Nesting of the Black-naped Oriole: 2. Feeding chicks

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“The Black-naped Oriole (Oriolus chinensis) nest, which I discovered on 2nd March 2011 in a Broad-leaved Mahogany, had its first egg hatched on 12th March, give and take one or two day LINK.

“For the next two weeks, I observed the growth of the chicks through videos recorded with my camera.

“My observations and comments are as follows:

“It is difficult to differentiate between the male and the female adults, even as they are side by side. It is known that the female has a dull greenish tint on the mantle, but the actual colour seen can be affected by the lighting condition. For this particular pair, the male is easily distinguished by its untidy patch of feather on the right thigh (below, screen grabs).

“The feed was mostly salam (Syzygium polyanthum) berries from several trees here, ripening at the right time. The food was in abundance. Sometimes before one adult had finished feeding, the mate came along with more.

“The hygiene routine was an eye-opener for me. The adults would inspect and pick up uneaten or half-digested feed and consume them every now and then, from within the nest, and at the rim of the nest cup after the chicks were strong enough to discharge them outside. On many occasions the adults were seen picking up the faeces right from the anus of the chicks as they were being discharged.

“[On the left is the chick about to leave the nest.]

“The video, edited from clips recorded between 12th and 25th March, documenting the growth of the two chicks during this period, is shown above.”

Sun Chong Hong
Singapore
29th March 2011

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