© Nesting of Common Tailorbirds: One Full Circle Part 1

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“Five species of Tailorbirds under sub-family of Orthotomus are represented under the order of Cisticolidae. Within this South East Asian region and of particular interest to me, is the Common Tailorbird (Orthotomus sutorius), whose breeding season stretches from December-October annually.

“In April 2019, a breeding pair found my balcony sanctuary of potted plants suitable, built nest and successfully fledged their chicks. A mysterious sapling grew from the potted soil. Left alone, quite middle in the balcony, it grew to almost a meter tall and eventually revealed itself to be a fig plant (Ficus benghalensis), probably propagated by avian droppings (above).

“Two large, simple foliage of this fig sapling became focus of interest to the breeding pair. The tailorbird pair lived up to its name by stitching them together to form a funnel shaped nest (above).

“I named the male/female OTTO and SATURI respectively (above, below).

“Monitoring process took over two months. Observations and video-photography were carried out from the comforts of my bedroom. Many images were taken with no less than six memory cards recycled, fully utiliszed by videography and pertinent images extracted. Digiscopic distance –approx. 10metres.

“Thirty-three metres away, a grown strangulated fig tree embraced a dead trunk of Dipterocarpus tree near river bund (above).

“This parent fig tree became nursery to fledglings Otto and Saturi in June. Parents hid and fed their young in safety amongst the luscious fig tree foliage.

“From sapling to parent fig tree of strangulated species, the parenting pair of Common Tailorbird successfully brought forth their fledglings in this nesting cycle of observation event.

“Instead of presenting breeding sequence in chronological order, I have decided to showcase each category individually, to appreciate all aspects of life these popular and tiny, resident birds share their world with us.

“They may be found in gardens, housing estates, open woodlands and scrub and cultivation edges in Peninsular Malaysia.

“Do join me in Part 2 to showcase Otto and Saturi’s art of nest building.

Avian Writer Daisy O’Neill
Penang, Malaysia
22nd June 2019

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

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