Olive-backed Sunbird’s blue nest: Continuing saga

posted in: Nesting, Nesting-failed, Sunbirds | 0

Remember the blue nest of the Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis) at Jean Ho’s balcony way back in March 2010? LINK. Well, the nestlings fledged on 15th April.

On 1st May 2010, a pair of these sunbirds took up residence in the empty nest. Subsequently a chick was seen at the entrance. Then there were two chicks. One day, towards the end of the month, no chick was seen at the nest entrance. Curious, Jean peeped into the nest and found it inside, lying still. Thinking that it was keeping a low profile, she left it alone until the afternoon of 29th May when she detected a faint smell coming from the nest. And later that evening the adults appeared at the nest entrance, as if feeding the chick. That night there was no adult inside the nest, confirming Jean’s suspicion that the chick had died.

Before the nest could be disposed of, the adults arrived and dragged the dead chick from the nest chamber, leaving it dangling outside the entrance. Jean disposed of the nest, thinking that it was soiled. What happened to the other chick? Did it fledge earlier?

In the absence of the blue nest, the sunbirds returned only to feed from the ginger plants.

However, seven months later a pair of Olive-backed Sunbird was seen around the wind chime, busy building a new nest (above left). The stages of nest building as shown above is, from left to right: day 1, day 3, day 6 of nest building, day 6 close up of nest chamber, and day 8 when cotton wool was incorporated into the nest. This time it was not building a blue nest but a white one, as Jean left a supply of cotton wool around.

After nearly ten days of nest building, monkeys came and destroyed the nest.

Dr Jean Ho
Singapore
June 2011

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