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Everett’s White-eye – new food item

on 11th August 2019

“A flock of 12-15 Everett’s White-eyes (Zosterops everetti tahanensis), together with many other birds including flycatchers, bulbuls and sunbirds, feed as a mixed foraging party at the same location most days for insects and fruit.

“I have seen a number of them feed on the black seeds and orange stalks (arils) of the Acacia mangium trees. Acacia mangium is a tree native to north-eastern Australia (Queensland) and western Papua New Guinea. It has been extensively planted in Malaysia for commercial reasons (furniture manufacturing and pulp and paper). It is a legume, able to fix nitrogen in the soil, grow in low fertility soils and is fast growing. Hence it is often planted near damaged forest areas for site rehabilitation. For germination the seeds are pre-treated with some form of scarification e.g. hot water treatment. It is said that ‘the germinating seeds can be cooked and eaten as a vegetable’ LINK.

“The seeds are shiny black and range from 3-5 mm long and 2-3 mm wide. All the birds I have seen feeding on them take both the arils and seeds. I wonder if they aid in the spread of this tree species by ‘depositing’ seeds at different sites?

“Birds seen feeding on the arils and seeds of the Acacia mangium include:
Olive-winged Bulbuls Pycnonotus plumosus plumosus
Red-eyed Bulbul Pycnonotus brunneus
Yellow Vented Bulbul Pycnonotus goiavier analis
Everett’s White-eye Zosterops everetti tahanensis
Mugimaki Flycatcher Ficedula mugimaki
Ruby-cheeked Sunbird Chalcoparia singalensis interposita
Plain Sunbird Anthreptes simplex
Brown-throated Sunbird Anthreptes malacensis malacensis.”

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
3rd December 2018

Location: Kledang-Sayong Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Habitat: Fringe of primary jungle

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.

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