“It was a scorching afternoon and a male Common Flameback (Dinopium javanense) knew just the place to beat the heat. He perched upon the rim of a treehole, in eager anticipation of a cooling dip (above, below). As he lowered himself into the cavity, he would disappear from view, a good indication that the treehole was sufficiently deep to contain freshwater.
“Upon emerging from the treehole, his underside was dripping wet. Raising his red crest, he appeared visibly content (below).
“Still on the same tree, he climbed upwards and started to ‘dance’. After chipping away at the shallow bark, he would rub his neck, breast and belly feathers against the exposed wood repeatedly (below). The chiseling may have caused resin or tree sap to be exuded and thus provide beneficial applications to his feathers.
At one point, he paused briefly to stretch his wings (below).
A video clip of his lively dipping and dancing session may be previewed here:
Dr. Leong Tzi Ming
12th January 2018