Current Avian Research

Figs of Hong Kong

Figs (Ficus spp.) belong to the family Moraceae, which has pan-tropical distribution. The genus contain some 800 species world wide and grow in many different forms, including tree, shrub, vine, and so on. There is a vast number of reference materials in the literature about the plants' ecology and biology.

I am studying the relationship between two figs (Ficus microcarpa and F. superba) and the birds in Hong Kong. I study the feeding ecology of birds on the figs, as well as the feeding patterns of birds on other fruits in Hong Kong.

Figs have special inflorence called 'syconium' within which it houses flowers. This round structure has an opening called the ostiole which enables the pollinator (wasps) to enter. The wasps lay eggs in the ovaries of the gall flowers which in turn pollinate the long styled flowers, which ovaries will become seeds. These creatures then form an obligate mutualitic relationship.

Figs have an aseasonal fruiting pattern (which is only possible in tropical region) both intra- and inter- population. Different species have different phenology as well. Therefore, in terms of population, figs can provide a year-round fruit source for frugivory birds. This is even more important when other fruit sources are in short.

I want to discuss with anyone who is interested in this topic. Please send me e-mail: or
Or write to:
Department of Ecology and Biodiversity
The University of Hong Kong
Pok Fu Lam Road, Hong Kong

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