Lee Tiah Khee photographed this male Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis) about to eat a spider it had just caught (above). He next went on to document the female Olive-backed Sunbird in the process of taking another spider from its web. The bird flew towards the web, hovered in front for a short moment and with surgical precision, picked the spider off from the centre of the web (below).
This sunbird is a generalist as far as food is concerned. Wells (2007) reports spiders as being commonly taken in the mangrove forests in Selangor, Malaysia. The bird has also been reported taking small caterpillars, grasshoppers and various arthropods.
Many of us are familiar with sunbirds drinking nectar from flowers of various plants like Heliconias (Heliconia spp.), mistletoe (Dendrophthoe pentandra) and hibiscus (Hibiscus spp.). However, the birds also need protein, especially the growing chicks, thus it takes various arthropods.
This post is a cooperative effort between www.naturepixels.org and BESG to bring the study of bird behaviour through photography to a wider audience.