Asian Glossy Starling – nesting behaviour

on 25th September 2019

“I had an opportunity to watch some Asian Glossy Starlings (Aplonis panayensis strigata) nesting.

“These birds are able to use a wide variety of locations for nesting – often under the eaves/roofs, in limestone crevices, holes in trees, etc. Many of these locations do not allow parent-chick interaction observations.

“On this occasion I saw ~30 birds using a cave temple cup-like-structures with an overhead roof, where the nest is made in the ‘cup’ and allows us to see the feeding behaviour. Some birds were still constructing nests (below).

Disclosure: I watched using the Nikon P900 at 1500mm and hence was about ~20 meters away with minimal disturbance. The birds came and went freely ignoring my presence as it is a location frequented by people.
Some observations of note:

1. There were three chicks in the nest I focused on.

2. In a 30 minute period of video recording at 8.00am in the morning, 4 feeding episodes were observed. Edited video below:

3. Parents brought mainly fruit, some orange in colour that appeared to be Ficus fruit. Other items were harder to identify.

4. Food was regularly regurgitated by parents before feeding young (below). Each parent was able to regurgitate 5-6 feeding boluses at each sitting.

5. Parents would also remove items from the nest. Some were orange in colour. Some may have been seeds but others looked flat and appear to be faecal sacs (below). Note that Ficus fruits do not have hard, large seeds and perhaps the faecal sacs take on the colour of the food provided?

6. Although both parents fed chicks, one parent appeared to be more focused on guarding them than feeding.

“One thing I could not understand was the staining on the ceiling (below). This was localised to immediately above the nests. I am uncertain if it is done by the birds or if these temple cup-like-structures had housed oil lamps in the past?”

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
23rd May 2019

Location: Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

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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