In search of nectar,
hovering over blossoms,
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 © 2020