• 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,...

“Foot-trembling” feeding method of the Little Ringed Plover

“Foot-trembling” feeding method of the Little Ringed Plover “I was watching some plovers today and was delighted to be able to document the ‘foot-trembling’ feeding method of the Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius curonicus). “This feeding method has been described in this species since 1915 and also in a number of other shore birds (Simmons 1961). Many other foot movements associated with feeding in shore birds are also recognised (Simmons 1961, Sparks1961). “’Foot-trembling’ is described as the rapid shaking... Read More

Unusual feeding behaviour of Barn Swallow

in Feeding strategy  on Oct 19, 15 No Comments »
Unusual feeding behaviour of Barn Swallow “Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica) are recognised aerial insectivores and their superb manoeuvrability aids this. Most authorities consider insects as the only item in their diet. Most of us would have seen them feeding low over the ground in open areas and often over a body of water. I find that a freshly ploughed/cut field and water are their favourite feeding environments. “They are also known to pick items off the water surface but this behaviour is less commonly... Read More

Brown Shrike impales caterpillar

Brown Shrike impales caterpillar Tan Eng Boo photographed this juvenile Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus) at Jurong Eco-Garden in January 2015. The shrike, perching on a broken twig, was taking bits of what was left of a caterpillar partially impaled at the end of the twig. Shrikes have the habit of caching its prey by impaling it on a thorn or a sharp twig, as shown in the case of a skink and a lizard, both impaled by the Long-tailed Shrike (Lanius schach). Impaling helps the shrike to tear the flesh into... Read More

Food Storing Behaviour of the Nuthatch

Food Storing Behaviour of the Nuthatch Introduction “Nuthatches have always fascinated me with their agile tree climbing abilities and their beauty (cheeky looks). So it was a pleasure to see them frequently while bird watching in Sikkim. We saw two species, with the White-tailed Nuthatch (Sitta himalayensis) being the commonest. “Although being quite familiar with them in Malaysia, my observation have been largely in a tropical environment. I had not adequate realised aspects of their feeding behaviour in a... Read More


LITTLE EGRET FISHING TACTICS “In March 2015, I was enthralled by the diversity of fishing strategies employed by a Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) while it foraged along a canal during the low tide (below). Tactic #1: Statue Pose “When the egret has found a suitable spot or target zone, it will stay as still as a statue with unwavering concentration (below). If any aquatic prey were to make the slightest movement, it would strike with lightning speed. “A video clip demonstrating its patience... Read More

Javan Myna taking food meant for goldfish

in Feeding strategy  on Jun 26, 15 No Comments »
Dr Jean Ho’s video clip shows three Javan Mynas (Acridotheres javanicus) scrambling over food meant for the goldfish in the fish pond. This is typical Javan Myna behavior. It will take advantage of any food that becomes available under whatever conditions. It will take leftovers from open air cafes, hawker centres and even rubbish dumps and trucks. It follows wild boars and cattle to pick on insects displaced by these animals LINK. In urban areas it follows grass cutters... Read More

Fruiting of the MacArthur Palm

Fruiting of the MacArthur Palm My MacArthur Palm (Ptycospermun macarthuri) fruited in late February to early March 2015. And every evening a number of Asian Glossy Starlings (Aplonis panayensis) came to feed on the ripe fruits. The starlings were joined by a few Yellow-vented Bulbuls (Pycnonotus goiavier) and Javan Mynas (Acridotheres javanicus). The starlings seem to coexist with the bulbuls and mynas as there were no fights. This could be because there were enough fruits for all. One interesting... Read More

Pond Heron plunge-fishing

Pond Heron plunge-fishing “The usual way pond-herons forage is by wading or staying still in shallow water and striking at preys that innocently wandered near. Most of us, including me, have not seen pond-herons plunge-diving for fish but I had that rare encounter recently. “Early on the morning of 30th Nov 2014, the tide was receding when a handful of pond-herons in non-breeding plumage had gathered on the banks of this small river. There were at least 5 pond-herons. “Instead of foraging... Read More


STRAW-HEADED BULBULS FORAGING “On the afternoon of 22nd September 2014, a small family of Straw-headed Bulbuls (Pycnonotus zeylanicus) arrived onto the scene as I was strolling along forest edge. They appeared to be in visual search mode and were intently scanning the surrounding vegetation, with hunger in their eyes (above, below). “It seemed like they were on the lookout for insects that may be hiding amongst the leaves and vines. There also seemed to be some loose association with... Read More

Curlew Sandpiper – feeding behaviour

Curlew Sandpiper - feeding behaviour “Eight to ten Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferrugine) present at this site, solitary or in pairs mixing with other waders. “Actively feeding as can be seen in the video below. “The feeding as been described as ‘probing in an incessant “stitching” motion’ LINK. “The above is a composite of posture changes. “Waders are a hard group for me to ID but fortunately Curlew Sandpipers are one of the easier ones.” Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS Ipoh,... Read More