03 Dec 2012   in Feathers-maintenance, Nesting 5 Comments »
Contributed by Dr Leong Tzi Ming

“Along the bank of a lazy river in Pahang, Peninsular Malaysia, a feisty flock of Asian Glossy Starlings (Aplonis panayensis) was frequently visiting the vertical trunks of the nibong palm (Oncosperma tigillarium). Atop one of these trunks, as many as six birds were perched (above).

“Amidst their chatter, one or two would take turns to poke their heads into the cavity below, possibly inspecting its suitability as a potential nest site. Shortly after, the birds flew away, but a pair soon returned with fresh, supple green leaves in their beaks (above). These leaves were then carefully dropped into the cavity. This process would then be repeated to accumulate more nesting material.

“One cool morning, a pair was perched on the rim of the cavity as they casually preened themselves (above).

“Thereafter, they remained in close contact, side by side, wing to wing, tail touching tail, while watching the sunrise over the river (above). An affectionate moment indeed, and a clear sign of intimate bonding between the pair.”

Dr Leong Tzi Ming
20th November 2012

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    1. Am says:

      Has anyone seen starlings in Singapore? I’d like to know how common they are here. I’ve seen these starlings at various points within the past 5 years. Most of the times they were sighted eating the fruits of some small palms. They are easy to identify because of their red eyes.

    2. MaysianHo says:

      I saw a pair about six months ago among the trees around the carpark at mt Alvernia Hospital

    3. BESG says:

      The Asian Glossy Starling is a common bird in Singapore.

    4. Gretchen says:

      Nice observations over time. I wonder if Dr. Leong saw any disputing over the nesting site – or has any idea how a particular pair managed to claim it. (Of course, being a rather sunny site, perhaps it’s not an ideal one? And it seems it would be challenging for fledglings to escape from.) I like the last photo very much.

    5. S. Sng says:

      I see the Asian Glossy starlings almost daily in Singapore, in Yishun & Ang Mo Kio. Normally see them eating fruit in the morning near my block.

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