Dicaeum hirundinaceum, Mistletoebird, Cabai Benalu

Written by on November 19, 2010 in Indonesia Bird with 0 Comments

Dicaeum hirundinaceum, Mistletoebird, Cabai Benalu


The mistletoebird, species Dicaeum hirundinaceum, is a flowerpecker type bird that mainly lives in Australia, but it can’t live in some parts of this country due to arid climates. They are also found in some places of Papua New Guinea, and eastern Indonesia. They also must live where there are trees and shrubs, so that they can build their nests. The bird eats a variety of different foods such as berries and assorted types of insects. When it comes to parenting the male and female both have different jobs.

Female and male Mistletoebirds do not look similar. Like a peacock, the male is more striking to look at. The male is blue-black, has a red chest and a slight red undertail, and a black center stripe running down its white belly. The female is less vibrant compared to the male. The female is dark grey, with only a light grey belly and just a touch of red under the tail. Immature birds are similar to the female, but have an orange bill instead of black. This bird is only 10-11cm in size.

The Mistletoebird eats a variety of different foods. Most commonly it eats the berries of the mistletoe plant, hence the name. It also has been found eating nectar, pollen, spiders, and insects in order to balance its diet. During harvest season the mistletoe bird eats grapes and vines of whose leaves have fallen off.

The species consumes the fruit of Amyema quandang (grey mistletoe), ignored by other fruit-consuming birds, that has led to a state of mutualism

The female Mistletoebird builds the nest by herself with no help from the male. The nest is made of crushed plants and spider webs, which holds it together and holds it to the tree. She will lay the eggs in the nest and look after them till they hatch. When they have hatched both parents will feed them.

By eating the mistletoe, this bird is able to spread the seeds, which is a parasitic plant. When the birds eat the berries, the seeds pass through them, which takes anywhere from 4-25 minutes. Then when they excrete the seeds, they are sticky and stick to the branch of a tree and sprout.

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