Black-Thighed Falconet – breeding pair cleaning their nest

8.15am -The pair was resting on the street pole for about 10 mins. before the male flew off somewhere.

9.20am – F flies back to the nest and was there for very long time.

I suspected eggs could have been laid by the female or ready to lay eggs anytime. When she went back inside the nest I could hear noises inside. Maybe their previous offspring/s has came back to help on the incubating or cleaning the nest. Unfortunately I cannot see from outside. This has been suspected during my observations from last year. When I was checking the nest from the bins. I saw dust flying near the nest. At first I thought it could be the wind blowing but there is no wind at all. Not feeling satisfied, I used the scope to check on it. To my surprised the falconet/s is actually pushing loose sand/mud out from the nest. She was cleaning the nest!! I never knew that and have not seen cleaning nest before. This cleaning was on for about 5 mins. each time she went in. The throwing out loose sand was on for more than an hour. I have captured 3 videos on it. To see the loose sand throwing out you have to keep your eyes open because is too fine you will not notice it. When the female dashed out from the nest, she will immediately shake her head and something like swallow her saliva or shaking her mouth side to side. While I was still checking the nest through the scope something very big threw out from the nest. I have no idea what she throws out!! She is really keeping her ‘bedroom’ cleaned! I quickly rushed to their nest below to look for evidence. I’ve found it…… It was a dead Eurasian Tree–sparrow! [see pic 5810] I used a stick to touch the prey and the body is still soft. So this prey is brought back to the nest before I reach there. I reached there around 8.15am. I continued to look for more preys throwing out but only found wings from beetle and dragonfly. At least 10 dried pellets were on the ground. Pick up 5 pellets [see pic. 6173 & 6181] and took them back home for measurement.

When she was resting outside the nest, occasionally she will turn her back [see pic 5565] and started to scold another bird inside. This indicates there is another falconet inside the nest. The male was either resting somewhere or on his favourite perched on the street pole.

When I left the site at 12.30pm she was still resting outside the nest. I noticed her rufous belly and thigh is darker than before. Could be the breeding plumage.
Another breeding pair at Sam Poh Tong was also seen cleaning the nest in 2010 & 2011. The male used his strong beak to dig away dried feaces at the entrance of the nest left by their previous offsprings. Again I observed from the scope his body is pushing hard against the rock. The cleaning also took some time before he took some rest and continue to dig the dried dropping out. I have captured 1 or 2 videos on it.


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