“I would like to post a behaviour we have recently observed but with audio recordings rather than visual…
“Pied Fantails (Rhipidura javanica longicaudata) have ‘owned’ our garden for many years and are one of the commonest birds we interact with on a daily basis. They nest in our garden at least 2-3 times a year and are resident year round.
“In the past 6-7 weeks we have noticed a change in the behaviour of the pair in our garden. One of them (?both) have begun to sing early in the mornings for extended periods. We usually get up just before 5 am and often the singing would have already started. They sit at the top of our tamarind tree (Tamarindus indica) and continue for at least the next 1.5 hours. I think it is only one of the pair that sings but have no visual confirmation. They never sing together.
“As we have slow breakfast on our roof at 5 am every morning, we have had weeks to observe (or rather listen to) these calls. They initially start with these notes. This is the more common call and will continue throughout the 1.5 hours.
“Intermittently (usually starting after 30 minutes) they will start to make the second call. I think the same bird is making both calls.
“We are very familiar with both calls in our garden, it is just the continual nature (6-7 weeks) and long duration of singing (>1.5 hrs) that is unusual. It is now 7 am and the Pied Fantail is still singing while I type this.
“We do not think this behaviour is related to breeding (no nest currently); it is not a distress call; it is not a mating issues. Like the Oriental Magpie Robin (Copsychus saularis) that loves to sing in the early mornings, perhaps the Pied Fantail has also learned to sing just for the joy of it.
(PS: have a large audio recording of both calls together but too big to post here)
Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS & Datin Dr Swee-Im Lim
Canning Garden Home
Ipoh City, Perak, Malaysia
2nd May 2010