Common Tailorbird Gathering Nesting Material

on July 20, 2012

While I was walking through NUS’s newly-opened University Town back in February 2012, I came across a tiny Common Tailorbird (Orthotomus sutorius) clinging on to the bark of a relatively young Pulai (Alstonia scholaris) tree with some white fibres in its beak.

As the tree was quite newly planted, it still had support struts tied to the trunk, with a cloth-like material (looks similar to the one in an earlier BESG article featuring an olive-backed sunbird) wrapped around the tree to cushion the trunk against the pressure of the support struts and the rope used to tie the struts to the tree.

Clinging tightly to the vertical face of the trunk, the tailorbird proceeded to repeatedly reach out and grab clumps of fibre from the from the fraying cloth material, repeating this process several times before flying off, presumably to use the fibres for building its nest.


It’s also quite interesting to see how the tailorbird is able to balance itself on the sheer vertical face of the trunk in spite of its body shape, its upward-pointing tail, and the fact that its anisodactyl feet are more suitable for perching than clinging, which is very unlike the stiff tail feathers and the zygodactyl toe arrangement that allows woodpeckers to cling effectively onto vertical surfaces. Perhaps its low body mass makes such a balancing act easier for the common tailorbird.


One response to “Common Tailorbird Gathering Nesting Material

  1. […] David Tan was at the newly opened University Town in February 2012 where he photographed a Common Tailorbird (Orthotomus sutorius) clinging onto the bark of a newly planted Pulai tree (Alstonia scholaris). The tailorbird was repeatedly reaching out to the piece of cloth-like material used to cushion the trunk from the support struts, grabbing clumps of fibres from it. With its bill full of fibres, it flew off, presumable to build its nest. […]

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