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Thick-billed Flowerpecker - Juvenile bird feeding another juvenile

Thick-billed Flowerpecker is small flowerpecker seen in Gujarat. They visit our campus on regular basis due to presence of many berry-bearing trees. Among these trees Cluster Fig tree are their favorite. In the season of fruit, we use to hear their call from Fig tree almost every morning, afternoon and evenings.

On early morning of 11th April 2018, we heard peculiar call from a Fig tree, which we suspect belongs to juvenile birds. On close observation we spotted three Thick-billed Flowerpecker, two of them are juvenile birds. We clicked some images and observed their behavior. Juvenile birds are still shaky but looks explorative, already started to peck and feed on fig fruits. Adult bird came to feed them with protein diet – arthropod prey, at relatively long intervals. Juveniles continued feeding, foraging and keep calling for adult whole the time.

One juvenile is more actively foraging, pecking and feeding in compare to another. Active one was pecking fruit, puncture it and feeding from it. Another one came to feed from same fruit. Both juvenile perched side by side and fed from same fruit turn by turn.
Meantime suddenly we observed that one juvenile of Thick-billed Flowerpecker demanding food from another juvenile bird. To our surprise first juvenile actually feed second juvenile with fruit mash!!! This action repeated several time. We were quite amazed as we saw this behavior for first time. We observed their presence in same area for another 5 days in row. 

To us this behavior gives the impression of stronger tendency of juveniles to copying habits of adult bird. As they picked to peck at familiar food of adult –figs, also able to replicate feeding style as wipes the seeds on a branch while feeds on fig mash and sometimes, probably also copying the feeding tendency of adult bird to feed juvenile birds.

GMERS Medical College Campus, Dharpur, Patan, Gujarat, India

11th April 2018


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