New Food Item for Ruby-cheeked Sunbird Chalcoparia singalensis

I was watching a family of five Ruby-cheeked Sunbirds Chalcoparia singalensis on 3rd July 2023, at the Kledang-Saiong Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia, when I saw the adult male feeding on a new food item.

The adult was feeding on the Glochidion obscurum fruit. The Glochidion obscurum is a tree that can grow to 15 m tall. It has 0.1 cm long fruit which splits open when mature, revealing 12-14 ribbed capsules which contain seeds with red arils. The adult male stopped at a fruit that has a small opening and proceeded to open it further. The bird then fed on the red arils (see Image 1 and 2). The food item was not offered to the three juveniles that were largely self-feeding.

Image 1: Adult male Ruby-cheeked Sunbird feeding on arils of Glochidion obscurum fruit
Image 2: Close up feeding behaviour

Much of the feeding of this family unit was in classical Ruby-cheeked Sunbird style of looking for invertebrates / insects by exploring or opening closed leaves (see Image 3) as well as looking under foliage.

Image 3: Juvenile Ruby-cheeked Sunbird exploring dead, closed leaves for invertebrates and insects

In the past I have often observed Oriental Magpie-Robins Copsychus saularis (image 4) and Yellow-vented Bulbuls Pycnonotus goiavier (image 5) also feeding on the red arils of the Glochidion obscurum fruit. Oriental Magpie-Robins tend to feed on fallen arils.

Image 4: Oriental Magpie-Robin feeding on arils of Glochidion obscurum fruit
Image 5: Yellow-vented Bulbul feeding on aril of Glochidion obscurum fruit

It is interesting that none of these birds eat the outer fleshy fruit casing.

Amar-Singh HSS. (2010) Feeding habits and behaviour of the Ruby-cheeked Sunbird Chalcoparia singalensis in Perak, Malaysia. BirdingASIA 14: 46–51

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.

Amar-Singh HSS

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS, Cert Theology (Aust, Hons), MBBS (Mal), MRCP (UK), FRCP (Glasg), MSc Community Paediatrics (Ldn, dist), is a Consultant Paediatrician. He served the Malaysian civil service for more than 35 years, led regional Paediatric and Research departments, is an active child advocate and the recipient of a number of international awards. He has been a bird watcher for around 50 years, published two bird books, has a number of international bird publications, contributed to more than 20 international bird books/guides, and contributes to online bird image and audio databases. He is an active contributor to the Bird Ecology Study Group with a large number of detailed posts and write-ups on bird ecology. He is a life member of the Malaysian Nature Society, a member of the BCC-MNS Records Committee, a member of the Oriental Bird Club and supports eBird. He is interested in spending time getting to know bird behaviour and considers himself a bird-friend. Amar is based at Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.

Other posts by Amar-Singh HSS

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Overall visits (since 2005)

Live visitors
Visitors Today

Clustrmaps (since 2016)