Pig-tailed Macaques are the gangsters of fruiting fig trees. A troop of macaques will drive away all the other animals feeding on the figs.
Photos and information provided by Shavez Cheema and Chun Xing WONG of 1Stop Borneo Wildlife.
Ficus subcordata fruiting diary at Tawau Hills Park July 24th 2021
7.10 am. Local Gibbon family arrive
7.16 am. Red Langur arrives.
7.22 am. Binturong starts moving around.
7.25 am. 2 Black Hornbills arrive.
7.39 am. Prevost’s Squirrel active.
7.42 am. A lone Sabah Grey Langur came to have a look
7.46 am. Gibbon family depart
7.57 am. Male Rhinoceros Hornbill arrives
7.59 am. Helmeted Hornbill male arrives
8.03 am. Helmeted Hornbill male leaves.
A flock of Black Hornbills land.
8.07 am. Three Wreathed Hornbills arrive.
8.11 am. The Wreathed Hornbills leave.
8.22 am. A Muntjac wandering around near the base of the tree.
8.41 am. A male Wreathed Hornbill arrives.
8.42 am. The male Rhinoceros hornbill returns.
8.47 am Male Black Hornbill arrives
8.55 am. A small flock of Black Hornbills arrive.
9.24 am-9.27 am. Male Wreathed Hornbill arrives.
9.32 am. Rhino Hornbill arrives.
9.39 am. Both Rhino and Wreathed leave.
10.03 am. Three Wreathed hornbills arrive.
10.16 am. A troop of gangster Pig-Tailed Macaques arrive, the Red Langurs leave and whole fig tree goes quiet.
10.33 am Pig-tailed Macaques leave.
- The last four days have been very quiet. In Borneo the presence of a fruiting fig is usually signalled by the calls of barbets and the territorial calls of gibbons but none of the wildlife visiting this fig make any noise and there are no barbets and smaller birds such as bulbuls are scarce.
- The scarcity of smaller birds may be due to the presence of so many hornbills. Hornbills often catch and eat small birds.
- Ripe Ficus subcordata figs appear too large for even Borneo’s largest barbet to swallow whole so this may explain the absence of barbets.
- Even though none of hornbills are calling, all the other hornbills often appear to sense the arrival of a Helmeted Hornbill in advance and leave about a minute before the Helmeted Hornbill arrives. It seems as if Helmeted Hornbills are greatly feared even by Rhinoceros and Wreathed Hornbills, but how do these smaller hornbills sense the arrival of the larger Helmeted in advance?
- Pig-tailed Macaques normally forage for fallen fruit on the ground rather than forage in the canopy but when they do climb into the canopy to feed on the figs all the other wildlife leaves. Even the Red Langurs which normally feed quietly at the back nibbling for hours on ripe figs as if they are stoned, leave when the gangster macaques arrive.