Tag Archive: wiki


On the way to Sundaghatta, I suddenly was struck by a truly majestic, dead tree!

This was, I learnt from Arun Kumar,

Corypha umbraculifera, the TALIPOT PALM

which is a species of palm native to eastern and southern India (Malabar Coast) and Sri Lanka.

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It is one of the largest palms in the world; individual specimens have reached heights of up to 25 m (82 ft) with stems up to 1.3 m (4.25 ft) in diameter.[1]
You can see its height above the coconut palm trees:

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It is a fan palm (Arecaceae tribe Corypheae), with large, palmate leaves up to 5 m (16 ft) in diameter, with a petiole up to 4 m (13 ft), and up to 130 leaflets.

The talipot palm bears the largest inflorescence of any plant, 6-8 m (20-26 ft) long, consisting of one to several million small flowers borne on a branched stalk that forms at the top of the trunk (the titan arum, Amorphophallus titanum, from the family Araceae, has the largest unbranched inflorescence, and the species Rafflesia arnoldii has the world’s largest single flower).

The talipot palm is monocarpic, flowering only once, when it is 30 to 80 years old. It takes about a year for the fruit to mature, producing thousands of round, yellow-green fruit 3-4 cm (1.2-1.6 in) in diameter, each containing a single seed.

The plant dies after fruiting.

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The talipot palm is cultivated throughout Southeast Asia, north to southern China. Historically, the leaves were written upon in various Southeast Asian cultures using an iron stylus to create palm leaf manuscripts. This must have been the original “olai chuvadu”!

The tree is known as kudapana in Malayalam Language, which means “umbrella” palm tree. On the Malabar Coast, the palm leaves were used to make traditional umbrellas for agricultural workers and students in rural areas until a few decades ago.

What a wonderful amount of information from one stray look at a huge dead tree!

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In Sundghatta, we stopped the car to watch a few birds, and as usual, these beautiful little

PURPLE-RUMPED SUNBIRDS

caught our attention as they flitted to and fro on the Calatropis bushes.

Here’s the lady…

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and the gentleman….

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The Purple-rumped Sunbird(Leptocoma zeylonica) are endemic to the Indian Subcontinent. They usually feed on nectar from flowers, but can sometimes eat insects. Purple-rumped Sunbirds are tiny at less than 10 cm long. they have medium-length thin down-curved bills and brush-tipped tubular tongues, both adaptations to their nectar feeding.I don’t know how they can eat insects with that!When the flowers are too deep to probe, they sometimes pierce the base of the flower and rob the nectar.

Their hanging pouch nests are made up of cobwebs, lichens and plant material. Imagine, collecting cobwebs and making nests out of that!

Male sunbirds can be very aggressive towards what they perceive to be rivalry.

here

is my post (July 23, 2010) about the way a male Sunbird attacked his own reflection, at JLR Bandipur, believing it to be a rival!

The Indian Silverbill, 011113

When you’ve been fasting, you tend to break your fast…and overdo it! I’d not seen anything of Indian birds for a longish time now, and when we went to

Muthur

to help my friend Shangon celebrate the life of her husband, who passed away in 2005, I just walked around the school building while the speeches were going on.

Just behind the toilets,a barbed wire fence separated the High School property from a field of millet; and there, I was delighted to find a group of

INDIAN SILVERBILLs

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alternately foraging on the ground,

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and sitting on the fence, or the telephone wires.

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So I just clicked away happily!

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The Indian Silverbill or White-throated Munia (Lonchura malabarica), the Wiki says, is a small passerine (sparrow-like) bird, which forages in flocks in in grassland and scrub habitats….and in several villages!

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They are

Estrildid finches which means they are included in the genus “Lonchura”, and are called weaver-finches.

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They are found in flocks of as many as 60 birds.

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They feed on the ground or on low shrubs and grass stalks. They constantly utter a low cheeping or chirping contact call as they forage. They visit water and drink with a rapid sip and swallow action.

It feeds mainly on seeds, but also takes insects and has been known to visit nectar bearing flowers, such as those of Erythrina trees

The breeding season is spread out and varies with region. They nest in winter in southern India and after summer in northern India. They nest, an untidy ball of grasses with an opening on the side, is placed in low shrubs, often on thorny Acacia and are known to make use of the old nests of Baya Weaver sometimes even visiting those that are occupied by the weaver birds. They will sometimes build their nest below the platform nests of vultures or storks!

Here the beak structure, suited to the cracking and eating of seeds, can be clearly seen:

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The clutch varies from 4 to 8 white eggs and these are incubated by both parents for about 11 days. Helpers may be involved in breeding as more than a pair are sometimes seen at a nest.
It’s a pity I couldn’t see any nests nearby!

I even took this ideo showing one bird foraging:

The Indian Silverbill brought me back to Indian birding, and what a delightful start it was!

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