Brown-throated Sunbird – vocal interaction

posted in: birds, Intraspecific, Vocalisation | 0

There is always some bird action going on in our garden. The sunbirds have been very active recently and today we observed some serious interaction. Two to three Brown-throated Sunbirds (Anthreptes malacensis malacensis) were having a noisy ‘discussion’. At first I thought it was a female to female conflict over some breeding or mating concern. But as we watched it became clearer that the primary ‘antagonist’ was a young male. Close up of images showed that it was just developing a few metallic feathers and had a wing moult. During the prolonged vocal interaction, with occasional wing flapping and some chasing, a young female was watching attentively but not interfering. A female-male pair of Olive-backed Sunbirds (Cinnyris jugularis flammaxillaris-ornatus intergrades) also joined the activity and added their voice briefly. I suspect all the action was to protect his slice of paradise (aka nectar sources in our garden). We were watching very close-by but were ignored in the heat of the exchange.

Post 1.

Post 1 and 3 are of the vocal first year male. Note the pollen grains on the head from the Albizia julibrissin (Mimosa Tree or Pink Silk Tree, an exotic we are growing).

Post 2.

Post 2 is of the first year female, watching intentently, also with pollen on the head.

Post 3.

Post 4 is a composite of a female Olive-backed Sunbird with the first year male Brown-throated Sunbird. They were one branch apart in our Geijera parviflora tree (Wilga – an Australian willow) – the Olive-backed Sunbird was in front and I took two images to bring them both in focus.

Post 4.

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

Location: Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Habitat: Wild-urban garden

Date: 30th 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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