Java Sparrow feeding on stems of Bermuda grass

posted in: Feeding-plants | 2

“Java Sparrows (Lonchura oryzivora) are not a native bird but breed in the wild from released captives, mostly around limestone caves where they nest. Information on what they feed on locally is limited. I have seen them feed on bamboo seeds, grass seeds and one fruit. In Indonesia they are known to feed on ‘rice crops, grass seeds, spilled grain, seeds of flowering plants, and take a few insects’ (Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive, 2015). I am certain that juveniles must be fed some insect protein source.

“Today I saw them feed on the succulent stems of young Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon). I observed a pair pulling out the young heads of the grass and nibbling on the tender stems. They did not consume the leaves.

Special Note:
“As a young person I would sit with my family in our garden and pull out a similar grass and also chew on the succulent ends of the new growth, in imitation of my parents. I remember it being rather favourable to taste. This grass is also known as ‘dūrvā grass’, ‘dog’s tooth grass’, ‘Indian doab’, etc. It is noted in literature, and I have personally observed, that dogs eat this grass for stomach ailments. In Ayurvedic medicine it is regarded as a traditional herb, considered rich in minerals, protein and used as an antiviral and antimicrobial HERE

“Perhaps the birds know its value as well, both as food source and medicinal plant, as probably my parents were aware.”

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
24th December 2015

Location: Ipoh City, Perak, Malaysia
Habitat: Urban environment in the city near limestones

2 Responses

  1. Interesting note about the dog’s tooth grass. Is its use common amongst humans? Also, these Javan sparrows remind me of puffins!

  2. The grass is used in traditional medicine for various purposes.

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