Streaked Spiderhunter – family unit & juveniles

posted in: Morphology-Develop. | 0

“My wife and I were at a hilltop cottage, standing on a platform extended out, overlooking both primary jungle as well as some flowers/bushes planted around the cottage. We had an opportunity to watch a family unit of Streaked Spiderhunters (Arachnothera magna musarum).

“David Wells in his wonderful 2007 “The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula: Vol 2 (Passarines), Christopher Helm, London” notes that:

1. There is no information on social interactions.
2. Social organisation on record is loners and occasional presumed pairs. This has been my usual observation as well.
3. Juveniles from the review area are not adequately described.
4. Clutch and fledging usually two (but data for this is limited).

“Our observations may offer a little data to supplement these areas.

Two juveniles in the crown of a tree calling out to be fed.

“We saw 4 or 5 birds together as a family unit. I say ‘4 or 5’ as action was fast and spread out. We saw them for 15 minutes. We were both watching (me with a long lens) and observed the same and different birds. My wife saw 3 juveniles and 1 adult; I saw 2 adults and 2 juveniles. I suspect there were 3 juveniles and 2 adults.

A closer image of one of the juveniles. They looked fairly mature in their plumage.

“Cheke & Mann on Streaked Spiderhunters in Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive, 2018 states that the ‘clutch is 2–3 eggs’. We identified juveniles and adults from their behaviour – the juveniles we saw had a weaker flight pattern and, although there were some attempts at self-feeding, they were primarily begging for food. The juveniles were also involved in a lot of ‘horsing around’ play, flying about.

A closer image of one of the juveniles. They look fairly mature in their plumage.

“Sadly, most parent feeding episodes were in thick bushes or obstructed by foliage of trees, hence we could not observe what was fed. We saw the parents feeding primarily on nectar of flowers. I would like to suggest (no data/evidence) that perhaps part of the feeding could be regurgitation of nectar feeds to the juveniles?”

A closer image of one of the juveniles. They look fairly mature in their plumage.

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS & Datin Dr Swee-Im Lim
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
7th July 2018

Location: 1,700m ASL, Cameron Highlands, Pahang, Malaysia
Habitat: Trail through primary jungle

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