I followed a pair of Sunda Pygmy Woodpeckers and their offspring in May 2008 for almost 2 weeks until the chicks are fledged. The nesting hole was on a dead branch of Albizia tree about 5 meter off the ground and the tree is about 10 to 15 meters off a trail at Eastern Singapore. As the location is only suitable for morning shoot, I usually arrive at the site at about 7:15am and shoot for about 1 hour before going to work. The best light was around 8am when the golden light directly hit the hole.


When I first found the hole, the chicks (at least 2 chicks) were still very young and the parents would go inside the hole to feed. One of the parents will usually fly straight into the hole, while the other usually very cautious. It would perch close to the hole and observed. If there are other birds (e.g. usually Yellow Vented Bulbul, Pied Fantail, myna and crows, but I have also seen Common Iora, Olive Backed Sunbird, Collared Kingfishers, Blue Throated Bee Eaters, etc), it will just hopped around until the other birds are gone before entering the nesting hole. Once, there was a crow perched right on top of the Albizia tree, the woodpecker parent came with prey, but decided to fly away for a good 20 minutes before it returned to the hole to feed the youngs. The feeding interval usually ranging from 2 to 20 minutes.




It is not easy to be parent. It is not just find a hole, lay eggs, hatch and feed. After feeding, parents will need to clean up the hole as well. Initially, I was not sure what were the slimy stuff that the parent were bringing out from the hole, later I start to realize the parent were cleaning the hole and bringing out the waste.


The chicks grew fast, the second week I photographed the family, the parents started to feed from out side the hole. The interval seems more frequent than the previous week. One of the parents is still very cautious when bringing foods to the youngs. There are times you can see the chicks stuck out their necks waiting for the parents to feed them. Later part of the week, the parent actually perch below the hole in bid to get the chicks to extend its body out from the hole.


 Unfortunately I did not have a chance to photograph the fledging of the chicks, however, the 2 weeks that I was photographing this family brought a lot of joy and at the same time have a better understanding of the nesting process of Sunda Pygmy Woodpeckers.