Tag Archives: Laced Woodpecker”

Woodpeckers feeding on Oil Palm Fruit

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Male Common Goldenback walking backwards to the fruits below.

I returned the next day curious to see what other bird species were also feeding on the fruits of the Oil Palm. Also the video grab yesterday was not clear enough if they are feeding on the fruit or not. The Plantain Squirrels were still helping themselves to the fruit. Before long, a female Laced Woodpecker flew in followed by a male Common Goldenback. They both landed on the stalk of the leaves facing upwards. To get to the fruits at the trunk, they had to do a “moonwalk” sliding backwards instead of turning round. I think their longer front toes do not allow them to do this. I waited until one of them was pecking for a while before getting close to get this video. You can actually see the Laced Woodpecker chipping away at the fruit and then eating the pulp. I think this is the first video showing this behavior. I have come across reports from Malaysia of both of the these Woodpeckers pecking on the oil palm fruits. They were not sure if the Woodpeckers were looking for insects among the fruits or eating it. Yesterday we saw a Banded Woodpecker on a tree nearby but it did not join the Laced Woodpeckers to feed on the oil palm. The only other species that I know of were the Long-tailed Parakeets. They were seen biting and chewing the fruits at the visitor’s center at the Botanic Gardens. It would seem that only birds with strong bills can tackle and get to the fruit. Video Link at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJCThARsUL0

30th Annual Bird Census at Kent Ridge Park

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I have been doing bird survey and census at Kent Ridge Park for the last decade and I think I knew about the bird life in this park. But this morning’s Annual Bird Census, the 30th, with Woo Lai Choo threw out some surprises. Right from the start just after we came out of the car, a Chestnut-bellied Malkoha landed on a Mahang tree by the side of the road. This is a forest specialist but has been spreading out. This particular Malkoha had been reported at the park in recent years.

Then we came across a Laced Woodpecker and a Common Goldenback doing something completely out of the ordinary. It was pecking at at the fruits of an Oil Palm and taking the juice of the fruit. Woodpeckers feed on small insects, ants and larvae. So could this be some kind of food supplement?

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Just before the end an adult Changeable Hawk Eagle flew in and settled on a tall tree branch. Some years back, it was a regular visitor to the park but have not been seen lately. There is an active nest further down the Ridge and I think the park is part of its hunting range.

In all we recorded 34 species, a good number for the park.