On 18th April 2015 Thong Chow Ngian photographed a female Olive-backed Sunbird (Nectarinia jugularis) harvesting nesting material at Ponggol Barat grassland.
The sunbird was working its way from the top to the bottom of the approximately half a metre tall shrub (above).
With its bill full of dried fruits (above, below), it flew off to its secret nesting site.
The sunbird returned to the same shrub several times to gather more dried fruits. It was so engrossed with the harvesting that it was oblivious to the presence of two man standing close by the shrub, about 3 metres away.
Through the good office of NParks’s Chew Ping Ting, Paul KF Leong from the Herbarium identified it as Porophyllum ruderale, popularly known as Bolivian Coriander. This is an exotic species commonly grown in Mexico and South America for seasoning food. It is now a naturalised weed in Singapore.
As with all members of the plant family Compositae, also called Asteraceae, the fruits are one-seeded, each with a head of hairs that assist in wind dispersal. As such, they make excellent nesting material for birds.
Thong Chow Ngian & Paul KF Leong & Chew Ping Ting