet feasting on the Pipal figs

on 22nd December 2017
(Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons)
(Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons)

Pipal or Bodhi Trees (Ficus religiosa) are plentiful in Pune, India, some as old as 400 years. This is a typical strangling fig. The tree is sacred to both the Hindus and the Buddhists LINK. The former associates the roots of the tree with Lord Brahma, creator of the universe; the trunk with Lord Vishnu, protector and preserver; and the leaves with Lord Shiva, the destroyer. The Buddhists believe that Buddha attained enlightenment under its shade.

Around this time of the year these trees were in fruits (actually syconia), attracting birds from far and wide. As with most fruiting fig trees, the cries of birds scrambling for the figs can be heard well before the tree is seen.

Lakshmi Ravishankar’s video clip shows a White-cheeked Barbet (Megalaima viridis) moving around the branches of the tree picking the ripest figs.

Other birds, like the Coppersmith Barbets (Megalaima haemacephala) were also raiding the tree, gorging on the figs!

“Shooting a White-cheeked Barbet from such close quarters is a dream come true for me!” declared Lakshmi.

Lakshmi Ravishankar
Pune, India
5th May 2016

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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