©Juvenile Spectacled Spiderhunter Displays Begging Behaviour

posted in: Feeding chicks | 0

“Breeding season (February-September) for Spectacled Spiderhunters (Arachnothera flavigaster) was just about to end when a juvenile bird was spotted begging from a Malay Apple tree (Eugenia malaccensis).

“Parenting birds were busy feeding themselves and warding off intruders. A juvenile bird was observed flying from nearby tree from one to another, vying for their attention. Eventually, chick with orangey feet flew and settled onto low, horizontal branch and provided rare opportunity for closer look and anatomical analysis.

“Image of an early juvenile shows lower mandible to be almost pinkish-salmon with reddish on upper and lower base. The leading edge of shoulder wing bend below protrudes a prominent cream-white lining which appears lacking or not prominent in adult birds (above).

“While overall olive-green/yellow/white plumages are somewhat similar to adults, there appear to be random blotches of yellow wash pronounced on chest and belly on juvenile. The word ‘flavigaster’ is a name well aptly used.

“Under wing coverts of extensive white downy plumage is observed when juvenile raised wings to show its armpits (above).

“Here is a comparison image of an adult bird taken ten years ago- at different location- prospecting Dedap (Erythrina crista-galli) blooms (above)..

“The following images extracted from a 26sec. video recording, shows begging behaviour of a juvenile Spectacled Spiderhunter fluttering its wings profusely whilst circumventing its head and body, seeking out its parents’ attention (above, two below).

“Display of continuous wing flutter includes bill opening and at times protruding its hungry, silky tongue (below).

“To mention in past observations, this behaviour of begging by a juvenile is also exhibited by adult female to male during breeding season.

“Unless observation is held close enough to view the difference, accurate identification poses a challenge when viewed against a back lighting sky up high on tree canopy.”

Avian Writer Daisy O’ Neill
Penang, Malaysia
4th October 2018

Copyright article and all copy images – Courtesy of Daisy O’Neill Bird Conservation Fund

Follow 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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