The Tickell's Flowerpecker or Pale-billed Flowerpecker (Dicaeum erythrorhynchos) is a tiny bird that feeds on nectar and berries, found in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The bird is common especially in urban gardens with berry bearing trees. They have a rapid chipping call and the pinkish curved beak separates it from other species in the region.
This is a tiny bird, 8 cm long, and is one of the smallest birds occurring in most parts of southern India and Sri Lanka. The bird is plain brownish to olive green. The underside is buff olive and does not contrast greatly with the upperparts and not whitish as in the Nilgiri Flowerpecker of the Western Ghats and Nilgiri hills nor is it streaked as in the Thick-billed Flowerpecker. The Nilgiri Flowerpecker has a pale supercilium unlike this species which has no marking on the head. The Sri Lankan race ceylonense is greyer and smaller than the nominate race of peninsular India. It has been considered one of the early flowerpeckers, originating in the Malay Peninsula, to colonize the Indian Subcontinent.
Behaviour and ecology
Feeding on a berry
In forested areas, they often visit the flowers of Loranthusand Viscum species whose seeds are dispersed mainly by this and other flowerpecker species. The flowers of Dendrophthoe falcata are pollinated by this bird by releasing the explosive pollen.
In urban areas, they are particularly fond of introduced fruit trees such as Muntingia calabura, the fruits of which are swallowed whole. They also feed by crushing ripe berries and sipping the juice. They may also sip nectar from flowers such as those of Sterculia colorata and Woodfordia floribunda, pollinating them in the process.
These birds breed from February to June. A second brood in September may also be raised. The nest is a small pendant structure made of cobwebs, fibre, moss and down and hung from the tip of a twig high up in a tree. The opening is a slit and a clutch of two or three eggs is laid.