Mountain Tailorbird nesting

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“Occasionally a visit to the highlands is a throwback to a time 30-40 years ago when the warbler and babblers and nesting birds were abundant. Today I had to decide which bird to spend time with, so plentiful was the opportunity.

“Tailorbirds are one of my favourites and I saw this adult in breeding plumage collecting nesting material. Unlike others in the family, this one does not stitch nests. The nest was located on a slope, deeper in the jungle and not accessible. But the collection of nesting material was interesting.

“The bird was collecting long dried leaves of a reed that commonly grows on the embankments and slopes in the highlands. It would take time to select a suitable specimen and then grasp it firmly in the beak. It would then either pull down hard with a grip on the stem of the plant (or adjacent plant), or it would launch out and use its body weight to rip the long leaf free. It was interesting to note that some leaves harvested were rejected. I suspect they were too short for its use. I saw 7 episodes.

“As I was busy watching other nesting birds, I watched 2 quick episodes and left. When I returned 65 minutes later, I found the bird (?birds) still at it and observed another 5 episodes (over 12 minutes). I wonder how many leaves were collected?

“It is hard to document the activity by images as most are rapid blurs. Some posts showing the bird with the nesting material. It did not seem concerned with my presence.”

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
1sth April 2015

Location: 1,600m ASL, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia
Habitat: A public road along primary montane forest

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