Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Macarthur Palm - Asian Glossy Starlings and the Big Feast

I have several clumps of Ptychosperma macarthurii (Macarthur Palm) planted some 2 decades ago. Once the palms are matured, they bore fruits continuosly, thus spawning many seedlings all over the garden. I've potted some of these seedlings and they are now tall matured palms, which I used as indoors and on my rooftop garden.
Bunches of fruits at various state of maturity - green, yellow, orange and red. The bunch on the left has newly formed green fruits and ...

tiny white flowers. 

 I was admiring the bunches of red fruits when suddenly I heard a cacophony of cackles 

It turned out to be raucous party of a flock of Asian Glossy Starling (Perling Mata Merah in Malay) on the tree tops of the Macarthur Palms.

They were busy polishing off the fruits.

Only the ripe red fruits were selected. With eyes intent, they pecked the fruits off the stalks. Their red eyes match the red fruits perfectly.

The sole black one is male while the rest with mottled black and white colouring on underparts are female.

In between harvesting the fruits, their alert eyes took in the surroundings and just as suddenly ... 

they flew off in a flurry of blurred feathers.

This one calmly stay put and did not follow its herd instinct. 
Instead it took its time to select the fruits, turning its head this way and that way to scrutinise them for the most choice fruits. 

The selected fruit was gobbled up with much gusto.

Some remnants of the fruit pulp is visible in between its beak.  

The selection and feasting process went on for quite a while. Its apetite seemed to be bottomless.

Moments later several male Starlings returned to continue feasting. 

Later some flew off to perch on power cables and concrete poles.

An earlier stage where golden fruits were flaunted.

Within the same bunch, fruits ripen at different times, giving rise to an attractive mix of red and yellow fruits.

Macarthur Palm, fruits and bamboo fronds.

Late in the evening, the silhouetted palm fronds swayed gracefully in the gentle breeze.


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