Yellow-vented Flowerpecker and fruits of Muntingia calabura

“I have been visiting a fruiting Muntingia calabura (Local name ‘Ceri Kampung‘ – Village Cherry) every weekend for the past 4 weeks. This tree is an ‘import’ from South American and has done well locally. In Malaysia it grows very easily and is widespread. The fruit is 1-1.5cm, edible, sweet and juicy, contains a number of small seeds LINK.

“As this particular tree is located at the fringe of the forest reserve, a number of flowerpeckers love to come and feed on this fruit. They usually turn up mid to late morning and often there is much conflict over the fruits.

“One Yellow-vented Flowerpecker (Dicaeum chrysorrheum chrysorrheum) is present on every occasion and seems to have accepted my presence, allowing closer observation. It enjoys the ripe fruit and will harvest 4-5 in the space of 10-15 minutes.

“Although this is among the larger of the flowerpeckers, the fruit of the Muntingia calabura is still hard to manage. The Yellow-vented Flowerpecker will grip the fruit firmly in the beak, squeeze it, tilt upwards and allow the juice to trickle down. This will continue until the fruit is ‘deflated’ and then on to the next. This is the least ‘quarrelsome’ of the flowerpeckers foraging at this tree, perhaps the large size intimidates others.

“A video of three feeding events merged together below:

“Note that the ‘zit, zit’ calls in the background at the beginning of the video are from the Orange-bellied Flowerpecker (Dicaeum trigonostigma). The second part of the clip shows it excited with feeding and watching me and looses the fruit (occurs ~20% of the time). The third part of the clip is a bit blur but does show the deflation of the fruit.

“I have previously observed this flowerpecker feeding on fruits of: Straits Rhododendron (Melastoma malabathricum), Ficus benjamina and Ficus villosa.”

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Fringe of Kledang-Sayong Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
5th November 2011

2 Responses

  1. Nice observations and pictures! Does the flowerpecker only drink the juice from the fruit and drop the fleshy part each time? I wonder if any other birds are interested in the remains of the fruit…

    • Good point. I am sure the fruit shell can still serve as food for other birds, etc. Needs further observation.

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