Observations on Feeding Behaviour of Juveniles Lineated Barbets Psilopogon lineatus

posted in: bird, Lineated Barbet | 0

I was kindly alerted by colleagues about a pair of Lineated Barbets (Psilopogon lineatus) that were nesting in Ipoh. I am reporting some limited observations. Nesting is over and the young have fledged. 

Nest observation disclosure:

I watched from 7.15am to 8.45am on 16/03/2023. I stayed in the car and used it as a hide to limit my impact on the nesting birds. The nest was known to many others and a number of bird watchers turned up after 8.15am and watched with tripods. I noticed the adults and juveniles were somewhat stressed with more observers – adults were more cautious approaching the nest and juveniles less seen at the nest entrance. Hence, I left the location to reduce my impact.

Plate 1

The nest was located 2.8-3.0 meters up in a dead tree (see Plate 1) at the outskirts of the city. When I arrived at 7.15am the adult birds had already started feeding the young although the light was still dim. When I was alone at the nest, in my car, juveniles would wait expectantly at the nest entrance for food (see Plate 2).

Plate 2

Both adults would bring food (see Plate 3 and 4), at times arriving close to each other; although there was no way to differentiate the sexes. Adults would use one of two staging areas to check for safety before entering. When I was alone, they used an adjacent stump. But when more photographers were around, they used a nearby bare tree.

Plate 3
Plate 4

Feeding frequency when I was alone, early morning, was every 3.7 minutes (range 1-7 minutes, mode 3 minutes). But this changed to 10-12 minutes when more observers arrived – I am uncertain if this was due to more observers being present or being a little later in the morning.  

All the food items I saw were fruit, and seemed to be predominantly Ficus fruit. There were smaller berries from non-Ficus sources. No animal prey was seen. Plate 5 shows a composite of some feeding items. Multiple fruits are carried in the beak and at times some appear to be regurgitated.

Plate 5

Plate 6 shows the feeding behaviour with food being placed inside the mouth of juveniles.

Plate 6

I saw only one episode of juvenile waste/droppings removal from the nest (see Plate 7). The adult had to enter the nest to collect this. I did see one other adult entry into the nest but no waste was removed. The waste was carried far away from the nest site.

Plate 7

The juveniles, possibly two, looked fairly mature. I understand that they fledged 2-3 days after my observations. Their head plumage had more brown streaks and the yellow skin around the eye was paler than the adults. Iris colours were the same. 

I observed that the juveniles responded to birds in the area. A pair of nesting Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier) occasionally gave an alarm call and the juvenile Lineated Barbets responded by retreating into the nest.


Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia


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