• Water(hen) in the (bird) brain

    Water(hen) in the (bird) brain

    “Our good web-master once posted an article of mine on this website about attracting kingfishers to urban gardens LINK. “As a follow-up to that, I decided to do this...

  • The Birds of Singapore – an online book

    The Birds of Singapore – an online book

    In May 1943, GC Madoc published “An Introduction to Malayan Birds.” He wrote his manuscript in Singapore’s Changi Prison where he was interned when the country fell into the...

  • Videocam: A powerful tool for studying birds

    Videocam: A powerful tool for studying birds

    1. Collecting birds: In the 19th century the equipment needed to study birds was the gun. Another skill necessary was a good stuffing technique in order to preserve the specimens....

  • Documenting bird calls and songs

    Documenting bird calls and songs

    Many local birdwatchers are able to recognise the birds behind the songs. However, interest in most cases ends there except for a few who make basic recordings. Erik Mobrand...

  • Should attempts be made to tame wild birds?

    Should attempts be made to tame wild birds?

    The first part of the series by aviculturist Lee Chiu San deals with whether birds can be tamed and whether they will remain tamed. The second part looks at whether it is...

  • Postings your observations and images

    Postings your observations and images

    Why should you post your observations and images? Southeast Asian birds are poorly studied in terms of behaviour and ecology. By posting your observations (and this include...

  • Nature Society: The struggle for Singapore’s nature areas

    Nature Society: The struggle for Singapore’s nature areas

    The above paper has just been published. Nature in Singapore is a peer-reviewed, online journal that publishes articles on the flora and fauna (e.g., biology, botany, zoology,...


GASP! THE GREY HERON! “One of the easiest places to watch birds in Singapore is the Promenade Deck of the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital in Yishun. This deck is located right next to the well-equipped Cafeteria, and beside the Medicinal Garden inspired by the good webmaster of our site, Dr Wee Yeow Chin. All these areas are open to the public. “The management of KTPH have made a deliberate attempt to attract wildlife to their premises. Fruiting trees have been planted, native fish have been stocked... Read More

Observation of Anting by Vinous-breasted Starling

Observation of Anting by Vinous-breasted Starling “On December 31st, 2014, I came across the Vinous-breasted Starling (Acridotheres burmannicus) that has been present at the Pasir Ris Park over the past few months. The status of this bird is uncertain but should not be immediately dismissed as a mere escapee. “The starling was up in a tree and seemed to be picking things off the branch it was on. It then kept sticking his head below his wings or to the side of its body. I immediately realised that it was ‘anting’... Read More


WATERHEN PREENING AND SUNNING “On the 18th September 2014, I was able to creep up cautiously and observe the prolonged preening activity of White-breasted Waterhens (Amaurornis phoenicurus) at a local lotus pond (above). “As they preened themselves, the waterhens would regularly bob their stumpy tails up in a comical fashion. Even without a mirror, they seemed somewhat conscious of their own appearance. Perhaps they were preparing for a date with a fellow waterhen and paying particular... Read More

Long-tailed Parakeet in comfort behaviour

Long-tailed Parakeet in comfort behaviour “I came across a flock of 40 to 50 Long-tailed Parakeet (Psittacula longicauda) on 3rd September 2014 at about 4.40pm. They were perching on the branches of a tree near the entrance to the Lower Peirce Reservoir engaging in comfort behaviour after a shower. By the time I took out my camera, some of them had already left the scene (above). A female(?) was seen exercising her jaw while moving down a bare branch Sun Chong Hong Singapore 2nd October... Read More

Striated Swallow – calls and preening

Striated Swallow – calls and preening “Had an opportunity to watch Striated Swallows (Hirundo striolata badia) up close, preening with many calls (above, below). [Please note: This species is now known as Rufous-bellied Swallow (Cecropis badia), an endemic to the Thai-Malay Peninsula - see comment by Subaraj Rajathurai below.] “Calls were predominantly the tremulous “schwirrrr” HERE and waveforms/sonograms below. “…and a sharp “cheenk” or “tweep” HERE and waveforms/sonograms... Read More


A DRIPPY SUBJECT  “It is generally believed that pigeons and doves do not bathe in the conventional manner of other birds. That is, they do not dip themselves into water and splash about, as do thrushes, starlings, parrots, white-eyes and many other species. This has been reported in ornithological and avicultural literature. However, it has been said that pigeons and doves wash themselves by rubbing against wet foliage after rain. “I have never seen a pigeon or a dove bathe,... Read More


WHITE-BREASTED WATERHEN FORAGING IN THE RAIN “On the afternoon of 3rd September 2014, I was suddenly stranded in a shelter in a public park due to heavy rain. Despite the downpour, a White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus) was undeterred and intently searching for food on the soggy ground (above). “As the soil became saturated with rainwater, many soil-dwelling invertebrates, such as worms and insects may be forced to the surface, offering a bounty of food items for the waterhen to feast on. In between... Read More

Bats in my porch: 12. Grooming

Bats in my porch: 12. Grooming Common Fruit Bat (Cynopterus brachyotis), like all other bats, indulge in self-grooming most of the time when they are roosting. The bats arrive at the roosting site covered with plant sap, pollen and sometimes drops of water from the rain (above left). Grooming also removes ectoparasites. The images on the above-right shows a meticulously groomed bat after about half an hour of vigorous grooming. Bats also indulge in allogrooming or mutual (also known as directional)... Read More

Stripe-throated Bulbul after a bath

Stripe-throated Bulbul after a bath In the late morning of 8th July 2014, Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS encountered a Striped-throated Bulbul (Pycnonotus finlaysoni finlaysoni) having a bath in Malaysia’s Cameron Highlands. The two images accompanying this post show the bulbul just after the bath. No doubt the bird will be busy drying itself and preening its feathers to maintain them in top conditions. The location was a public road through the primary forest at 1600m ASL.... Read More

Purple Swamphen preening

in Feathers-maintenance  on Aug 21, 14 1 Comment »
Purple Swamphen preening “After a bath, the Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio viridis) walked up a dead branch for an extended preening session. “The waterhen likes to spread wings and shake them from side to side to dry out. “This offered an opportunity to image the crown. Did not appreciate the central crown deep purple band previously. “A short video can be viewed above. “Also recorded it feeding on a mollusc. Classical use of the foot to assit in anchorign prey and getting... Read More