• 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,...

Crested Partridge – social behaviour

in Miscellaneous  on Oct 29, 14 No Comments »
Crested Partridge – social behaviour  “I met 7-8 Crested Partridges (Rollulus rouloul) today. I had walked in 2 km on a less used trail along primary jungle. I was watching some migratory flycatchers feed on fruit for quite some time and when I turned around, about 1.5-2 meters behind me, were 7-8 of these delightful partridges. There were 2 males, at least one immature and the rest appeared to be females or immature. “They were located behind a screen of foliage and ran about fast chuckling like hens.... Read More

White-throated Kingfisher – trapped

White-throated Kingfisher - trapped “We were out cycling and we came across this White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis) trapped by barbed wire near our home. Two quick images and then we attempted to rescue it. Our close presence was sufficient to motivate the bird to break free and join its mate that was waiting nearby. They were nesting. Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia 30th August 2014 Location: Canning Garden Home, Ipoh City, Perak, Malaysia Habitat: Urban... Read More

Banded Woodpecker – male territorial conflict and calls

Banded Woodpecker – male territorial conflict and calls “I was on the way out when I heard these unusual, mournful calls. Found these two male Banded Woodpecker (Picus miniaceus malaccense) involved in a territorial conflict (above). I did not see any female nearby. The image below is a composite of the same bird in call and at rest. “They were so intent on each other that I was ignored, even at 4-5 meters distance. Much of the time they stood their ‘ground’, with a face off. Intermittently they would burst out in a in... Read More

Call Playback, Mealworm Use, Flash Photography, Mist Netting & the Like: What Lengths to get The Shot?

in Miscellaneous  on Sep 26, 14 11 Comments »
Call Playback, Mealworm Use, Flash Photography, Mist Netting & the Like:  What Lengths to get The Shot? Introduction “The recent media coverage of bird photographers (reluctant to call them bird watchers) tying up a tern chick for better images has prompted me to open a discussion on all our activities relating to birds LINK. This kind of behaviour is not peculiar to any one community or country and bird photographers/watchers have attained an unpleasant paparazzi-like reputation LINK. Others may justify less ‘intrusive’ behaviour like feeding birds or call playback... Read More

A dead chick in the garden…

in Miscellaneous  on Aug 31, 14 No Comments »
A dead chick in the garden… In late May, I found a dead chick lying on the ground in my garden (above). Only a few ants were around to feed on the chick. How it got there is a puzzle. It was definitely not pushed out of the nest, as all the trees were some distance away. A predator could have dumped it there. But then the dead chick was intact, no parts missing. So what was the intention of the predator, if not to feed on it? I have not been able to identify the dead chick. I have images of a two-day... Read More

Grey Crowned Crane courtship dance

Grey Crowned Crane courtship dance “A pair of African Grey Crowned Cranes (Balearica regulorum), believed to have been released from a pet farm in the Seletar area a year or two ago, has been attracting attention from birders and non-birders alike for some time now, since these big magnificent birds were first spotted at open fields near Seletar airbase. “Since the beginning of this year, they have been appearing regularly at the golf course at Seletar Country Club, and I managed to capture one of them... Read More

River Lapwing crouching when threatened

in Miscellaneous  on Jun 07, 14 No Comments »
River Lapwing crouching when threatened Frank Chiew’s images of a River Lapwing (Vanellus duvaucelii) were photographed in Paro, Bhutan in May 2014. The image above shows the bird standing upright on a large stone in a river. With its pair of long legs, this posture makes it conspicuous. The image below shows it “kneeling”, making itself less visible as it felt threatened. At the same time this kneeling posture gives it an advantage should it need to suddenly spring up and fly off. Generally, plovers react... Read More

Swiftlet breeding in Malaysia

Swiftlet breeding in Malaysia “Swiflet Breeding has grown out of control locally in recent years. The growth of the ‘industry’ in my city and region (Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia) has been phenomenal. They are scattered all over the city, in the heart of the city, in shops near residential areas; any abandoned building will do. These buildings are called ‘Swiftlet Hotels’ (or house-farm buildings, see Lord Cranbrook LINK and LINK). “When I was in Borneo recently (Kuching) I even saw purpose built... Read More

Oriental Pied Hornbill sighted in Sin Ming Avenue, Singapore

in Miscellaneous  on May 13, 14 1 Comment »
Oriental Pied Hornbill sighted in Sin Ming Avenue, Singapore “Saw a pair of big, low flying birds that ended their flights on top of a street lamp post along Sin Ming Ave at about 8.30 am yesterday (above). “They were about 100m away. Before I could get nearer, they had already left. Later on, while I was away from home, one (presumably one of the pair sighted) appeared outside my bedroom at about 10 am (above, photo taken by my son). “Residents around this area should expect to see this pair once in a... Read More

Chinese Pond-heron – odd behaviour

in Miscellaneous  on Apr 26, 14 No Comments »
Chinese Pond-heron – odd behaviour “There were many Chinese Pond-herons (Ardeola bacchus) at this site in non-breeding plumage. This particular bird’s behaviour was puzzling. It picked up and held a torn rag. I watched for 20 minutes and it was largely motionless. When I approached it raise its hackles, almost as if to say ‘this rag is mine, go fine your own’. “I considered a number of possibilities for the odd behaviour: 1. The rag was somehow embedded (stuck) in the beak – however I had seen... Read More