Grey-breasted Spiderhunter  – food sources

on 17th April 2022

Images of a Grey-breasted Spiderhunter (Arachnothera modesta modesta) coming out of the forest to feed on the nectar of the  Musa ornata (Musa violacea, Flowering Banana), a favourite of the bird. I have summarised below most of my observations of food sources over the years. As this bird comes out of the forest to visit village gardens, the range is much larger than my list.

Grey-breasted Spiderhunter perching on the inflorescence of Musa ornate.

A simple image search online will show many other nectar sources including wild gingers, nectar of the Spathodea campanulata (African tulip tree) and a number of garden plants. Their beak is often stained with pollen. Fruit is less common, but no fruiting season of the Macarangas will pass without me seeing a few of them feeding there. Insect prey has been the hardest to observe but I am sure juveniles are fed animal prey.

Grey-breasted Spiderhunter taking nectar from Musa ornate flowers.

Personal Observations of Food Sources of the Grey-breasted Spiderhunter:

Nectar sources

Musaceae species (various Banana species, native and exotic)

Musa ornata (Musa violacea, Flowering Banana, native species)

Musa x paradisiaca ‘Seribu’ (Musa ‘1000 Fingers’ Banana)

Dendrophthoe pentandra (Malayan Mistletoe)

Cocos nucifera (Coconut)

Clerodendrum thomsoniae (Bleeding-Heart Vine)

Malvaviscus arboreus (Wax Mallow, Ladies Teardrop)

Erythrina species

Other unidentified forest tree flowers

Grey-breasted Spiderhunter taking nectar from Musa ornate flowers.

Fruit sources

Macaranga bancana

Macaranga gigantea (Giant Mahang)

Another possible fruit source is Glochidion sumatrana (Cleistanthus sumatranus)

Grey-breasted Spiderhunter perching on the inflorescence of Musa ornate.

Animal Prey



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

Location: Kledang-Saiong Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Habitat: Fringe of forest reserve

Date: 14th 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

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.

Other posts by YC Wee

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