Contributed by Seng Alvin.
The Brown-throated Sunbird, Anthreptes malacensis, is the largest sunbird among the six species in Singapore. I have been observing these beautiful birds for many years. They have been a joy to photograph and I never get tired of shooting them.
Looking back at my old photos, I realised that they feed on a variety of food and not just on nectar alone although this is their main source of energy. This made them a generalist which may account for their presence in parks, gardens and disturbed woodlands. This is a compilation of the photos I took over the years showing them taking fruit, seeds, caterpillars and nectar from a wide range of flowers. I hope that this will encourage others to document the feeding habits of these beautiful sunbirds so that we can learn more about them.
Female taking nectar from a Red Button Ginger / Scarlet Spiral Flag flower. It uses its tubular long tongue to get to the nectar at the base of the flower and “sipped” it up by capillary action.
The nectar is at the base of the Hibiscus flower and the Brown-throated Sunbird had to use its sharp bill to pierce the bottom of the flower to get to the nectar.
The male seen here picking up a fruit from the Simpoh Ayer flower before swallowing it. These seeds are also favorites of bulbuls and other furgivorous birds.
The Red Tree-vine or Leea Rubra are normally visited by bees and butterflies as their flowers are small. This male Brown-throated Sunbird must be attracted to the color or for a change of taste.
Hanging on a thin twig just to get to the sweetest flower of the Earleaf Acacia is not a problem for this juvenile female.
Sunbirds unlike the humming birds do not hover to feed. They can save precious energy by clinking on to the flower of the Gelam Tree/ Tee Tree to feed.
This male is out looking for protein for its youngs. This juicy caterpillar is just it needs.
The Saraca tree at Bukit Batok NP is a magnet for the Crimson, Van Hasselt’s and of course our Brown-throated.
The Fire Bush / Scarlet Bush is an introduced ornamental plant to our gardens, but it seem that the bill of the Brown-throated Sunbird is perfectly suited to get to the nectar inside.
The red flower of the Teruntum Merah proves irresistible to this male sunbird.
The dwarf Banana is planted to add color to a garden and its small flowers must have enough nectar to bring this female to it. It will also help to pollinate the flower.
I am still trying to find out the name of this tree where this female managed to get to its seeds.
I would like to thank Ivan Kwan for helping me to ID all the trees/flowers/fruits in this album. A good start for me to learn the names of our plants and flowers that are great sources of food for our birds.