a publication of Sungei Buloh Nature Park

Vol 6 No 3
Dec 99

Common Tailorbird

Lesser Known Predators
of Sungei Buloh

Butterfly Monitoring and Introduction
at Sungei Buloh

Why we should NOT feed the monkeys

Bird Ringing
at Sungei Buloh

Sluice Gate Management

International Coastal Cleanup

Sep 99

Care for Nature Family Hunt 99

Journal of a Nature Warden
Common Tailorbird
(Orthotomus sutorius)

ramakrishnan nk

It was still dark outside when I woke up and got myself ready for a bird ringing session at Sungei Buloh Nature Park. As I walked towards the Nature Gallery, a pair of small birds caught my eye. Moving closer, I noticed that one of the birds has an elongated tail feather. This is only seen in the male Common Tailorbird (Orthotomus sutorius). Upon further investigation, I realised that this pair was actually busy building a nest!

The nests of the Common Tailorbird are found at Simpoh Air scrubs around the Park. Nest building for the Common Tailorbird is a job undertaken by the female. The male can be seen escorting the female on her material collection rounds. Using a single leaf or a cluster of leaves, the 'cover' of the nest is formed by the female who meticulously pierces an equal number of holes on each leaf edge with its finely pointed bill as a needle. Spider silk or fine grass serve as thread. Stitching back and forth through the holes, the bird joins each leaf seam together, tying knots as it sews and leaving an entrance hole at the top. Fine strands of grass are used to weave the cup nest inside the folded leaf. Once that is completed, feathers, lalang and other materials are used to line the inside of the nest that would keep the nestlings warm.
  Description of bird: Upper parts olive green; centre of crown rufous; for female rufous colour restricted to forehead. Side of head and underparts white. Distinguished from Dark-necked Tailorbird (Orthotomus atrogularis) by white under-tail coverts. In breeding season the male's central tail feathers are an additional 3cm longer.

Breeding season: Peak period during February to May.

No. of eggs laid: 2 to 5 pastel blue eggs speckled brown.

Incubation to Fledging: 24 Days

Voice: a persistent loud chee-yup Chee-yup, incessantly repeated.

Habitat: Forest edge, garden, parks, open country, scrub, mangrove.

Status: Very common resident

Look out for this amazing small wonder that is always active from dusk to dawn among the scrub and trees along the Park's walking trails. A word of caution though, do not get too close if they are building a nest. They may he alarmed and abandon the nest or even the nestlings.

© Sungei Buloh Nature Park