Photo above shows a male Large Green Pigeon about to swallow a ripe Ficus dubia fig growing on a strangler next to the Maliau Basin Study Centre in Sabah.
Photos and information provided by Shavez Cheema and Chun Xing WONG of 1Stop Borneo Wildlife.
There are 5 species of green pigeons in Borneo. They all consume large quantities of ripe figs and they are all seed predators of figs. Birds have no teeth so they have to swallow figs whole. Of the 5 species of Bornean green pigeons only the Large Green Pigeon Treron capelli has a gape (beak opening) large enough to swallow Ficus dubia figs whole. The other 4 species of green pigeon do not have a gape big enough to swallow ripe F. dubia figs so they can only eat the figs when they are soft and over ripe. This means that birds with large gapes such as hornbills and Large Green Pigeons get first choice of the crop.
Like chickens, all green pigeons swallow small stones (grit) which sits in their gizzard and are used to grind up fig seeds and other seeds.
All the figs seeds swallowed by this Large Green Pigeon will end up as a protein rich paste feeding the pigeon.
The fallen Ficus dubia figs at Maliau were eaten by waiting Bornean Crested Fireback Pheasants Lophura ignita. These pheasants are also seed predators with a grit filled gizzard used to grind up the seeds. With all these enemies eating their seeds how do Ficus dubia seeds get dispersed?
Fortunately many animals do disperse Ficus dubia seeds by swallowing and defecating them. See these links below;