Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Our porch visitor

To our delight, a Yellow-bellied Sunbird, Nectarina jugularis, has made its suspended nest right next to our rear patio door. This species is a small nectar feeding bird, only 10-12cm in size. We were able to watch the bird produce its nest from the very early stages; the bird returning every minute or so with more building material. Once the pendulous nest was completed, the soon to be mother settled in and we have only seen glimpses of her through the nest’s small circular opening.

Yellow-bellied Sunbirds lay 1-2 eggs with an incubation period of 14 days. Young fledge 15 days after hatching although the survival rate for nestlings is only around 20%. Two nights after the nest was built we were awoken by a terrible shrieking sound coming from the nest. We suspected a Brown Tree Snake, Boiga irregularis, was attacking the bird, but upon inspection no such predator was present. The Sunbird has since been seen in her nest so everything appears normal again. We can only wait and see what happens and wish her luck.

The Yellow-bellied Sunbird halfway through nest construction

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