“I saw a pair of Olive-backed Sunbirds (Cinnyris jugularis flammaxillaris) in courtship behaviour. I have seen this a number of times, and what catches the eye is the extension or display of the apricot-orange (Wells 2007) pectoral tuft which is usually concealed. I was too slow to get an image of the pectoral tuft extended but it had not been ‘retracted’ fully and the male was still calling excitedly when I reached them (above, below). [For images of the extended pectoral tuft, see HERE].
“The courtship, and use of this beautiful pectoral tuft, is akin to the birds of paradise. I have witnessed it close up in the past, alas without a camera. The male would flit from branch to branch, from tree to tree, while the female followed to watch the observe display. The pectoral tufts are kept fully erect throughout the period of display even when flying from tree to tree.
“I cannot be fully certain if there is only one female observing this display or if there was more than one male doing the display. On the occasions I have seen it, like today, I have only see a pair.
“Above and below give the audio recording, sonograms and waveforms of songs and calls. This song (see audio file labelled “calls-1-2”) I have heard as excited, courtship behaviour. The other recording (“calls-2-2”) contains all the common calls made plus a short fragment of song.”
Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSSIpoh, Perak, Malaysia
6th December 2017
Location: Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Habitat: Urban environment, secondary growth