Little Spiderhunter – nectar feeding and sexing

posted in: Feeding-plants, Morphology-Develop. | 0

“Had an opportunity to watch an adult Little Spiderhunter (Arachnothera longirostra cinereicollis) at close range for an extended period with lots of images.

“This spiderhunter feeds on the flower nectar of Papaya (Carica papaya) (top) and Banana (Musa sp.) (above).

“Posting this image (above, below) as it show the underside of wing and pectoral region. There are varying opinions about sexing in this species summarised below”

1. Wells (2007) The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula: Vol. 2 (Passarines) when describing Arachnothera longirostra cinereicollis states: Adult male ‘…a pectoral tuft of bright, rich yellow at the side of breast (hidden beneath closed wing)’” Adult female ‘…no yellow pectoral tuft.’

2. Jeyarajasingam, Pearson (2012) A Field Guide to the Birds of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore when describing Arachnothera longirostra states: ‘Both sexes have yellow and orange pectoral tufts.’

3. Chasen (1939) Birds of the Malay Peninsula Volume IV states: ‘Males have a bright yellow tuft on each side of the breast.’

4. Cheke, Mann, Allen (2001) Sunbirds: A Guide to the Sunbirds, Spiderhunters, Sugarbirds and Flowerpeckers of the World: When speaking about Little Spiderhunters in general but describing Arachnothera longirostra cinereicollis: Adult male ‘…orange pectoral tufts.’ Adult female “…lacks pectoral tufts.’ Also mentions pectoral tufts in some other subspecies, but when describing Arachnothera longirostra cinereicollis is silent about this.

5. Handbook of the Birds of the World: ‘Little Spiderhunter is one of four members of its genus to have pectoral tufts.’

“The bird I watched looks like an adult with speckled forehead and nicely developed mouth streaks (see subsequent posts). My opinion is that sexes differ and this is an adult female.

“However note a comment from Wells (2007) ‘…male pectoral tufts develop late, after other adult characteristics.’

“Value opinions.”

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
26th September 2014

Location: Ulu Kinta Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Habitat: Ex-logging trail through mixed secondary and primary forest

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