Bulbuls feeding on wild pepper

01 Dec 2012   in Feeding-plants No Comments »
Contributed by Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS was walking along the open trail through the primary forest of the Kledang-Sayong Forest Reserve in Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia on 14th November 2012 when he came across a wild pepper plant (Piper sp.). The climber was fruiting high on a tree. The fruits were bunched along an elongated stalk, green turning orange with ripening.

Three species of bulbuls were feeding on the fruits. The birds “were competitive in trying to gain access to the plant. As it was a climber/creeper, they had to flutter to pull off pieces or try to find some foothold (occasionally on unripe fruit) to gain access,” wrote Amar. “Bulbuls have a wide diet and the range of food amazes me.”

The image at the top shows the Cream-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus simplex simplex). That below it, the Red-eyed Bulbul (Pycnonotus brunneus). The lowest image shows the Spectacled Bulbul (Pycnonotus erythropthalmos) eating the pepper fruits.

Note: Through the courtesy of Chew Ping Ting, Ali Ibrahim, Paul KF Leong, Lua Hock Keong and Serene Lee of Singapore’s National Parks Board, the plant has been identified as a wild pepper, probably Piper longum or Piper retrofractum (formerly Piper chaba).




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