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