Long-billed Spiderhunter – nectar feeding

posted in: birds, Feeding-plants | 0

Post 1

I am grateful to a bird watching colleague who alerted us to the presence of, the less commonly seen, Long-billed Spiderhunters (Arachnothera robusta robusta) at this location, adjacent to extensive limestone outcroppings. There were 4 species of Spiderhunters feeding high up on the nectar of Spathodea campanulata (African Tulip Tree) at the site this morning:

  1. Long-billed Spiderhunter Arachnothera robusta robusta – 3 birds
  2. Grey-breasted Spiderhunter Arachnothera modesta modesta – 1 bird
  3. Spectacled Spiderhunter Arachnothera flavigaster – 2 birds
  4. Yellow-eared Spiderhunter Arachnothera chrysogenys chrysogenys – 1 bird

Post 2

I am assuming nectar feeding of the Spathodea campanulata as they all dip their heads into the large flowers. However note that literature does indicate that these flowers have some toxin in the flower/nectar that kills bees and other insects. The Spathodea campanulata is an introduced plant (exotic) that is widely grown for its bright flowers.

Post 3

Post 4

There was some competitive feeding and I noticed that the Long-billed Spiderhunter was the most timid, being chased from feeding locations by both the Grey-breasted and Spectacled Spiderhunters. The Long-billed Spiderhunter was also seen feeding on the nectar of the Bauhinia blakeana (Hong Kong Orchid Tree); another exotic plant; feeding was by fluttering to gain access to the nectar. The Long-billed Spiderhunter has a very long tongue that can protrude almost the length of the beak (see Post 2). The beak is strongly down-curved (Post 4). The tail is sooty black on the upper surface and tipped white, best seen on the ventral surface (Post 3 & Post 2).

Post 5.

Amar-Singh HSS (Dato’ Dr) – Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Location: Perak, Malaysia

Habitat: Secondary growth adjacent to limestone outcroppings

Date: 30th November 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


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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