• 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,...

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

Little Egrets fishing

Little Egrets fishing “I become quite used to seeing this mechanism of getting fish that is applied by many of the egrets and herons. A flock of 25-30 Little Egrets (Egretta garzetta garzetta) were hovering or skimming over the surface of a fish farm pond, with legs training in the water (above). “The majority was in breeding plumage with nice plumes (above). “Many were successful in diving in to obtain prey (above, below). “Other herons were also involved. One day the farmers might... Read More

Black Bittern’s neck fully stretched

Black Bittern's neck fully stretched “Further to the video of the Von Schrenck’s Bittern (Ixobrychus eurhythmus) LINK displaying the extension of the ‘telescopic’ neck, I had the opportunity to witness the full extension of the neck of the Black Bittern (Ixobrychus flavicollis) at Pulau Ubin (below). “In my previous encounter with the Black Bittern, it showed other interesting behaviour, but kept the neck extension at bay while searching for quarry LINK. Lena Chow Singapore 3rd May... Read More

Von Schrenck’s Bittern

Von Schrenck's Bittern “The Von Schrenck’s Bittern (Ixobrychus eurhythmus) is a rare migrant which is generally hard to spot as it is a shy and small bittern which typically lurks behind vegetation near a stream. “It was loud screeching that betrayed the presence of this female Von Schrenck’s Bittern, as she was chasing off a female Cinnamon Bittern (I. cinnamomeus) in her patch of the mangroves, where I had observed her before behind dense vegetation. I could not get a clear... Read More

GREY HERONS FISHING – AMATEUR VS PROFESSIONAL

GREY HERONS FISHING – AMATEUR VS PROFESSIONAL “On 26th March 2014, I was admiring the diversity and behaviour of shorebirds along a mudflat in Singapore. These avifauna included Whimbrels (Numenius phaeopus), Little Egrets (Egretta garzetta) and Grey Herons (Ardea cinerea), all anticipating the retreat of the tide (above). “A few juvenile Grey Herons were wading aimlessly and sheepishly along the shallow waters and one was repeatedly striking at a propagule of a mangrove tree (Rhizophora sp.) (above). It... Read More

Head Plumes of the Javan Pond-heron

Head Plumes of the Javan Pond-heron “This season, at least two Javan Pond-herons (Ardeola speciosa) were spotted at the usual place at Lorong Halus. The Javan Pond-heron can only be positively identified when it assume its breeding plumage (below). Noted that these birds were assuming breeding plumage at different times with one seen assuming breeding plumage as early as end January. “At beginning of March, one of the birds had developed short white-coloured head plumes. These head plumes were not seen... Read More

Von Schrenck’s Bittern confronts a mudskipper

Von Schrenck’s Bittern confronts a mudskipper The Von Schrenck’s Bittern (Ixobrychus eurhythmus) is an uncommon winter visitor to Singapore, arriving from October to December. Some birds that are passage migrants continue to fly south after refueling, to return around March. These join up with the winter visitors to fly back north to their breeding grounds in SE Siberia, Manchuria, China and Japan. The video above by Jeremiah Loei was recorded at the Pasir Ris mangrove at around 1830 hours when it was rather... Read More

Cattle Egret – rat prey

Cattle Egret - rat prey “With the padi fields being cut or ploughed, egrets, herons, raptors, swifts, swallows and others had turned up in large numbers to feed on rodents or insects. I understand from the farmers that rats in the fields are poisoned and one farmer said this could account for the reduction of raptors they have noticed. I am uncertain of the nature of the poison and if it can affect the raptors and other birds feeding on the rats. “This particular Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis... Read More

Little Egrets in combat

Little Egrets in combat “In September 2012, during the beginning of the migratory season last year, I was fortunate to witness territorial fights between some Common Sandpipers (Actitis hypoleucos). This year, in mid October, I was fortunate to have another encounter. This time, it was two Little Egrets in combat. “It all started with an unusual sighting of an Eastern Cattle Egret (Bubulcus coromandus). Unusual – because the Cattle Egret was in water in a small river. A Little... Read More

Sex and the birds: 5. Rape

in Heron-Egret-Bittern, Sex  on Nov 12, 13 7 Comments »
Sex and the birds: 5. Rape When female birds are unwilling partners in mating, the male may indulge in an avian form of rape. It is common among supposedly monogamous Wood Ducks (Aix sponsa) and Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) (Tudge, 2008). The former have been known to practice “gang rape” where as many as 50-75 males try to mate with a single female. The Mallards are just as bad, sometimes causing the female to drown when attacked in the water (above, male; below, female). It has been reported... Read More