Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Nesting Yellow-bellied Prinias

While observing a flock of White-browed Crakes foraging among long grass at the edge of the marshland in Pulau Burung (Penang), I noticed a Yellow-bellied Warbler carrying food as it moved along the vicinity. As I was in my car at that time, I just sat still and observe the bird as it made its way back to the nest. The nest was very well hidden in a small bush at the edge of the marsh. I can barely make out the outline of the nest made from interwoven dried grass and other vegetation.

Although this species is a common resident of open country and scrub vegetation, it is not always a easy subject to photograph because it tends hide among the vegetation. Its distinctive call is usually the tell-tale sign of its present. Once I was sure that my presence was not a deterrence for the parents to perform their parental duties, I decided to take full advantage of this opportunity to capture some images of this common but striking bird.

Gradually, I managed to observe both parents making frequent trips back to the nest with food. The plumage of the second parent was slightly different from the first one. It had an almost completely grey face with only the slightest trace of a white eyebrow. I am not sure if the plumage of this species is this variable because according to the books, both sexes are supposed to be identical and it does not have a specific breeding plumage. Maybe the colours of the plumage are enhanced during the breeding season.

Insects like flies and grasshoppers are the main prey brought back by the parents. Well, there certainly plenty of that around here. The marshlands are infested with insects and is all thanks to the adjacent landfill. Good to know that at least one human activity is helping out Mother Nature - even if it is indirectly.

A few more images of one of the parent birds before I wrapped things up. Although this is common species, it is no doubt a memorable experience. Since I started bird photography, it seems like my birding trips have been given new life. Although through the years I have already achieved a healthy life list, it's almost like I just started birding again as there are still lots of species I have not photographed or need improvement shots. I have always been a birder and I always will. The only difference is that now my camera is just as essential as my binoculars.


Richard King said...

Good to hear you love your birds so much. If more people were like that, the world would be a better place.

Mun said...

Yes, it would certainly be a better place for the birds.

yen said...

nice catch, love to see them in actions i.e. catching a bug or a mouthful

Wilma said...

Could the one with the greyer face be a not-quite-mature helper from a previous brood? Great shots!

Choy Wai Mun said...

Thanks, Yen.

Wilma, this species is not known to have helpers during the breeding season. Thanks, anyway.