White-breasted Waterhen – food item

posted in: birds, Feeding-plants | 0

This is the second time I have observed White-breasted Waterhens (Amaurornis phoenicurus phoenicurus) feeding on Bananas (genus Musa). This was in a thicket but the bird still had to climb up about 2 meters to get to the fruit. The bird will probe with the bill and take small pieces of the fruit. On both occasions the fruit was still unripe but the bird was happy to feed on it. On the previous occasion I had the impression that the fruit was fed to juveniles. It is interesting to note that the banana is botanically considered a berry.

The diet of the White-breasted Waterhen is not well recorded locally but is large and varied. I have observed them feeding on insects, earthworms, some molluscs, grass seeds and roots/shoots of some plants. Generally foraging in ditches, drains, mud patches and shallow rivers for worms but this must also include small fish.


Amar-Singh HSS (Dato’ Dr)

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia


Location: Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Habitat: Fruit farming and secondary growth at city fringe

Date: 24th December 2020

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



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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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