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Howard Banwell | profile | all galleries >> Wildlife >> Birds >> Singapore >> Hornbill Breeding >> April 3rd, 2009 tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

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April 3rd, 2009

Feeding patterns

Food brought by the male consisted of fruits and berries, insects (spiders, beetles, crickets), snails, lizards, and newly hatched bird chicks. By volume, fruit and berries predominated. Observations were made of 40 feeds. Of these, 22 consisted of fruit alone, 17 feeds amounting to between 20 and 91 pieces of fruit each. The other 18 feeds comprised either meat items alone, or a mixture of meat and fruit, and were usually significantly smaller in numbers of items. The bulkiest item fed was a newly hatched bird chick on one occasion a single chick, on a second occasion one in the bill upon arrival, and another regurgitated.

When the male OPH was feeding the female and two chicks, 41 complete feeding cycles were observed (departure/return/feeding). The average time away from the nest over these 41 cycles was 34 minutes, with the longest absence being 96 minutes and the shortest being just 6 minutes. However, there was a difference in the timing as the chicks got older and demanded more food; between March 14th and 20th the average time away was 38 minutes (longest 96 minutes), while between April 1st and 16th the average time away dropped 26% to 28 minutes (longest 60 minutes). During the April 1st to 16th observations, the male was seen feeding into the nest on 23 occasions; the average number of food items fed to the female and chicks was 27, the largest was 91 pieces of fruit, and the smallest was just 1 (a single snail and a single lizard).

After the departure of the female and the first chick, there was a distinct change in feeding pattern. The longest absence of the male from the nest more than doubled to over 2 hours. While insufficient complete cycle observations were made for a statistically valid conclusion, it is estimated that the average time away from the nest rose from 28 minutes to perhaps 60-90 minutes. At the same time, the average quantity of food brought by the male dropped from 27 to 21 pieces over 17 observed feeds (the maximum item count being 65 and the minimum just 1).

Of the 24 occasions where it was possible to note the direction from which the male returned to the nest, two-thirds of the time it was from the west or southwest that is, from the direction of the Changi Golf Club and the old mature treed areas to the west of Changi Village (fruit predominated). A quarter of the time it was from the east or northeast, in the direction of the Changi food centre and Changi Beach Park (snails and insects predominated). On only one occasion it was from the north, and on no occasion from the southeast (Changi Airport direction no significant expanse of trees).

It should be noted that the very large tree at the Hindu temple formed a nearby and frequently used source of fruit for the male OPH.
Feeding
Feeding
Beetle
Beetle
Fruit
Fruit
Feeding
Feeding
Beetle
Beetle
Lizard
Lizard
Well-earned rest
Well-earned rest