Malayan Water Monitor preyed on a sunbird chick

Video grab.

“It seemed like a typical sunny day for one of the two Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis) chicks inside their nest hanging over a body of water to explore the world outside (above, below). One of the chicks moved out of the nest entrance but lost confidence and tried to move back in. However, it lost its footing and struggled to hang on to the nest.

“The adult sunbird, apparently watching from nearby, flew to the nest but was unable to help the struggling chick.

Video grab.

“As the chick clung onto the nest, its struggle caught the attention of a Malayan Water Monitor (Varanus salvator) in the water below.

“The monitor lizard waited patiently for 10 to 20 minutes before the helpless chick finally fell into the waters. It was an easy meal for the opportunistic monitor lizard.

“This could be an attempted fledging incident with the adult nearby encouraging the chick to make its first flight out of the nest. Unfortunately the nest was built above the water and a monitor lizard was lurking below.

“No further nesting activity occurred in the days that followed this incident. I am assuming the other chick perished as the adults stopped coming.

“The drama happened some years ago at the Hippo Pond, Gardens by the Bay.”

Jia Wei Woo
20th October 2019


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