Honey, I Stole the Nectar!

In search of nectar,
hovering over blossoms,
sweet pollinator!

Nectaries too deep,
piercing base of flower,
crafty nectar thief!



As I looked on, this sunbird tried to dip its beak through the unfurled petals of the flower bud. Unsuccessful at its attempt to reach the nectaries, it then hovered around the base of the flower, its intent evident. However, a disturbance by another bird landing on the branch made it dart away. Fascinated by the activity, I had lowered my camera and hence I have no documentation besides these two clicks.

Nectar robbing or nectar theft is an interesting topic which offers a fascinating insight into the mutualistic relationship between flowering plants and pollinators. The reason why pollinators indulge in nectar theft, its effect on plant reproduction, the adaptations and defences which plants erect against nectar robbers, and the behaviour of legitimate pollinators – all make for an interesting study.

[In the frame: Purple-rumped Sunbird (Leptocoma zeylonica), female; Aarey Forest, Mumbai]

– Narendra Nayak Β© 2020

12 thoughts on “Honey, I Stole the Nectar!

  1. Our carpenter bees engage in nectar robbing, too. I first learned about it when I began learning about our native pollinators. It’s an interesting phenomenon. I didn’t realize that birds would engage in it as well. I’ll have to see if we have any birds who do the same thing.

    As always, an interesting post, with a fine photo.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Ma’am, it is such an interesting occurrence. Bees, wasps, ants, birds – they all indulge in nectar theft. If you have hummingbirds in your locality, you will be able to observe this well, since these birds along with spiderhunters and sunbirds are the foremost nectar robbers!
      Thank you for reading, and sharing your thoughts, Ma’am! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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