Olive-backed Sunbird – feeding technique

posted in: birds, Feeding strategy, Feeding-plants | 0

It was a very wet morning today and I returned home to watch Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis flammaxillaris-ornatus intergrades) feeding on nectar. There is a wonderful Malvaviscus arboreus (Wax Mallow or Ladies Teardrop) bush that they usually visit very early which does not allow for good images. Today the rain delayed their feeding and I had better light. Many mistake the Malvaviscus penduliflorus (Lipstick Hibiscus or Firecracker Hibiscus) for the Malvaviscus arboreus, but M. arboreus has upright flowers as opposed to the pendulous flowers of the M. penduliflorus. Both of these exotic plants (introduced) are favourite sources of nectar for Sunbirds and Spiderhunters.

Feeding on the M. penduliflorus is by the nectar robbing technique, piercing the base of the flower. Feeding on the M. arboreus is usually by the conventional technique for most birds. However today I noticed that the Olive-backed Sunbirds used both conventional (above) and nectar robbing (below) techniques for his flower, more of the latter.


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

Habitat: Urban environment

Date: 28th September 2020

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

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