Spectacled Spiderhunter’s nesting behaviour

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“I was fortunate to watch the nesting behaviour of a pair of Spectacled Spiderhunter (Arachnothera flavigaster).

“It was 11.20am and I just left the forest reserve and decided to explore the fringe of the reserve where there is overgrown secondary jungle within abandoned plantations.

“I heard a spiderhunter call and located the pair. They were exploring the underside of leaves. Over the next 15 minutes I tried to offer them the space they needed while maintaining observations. They were aware of my presence but continued looking for a nesting site.

“They explored 5 different trees; a Rubber tree (top), a Ficus (above), a broad leaf tree (below), a bamboo clump and another smaller leaf tree.

“Most inspections were at heights of 5-8 meters. Both pairs were involved in the inspection but I had the distinct impression that one bird lead and made most of the calls (a male possibly, saying ‘let’s look here’ or ‘how about these leaves’). Calls were made almost throughout the nest searching period; often the classical two syllable ‘chack-chack’ but occasionally a single syllable HERE (amplified, with noise reduction). The sonogram-waveform is shown below.

“In literature these birds have a preference for coconut/palm fronds and rubber leaves sewn together (see Wells 2007, The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula: Vol. 2 and Cheke & Mann 2001, A Guide to the Sunbirds, Spiderhunters, Sugarbirds and Flowerpeckers of the World).

“I lost them as they moved their inspection into denser part of the jungle and I had my fill of mosquito bites. But I hope to return and see if I can spot a nest in construction.

“Although nests are generally reported in the earlier parts of the year (April) there are reports of dependent fledglings in September and November (Wells 2007).”

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
8th August 2015

Location: Kledang-Sayong Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Habitat: Fringe of forest reserve with overgrown secondary jungle

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