Olive-backed Sunbird – courtship behaviour and song/call

on 5th January 2018

SunbirdOB-pect turft {AmarSingh]

“I saw a pair of Olive-backed Sunbirds (Cinnyris jugularis flammaxillaris) in courtship behaviour. I have seen this a number of times, and what catches the eye is the extension or display of the apricot-orange (Wells 2007) pectoral tuft which is usually concealed. I was too slow to get an image of the pectoral tuft extended but it had not been ‘retracted’ fully and the male was still calling excitedly when I reached them (above, below). [For images of the extended pectoral tuft, see HERE].

SunbirdOB-pect turft {AmarSingh]

“The courtship, and use of this beautiful pectoral tuft, is akin to the birds of paradise. I have witnessed it close up in the past, alas without a camera. The male would flit from branch to branch, from tree to tree, while the female followed to watch the observe display. The pectoral tufts are kept fully erect throughout the period of display even when flying from tree to tree.

“I cannot be fully certain if there is only one female observing this display or if there was more than one male doing the display. On the occasions I have seen it, like today, I have only see a pair.

SunbirdOB-sono {AmarSingh]

“Above and below give the audio recording, sonograms and waveforms of songs and calls. This song (see audio file labelled “calls-1-2”) I have heard as excited, courtship behaviour. The other recording (“calls-2-2”) contains all the common calls made plus a short fragment of song.”

SunbirdOB-sono {AmarSingh]

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSSIpoh, Perak, Malaysia
6th December 2017

Location: Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Habitat: Urban environment, secondary growth

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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