Malayan Teak (Vitex pinnata) – an important bird tree

posted in: birds, Feeding-plants, Plants | 0

Gold-whiskered Barbet eating the fruit.

The Malayan Teak (Vitex pinnata) or local name ‘Leban’ is a native tree of South-East Asia. It is slow growing, can grow up to 25 metres tall and prefers good sunlight. It is an important bird food source; both for nectar and the fruit. The fruit are 5–8 mm in diameter, black when ripe and very popular with bulbuls and other birds. Of note is that, when mature and having many trailers, epiphytes, mistletoes, wild orchids and creepers growing on its branches, it becomes an ideal tree in the forest for Yellow-eared Spiderhunter Arachnothera chrysogenys nests that are embedded high in the supporting vegetation.

Stripe-throated Bulbul eating the fruit.

Birds observed feeding on the Vitex pinnata fruit:

Gold-whiskered Barbet Megalaima chrysopogon laeta

Olive-winged Bulbul Pycnonotus plumosus plumosus

Buff-vented Bulbul Iole charlottae

Cream-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus simplex simplex

Red-eyed Bulbul Pycnonotus brunneus erythropth

Spectacled Bulbul Pycnonotus almus

Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus goiavier gourdini

Stripe-throated Bulbul Pycnonotus finlaysoni finlaysoni

Asian Fairy Bluebird Irena puella malayensis

Lesser Green Leafbird Chloropsis cyanopogon

Greater Green Leafbird Chloropsis sonnerati zosterops

Blue-winged Leafbird Chloropsis cochinchinensis moluccensis

Spectacled Spiderhunter Arachnothera flavigaster

Little Spiderhunter Arachnothera longirostra


Amar-Singh HSS (Dato’ Dr)

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia


Location: Kledang-Sayong Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Habitat: Forest edge

Date: 17th August 2020

Equipment: Equipment: Nikon D500 SLR with Nikon AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR, handheld with Rode VideoMic Pro Plus Shotgun Microphone


Follow 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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