Friday, 3 January 2014


Every morning while I have been in Calcutta, I have woken up to the sound of a purple sunbird pecking at my bedroom window.

Like their American cousins the hummingbirds, sunbirds feed on nectar and have the ability to hover. Our feathered visitor spends hours hovering outside my window, pecking at the pane. Maybe it sees its reflection and thinks it is in the presence of another bird; sunbirds have not been documented to pass the mirror test. This seems unlikely because our panes are only slightly reflective, but I can think of no other explanation.

Judging by its eclipse plumage, our visitor is a non-breeding male. When its breeding season begins before the monsoons, maybe it will have other things to occupy its time. I have gotten used to its pecking; the next time I am in Calcutta, I will be a bit sad if the bird is no longer coming to the window.

I have clearer photos of the bird, but my favourite is one I took through the windowpane.


Raktima said...

Katthokra in my room. All the time. Pecking its reflection.

Sroyon said...

That sounds like a potential hazard to property; if it's a woodpecker it can probably bore holes in walls and smash glass.