Brown-throated Sunbird attacking its own reflection

on 24th June 2019
Video grab.

Amelia Yeo sent in the video (below) with this note: “I have a video of a sunbird attacking its own reflection in a carpark mirror that I will try to send you shortly. If you turn the sound up, you can hear how hard the bird is pecking on its reflection on the mirror. My husband said this particular male sunbird has been sighted many times by him attacking its reflection in this same mirror.”

Wildlife Consultant Subaraj Rajathurai kindly identified the sunbird as a male Brown-throated Sunbird (Anthreptes malacensis) – from the metallic green on the mantle and brown only at the throat.

Video grab.

This aggressive response to its mirror image is most probably due to sunbird perceiving it as a strange bird invading its territory. Thus the aggressive response typical of a bird encountering another infringing on its territory – see HERE.

Check out the many posts on such “shadow boxing” behaviour by using the search box on the right of the page and typing the words “collision-reflection”.

Amelia Yeo with Subaraj Rajathurai
15th June 2019

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.

Other posts by YC Wee

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