“I have often seen Zebra Doves (Geopelia striata) feeding on the fruit fallen from fruiting Ficus trees but seldom had the opportunity for a close observation.
“This was a large fruiting Ficus benjamina in the city and had numerous Zebra Doves feeding on the fallen fruit. There were only feeding on ficus fruit that was open (split due to rain) or flattened (by passing vehicle or from falling from the tree).
“I am unable to determine if they were actually opening the fruit with the beak. They were pecking frequently at the contents and eating small portions of the fruit but not the skin. Figs are not ‘true fruits’ but a fleshy covering that house a cluster of flowers within known as a synconium. Pollination in most ficus plants is complex and involves a ‘relationship’ with a specific species of wasp that enters via the ostiole to lay eggs and propagate.
“The mature fruit has tiny fig seeds that are very fine, like small grains of sand. I suspect that the doves are predominantly feeding on the seeds rather than the flesh. Ficus fruit as a source of food for Zebra Doves is not adequately appreciated.”
Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
1st May 2018
Location: Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Habitat: Urban environment