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Pin-striped Tit Babbler – group display

on 24th January 2022

Post 1.

I was privileged to watch a social group of 4 Pin-striped Tit Babblers (Macronus (Mixornis) gularis gularis) displaying together. I have in the past occasionally seen this common babbler display individually – arches the back and points the beak skyward when calling out. On this occasion I saw a group of 4 birds do this continually for 7 minutes. The will rapidly move the body from a horizontal position to a vertical or arched backward posture, repeatedly, while calling out. There was no conflict between the group. Post 1 and 2 show 2 birds and Post 3 and 4 show individual birds. Wells (2007) notes that “Loud song occurs in a group context and groups are suspected to advertise communally”.

Post 2.

The call made during this activity were the common harsh “chrrrt-chrr” or “chrrrt-chrr-chrri” (Robson 2002), but with much variation. A call recording of this group here: https://www.xeno-canto.org/616394

Post 3.

The activity is very fast and best seen by video. I was, as usual, handheld. I tried using a stick as a monopod and a very short clip of the ‘head-bobbing’ activity here: https://youtu.be/mpoIEP8EezM

Note also that one bird had a different coloured, lighter iris (Post 1 lower bird). Most of the Pin-striped Tit Babblers I encounter in my region have a dark red-brown iris. This bird has a lighter, pale yellow colour of the inner part of the iris. I considered some type of albinism but the plumage is normal. Species which occur in the north (Thailand and above) have lighter iris. I wonder if this bird is a M. g. connectens?

Post 4.

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

Location: Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Habitat: Fruit farming with secondary growth

Date: 21st January 2021

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

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

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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