Everett’s White-eye: Food items and contact calls

“Wells (2007) mentions that, for my region, the diet of this bird, Everett’s White-eye (Zosterops everetti tahanensis) is ‘hardly known’ but ‘behaves as a generalist’. I am taking the opportunity of watching them at the fruiting Common Macaranga (Macaranga bancana) to summarise some of my feeding observations over the years. This species has a large diet, with much still undocumented.

Fruit Feeding
1. Large flocks (40-50) will visit fruiting Macaranga bancana to feed on the small fruit (swallowed whole).
2. I have seen them feed on the black seeds and orange stalks (arils) of the Acacia mangium trees (the birds take both the arils and seeds).
3. Giant Mahang (Macaranga gigantea)
4. Blue Mahang (Macaranga heynei)
5. Rough Trema (Trema tomentosa)
6. Orange berries in the highlands (not Ficus)
7. Ficus fruit
8. A number of other unidentified fruiting trees

Nectar
1. Bottlebrush trees (Callistemon)
2. Eucalyptus sp.
3. Feed on the flowers of Poikilospermum suaveolens to get to the nectar

Animal Prey
1. Caterpillars and small larvae
2. Unidentified winged insects
3. Feeding on ants (the ants were eaten and not used for ‘anting’)
4. Often seen foraging for insects and larvae
5. They are also a common participant of highlands mixed-foraging parties (bird waves) where they forage for insect prey.

“The 3 images above, show the birds feeding at the fruiting Macaranga bancana. The birds will go to great lengths to get the fruit with acrobatics and fluttering to reach less accessible fruit. They are also both intraspecific and interspecific competition for the fruit.

“The waveform and sonogram above show the calls made by the Everett’s White-eye (Z. e. tahanensis) at a fruiting Macaranga bancana. The call recording is HERE. As there is a flock of 40-50 actively feeding, they call out almost constantly, in large numbers. I am not able to edit out the rushing stream that is nearby. The sonogram (ignore basal stream noise) shows the sharp spikes/peaks of these contact calls.”

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
12-20th December 2019

Location: Kledang-Sayong Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Habitat: Broken trail in primary jungle

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