• 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,...

Trees for Birds: 2. Macaranga bancana (Common Mahang)

in Feeding-plants, Plants  on Apr 24, 14 2 Comments »
Trees for Birds: 2. Macaranga bancana (Common Mahang) One of the most spectacular bird-tree in Singapore is Waringin or Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina) LINK. A total of 42 species of birds had been documented visiting the tree to take the figs, the insects attracted to the figs or for any other reasons. Another great bird-tree is the Common Mahang (Macaranga bancana) (above). The tree is commonly seen in our secondary forests and seldom, if ever, planted outside the forest. When news of its attractiveness to birds was publicised... Read More

Asian Fairy-bluebird – male feeding on Ficus benjamina

in Feeding-plants  on Apr 08, 14 No Comments »
Asian Fairy-bluebird – male feeding on Ficus benjamina “Many trees beginning to fruit at this area. Ten to 15 species of birds were feeding on the figs of the Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina). The Asian Fairy-bluebird (Irena puella malayensis) is not difficult to spot but hard to photograph as it is quite shy. However the call of the fruit was strong. Some images of the male while feeding on upper strata of the tree above and below. Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia 18th October 2011 Location: Kledang-Sayong... Read More

Slaty Flowerpiercer’s feeding strategy to steal flower nectar

Slaty Flowerpiercer's feeding strategy to steal flower nectar “It was with great luck and amazement that I was able to observe the feeding strategy that was being practiced half a world away in Costa Rica. My first encounter of this was in Singapore along my balcony when an Olive Backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis) pierced the base of the Episcia cupreata ‘Acajou’ flower to get at the nectar LINK. “In Costa Rica’s Valley of San Gerardo de Dota, specifically at the Sevegre Lodge, the same phenomenon unfolded before me.... Read More

Crimson Sunbird feeding on nectar of Devil’s Backbone

in Feeding-plants  on Apr 04, 14 No Comments »
Crimson Sunbird feeding on nectar of Devil's Backbone “A breathtaking brilliant Crimson Sunbird (Aethopyga siparaja) that has informally been proposed by Singaporean bird watchers as the national bird. A friendly bird and this male allowed close observation as it fed on the nectar of the Devil’s Backbone or Slipper Flower (Euphorbia tithymaloides/Pedilanthus tithymaloides). “The iridescent forecrown has been noted in some literature as ‘dark green’ Robson (2002) and in others as ‘metallic green or... Read More

Sunbird, Bee And the Drumstick Tree

Sunbird, Bee And the Drumstick Tree “There is a Drumstick tree (Moringa oleifera) in my condo. Other than a hanging-parrot which was suspected to be a Blue-crowned Hanging-parrot (Loriculus galgulus) seen about two years ago, I have not noticed any other bird being attracted to this tree. “About a month ago, however, I observed that the tree was in full bloom, with wilted flowers scattered all over the ground below the tree. While spending time to examine the intricate structure of the immature seedpods, I... Read More

Frugivory by spiderhunter Arachnothera species in Peninsular Malaysia

Frugivory by spiderhunter Arachnothera species in Peninsular Malaysia Based on observations made over 10 days between October 2009 and March 2012 in Perak and Pahang in Peninsular Malaysia, Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS has finally published his findings (above). Spiderhunters, as the name suggests, feed mainly on spiders. In addition, they take insects and nectar. There have also been casual mention of them feeding on fruits in the literature but no specifics, that is, until now. Amar’s evidence comes in his many photographs of spiderhunters... Read More

White-breasted Waterhen eating bananas

in Feeding-plants  on Mar 25, 14 No Comments »
White-breasted Waterhen eating bananas “Birds never fail to surprise me with their ingenuity and range of diet. The diet of the White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus) is not well recorded locally but is large and varied. “I have observed them feeding on insects, earthworms, some molluscs, grass seeds, roots/shoots of some plants. “General foraging in ditches, drains, mud patches and shallow rivers is for worms but must also include small fish. “Today I was pleasantly surprised to see one hop... Read More

Javan Mynas with yellow collars…

in Feeding-plants  on Mar 04, 14 No Comments »
Javan Mynas with yellow collars… The above image of a group of eight Javan Mynas (Acridotheres javanicus) with four having a yellow collar each, was posted on Facebook in early March 2014 by photographer Ah Pin at Neo Tiew Lane 2 LINK. People were wondering what caused the yellow collar. According to wildlife consultant Subaraj Rajathurai LINK, they all appear to be Javan Mynas Four of the perched birds appear to have pollen dusted on their throats. These are juvenile birds, as they have a brown wash to... Read More

Trees for Birds: 1. Ficus benjamina (Waringin, Weeping Fig)

in Feeding-plants, Plants  on Feb 21, 14 No Comments »
Trees for Birds: 1. Ficus benjamina (Waringin, Weeping Fig) Ficus benjamina, commonly known as Waringin or Weeping Fig, is a tree that attracts large number of birds whenever it produces figs (above, tree on right). Scientifically known as syconium, the fig is the enlargement of a stem tip that becomes hollow and fleshy. Within this cavity are the tiny flowers – male, female and gall-flowers (which are sterile female flowers). The pollination of the flowers is undertaken by tiny fig wasps. A developing fig attracts female... Read More

Blue-and-white Flycatcher – 1st winter male

in Feeding-plants  on Feb 19, 14 No Comments »
Blue-and-white Flycatcher - 1st winter male “A single 1st winter male Blue-and-white Flycatcher (Cyanoptila cyanomelana) was hawking for insects as well as occasionally feeding on the fruiting Ficus benjamina. Would sally out to pluck a fruit and disappear into a bamboo ticket to feed. Fruit feeding is not well documented locally. “Although I observed this activity, these days these seems to be a necessity to get image ‘proof’ which I missed a couple of times. One nice photographic... Read More