Striped-Tit Babbler’s nest site

posted in: Nests | 4

On the morning of 25th February 2007, KC Tsang and wife Amy must have been feeling energetic. They took a long trek from Venus Drive car-park to the Ranger’s Station, and from there, to the Central Catchment area. Their walk paid off when they had a pleasant encounter with a pair of Striped Tit Babblers (Macronous gularis) actively building their nest within the dried resam (Dicranopteris linearis) thicket (below left).

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What looked like a mass of dead leaves within the thicket was actually a meticulously constructed nest. It was perfectly camouflaged and if the birds were not seen building it, it would not be detected at all. In the middle of this mass was an entrance. Both birds were busy bringing pieces of dead palm fronds from a pile further down. And every minute or so one of the two birds would appear at the entrance, popped inside and deposited its piece. The moment one left, the other would appear with its piece of dried frond.

The whole morning that KC and Amy were there, the birds were busy lining their nest.

As KC said afterward,”From a photographer’s point of view, the nest site has no distinct unique feature, and to take pictures of the inside of the nest, I would have to borrow camera equipment that is being used for colonoscopy, to thread it through the fern thicket without having to cut a path to it.

“The nest is on the left of the picture, the whole place appears a mess. Well I guess it is a form of camouflage to not attract attention from predators.”

Striped-tit Babbler is supposed to be a common resident. Yet there is hardly any information on it. According to birder Alan OwYong, the last record of nesting was by Ong Kiem Sian many years ago. Our resident field ornithologist Wang Luan Keng says that “this is the earliest nest-building record in my database. There was only one other record in March 2004. A couple more in June and July. The nest is so difficult to spot.”

Image of nesting at top left by KC Tsang, that of the babbler in the nest (top right) is courtesy of Dr Jonathan Cheah Weng Kwong – see comment.

4 Responses

  1. http://www.pbase.com/image/61985735

    I was documenting this ST Babbler nest with my team last year during the nesting season. It seems a troop helps out in distracting people, but only the couple sits inside quietly.

  2. Glich is fixed, sorry for the trouble! – Jon Cheah WK

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