• 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,...

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

White-bellied Sea-eagle: Grey Heron interaction

White-bellied Sea-eagle: Grey Heron interaction “This scene was played out yesterday afternoon at about 1530 hrs (above). This juvenile White-bellied Sea-eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) perched itself on the crown of the mangrove tree, scanning the area for potential prey. It is about 40m from the bridge across Sungei Tempines where the current Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) heronry is, spanning both banks of the river. “Ten minutes later, the sea-eagle decided to take it’s chance on the nestling just a... Read More

Little Heron and its uropygial or preen glands

Little Heron and its uropygial or preen glands The image above by Johnny Wee shows the Little Heron (Butorides striatus) exposing its pair of preen glands located on its rump at the base of the tail. These glands, also known as uropygial glands, exude a viscous liquid of fatty acids, waxes and fats. They are found in most birds except Ostrich (Struthio camelus), emus, crassowaries and some pigeons, parrots and woodpeckers. This is a rare image where the glands are totally exposed. Usually when a bird is preening, it... Read More

Adult Little Heron attacking juvenile

Adult Little Heron attacking juvenile At about 0915 hours on 31st August 2013, Mendis Tan documented an adult Little Heron (Butorides striatus) attacking a juvenile at a canal in Hougang Avenue 7, Singapore. In the beginning of the video clip, the adult had its mandibles clamped on the head of the juvenile and trying, without success, to pull it out of the water (top) – or so it appears. It subsequently repeatedly pecked at the head as well as trying to pull the juvenile up, again with success.... Read More

Purple Heron’s Catch

Purple Heron's Catch “I encountered the Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea) regularly at the Bishan Ang Mo Kio Park. Usually it was just after sunset during the wintering seasons. Most of the time only one was seen, either at tree-tops or near the water edge patiently waiting for prey. On one occasion two were seen near to each other. “For the first time on 9th July 2013, at about 7.20 pm (just past the sunset time of 7.16 pm), I had the fortune of witnessing a complete episode of the... Read More

Little Heron Nest

Little Heron Nest “Discovered by chance an active Little (Striated) Heron (Butorides striata) nest (below). “I had the impression that herons and Little Egrets (Egretta garzetta) encountered in Bishan Ang Mo Kio Park were winter visitors. In view of the recent request for volunteers from Luan Keng on behalf of Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve to take part in the heron survey, I decided to pay more attention to see if I could sight herons at this time of the year, even as I was unable... Read More