Friday, 15 July 2011

Tickell’s Flowerpecker

Tickell's flowerpecker

Tickell's Flowerpecker or Pale-billed Flowerpecker (Dicaeum erythrorhynchos) is one of the smallest birds occurring in South India.

Tickell's flowerpecker

It is ashy-olive on its upper parts and buffy white on its under-parts.

Tickell's flowerpecker

The bill is pale, fleshy coloured and is slightly curved. The iris is brown and the leg is dark greyish in colour.

Tickell's flowerpecker

This bird can be easily confused with the Nilgiri flowerpecker (Plain flowerpecker), but that bird is darker with a dark beak.

Tickell's flowerpecker

These birds are thought to be intimately connected with the spread of the parasitic plants of the genus Loranthus, whose berries it feeds on. The seeds which are very sticky are spread by this bird, which when excreted, stick to the vent of the bird. In order to get rid of the sticky seeds, the bird rubs its vent against the branches, thus getting the seed stuck onto the branch from where it grows.

Tickell's flowerpecker

It is a very restless bird, flying from tree to tree and hopping from flower to flower while uttering its incessant chik-chik-chick call:

…..the call may also extend into a twittering.

Tickell's flowerpecker

The bird tests each berry with its mandibles before eating the ripe ones. Digestion is extremely rapid, and the sticky seeds pass out within 3-4 minutes and the seeds are extruded after feeding on every three or four berries consumed.

Tickell's flowerpecker

The breeding season is from February to May and the nest is very similar to those of the sunbirds – a pear shaped structure, constructed from fibres, cobwebs etc. suspended from its stalk from a twig. When the female sits in the nest, its head can be seen looking out through the entrance which is on one side. One to three eggs are laid.

  Sighting Information:
Location: Bannerghatta 
Date: 19th June 2011
Time: Morning; 7:40 AM
Weather: Overcast morning after overnight rains
Other Details: A pair of birds seen, hopping about on a teak tree, restlessly jumping from branch to branch.

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