• 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,...

Mutant Javan Myna

in Morphology-Develop.  on Apr 20, 15 3 Comments »
Mutant Javan Myna Bee Choo Strange came across this Javan Myna (Acridotheres javanicus) recently at a bus stop opposite Four Seasons Hotel in Singapore. The myna had a disfigured bill and Bee Choo wondered how it survives and feed. Note: Deformed bills are not a rare phenomenon. We have earlier posted such bills in Javan Myna HERE, Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis) HERE and Oriental Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris) HERE. Birds with such a bill will definitely be at a disadvantage... Read More

Chestnut-breasted Malkoha – back view of a female

in Morphology-Develop.  on Feb 24, 15 2 Comments »
Chestnut-breasted Malkoha  - back view of a female “I was watching a pair of Chestnut-breasted Malkohas (Phaenicophaeus curvirostris singularis) foraging and trying to get flight images, as they glided from tree to tree. My best was a rear view of the female showing plumage in full sunlight.” Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia 17th February 2015 Location: Kledang-Sayong Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia Habitat: A trail through primary jungle adjacent to a rushing... Read More

Pintail Snipe’s tongue and bill

in Morphology-Develop.  on Feb 16, 15 No Comments »
Pintail Snipe’s tongue and bill Chan Yoke Meng’s image of a Pintail Snipe (Gallinago stenura) with its bill apart (below) provides a rare opportunity to view two uncommon features – part of the bird’s hyoid apparatus and rhynchokinesis. According to field ornithologist Wang Luan Keng in an earlier post HERE: “Bird tongues are usually not muscular structures but operate by means of a bony extension that points backwards. This bony extension is referred to as the hyoid apparatus.” In the... Read More

Olive-backed Sunbird – extra metallic plumage

Olive-backed Sunbird – extra metallic plumage “A very friendly male Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis flammaxillaris) with the lovely chestnut-red band across the lower breast. It was in full sun which aided a clear observation of the metallic plumage. “What was curious is the extra metallic plumage just behind the eye. This was symmetrical on both sides (above). Not seen this before. Any opinions on this valued. “The bird seem to make sure I had my fill of images and gave many different postures showing... Read More

Rhynchokinesis – photo documentation of gradual change in the upper mandible shape

Rhynchokinesis – photo documentation of gradual change in the upper mandible shape Our introduction to rhynchokinesis was based on the feeding behaviour of the Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago) that was sent in by Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS LINK 1 and LINK 2. This phenomenon is the ability of many long-billed shorebirds to open the tip of a long bill, so as to be able to feed in mud, silt or soil (Erritzoe et al., 2007). Our call to birdwatchers to document this little known phenomenon as seen HERE attracted the attention of Howard Stockdale from... Read More

Drongo Cuckoo

in Morphology-Develop.  on Jan 02, 15 2 Comments »
Drongo Cuckoo “The *Drongo Cuckoo (Surniculus lugubris) aka Square-tailed Drongo-cuckoo, is an uncommon resident as well as passage migrant in Singapore. “This cuckoo has an overall black glossy plumage. Although dark, the plumage reflects light and this makes it appear glaring at times when the sun shines on it. “Depending on the angle of view, the plumage may appear with a blueish, greenish or even brownish sheen (above). Contrasting with its black plumage, white barred... Read More

Crimson Sunbird – juveniles assuming adult male plumage

Crimson Sunbird – juveniles assuming adult male plumage “A presumed family group of Crimson Sunbird (Aethopyga siparaja trangensis-siparaja) was feeding on the nectar of these Hibiscus flowers. Two juveniles assuming adult male plumage, one adult male and an adult female. “I focused on the juveniles assuming adult male plumage. Much of the adult metallic plumage development in the throat and breast.Below is a limited image but shows that the metallic violet of the tail develops fairly early. Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh... Read More

White-rumped Munia – a closer look and calls

White-rumped Munia – a closer look and calls “Closer views of the White-rumped Munia (Lonchura striata subsquamicollis) (above). “The lower bluish-white lower mandible in contrast to the upper horn black mandible (above, below). Also the red-brown iris. “The white back that shows up as a white rump (below). “The under surface of the tail and vent (below). “An audio recording of the calls described as “pirrit” or “prrrit” (see Wells 2007). Calls are quite soft and the recording has... Read More

Less common views of the Long-tailed Shrike

in Morphology-Develop.  on Dec 14, 14 No Comments »
Less common views of the Long-tailed Shrike On the morning of 27th November 2014 Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS came across a Long-tailed Shrike (Lanius schach bentet) in a grassy area near a housing estate in Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia (above, below). The previous night was raining and this shrike ended up thoroughly wet. As it took advantage of the morning sun to dry its plumage and preen, it exposed views of the bird that were not commonly seen by birders. The images above and below show evidence that its tail feathers... Read More

A close look at the Spectacled Spiderhunter

in Morphology-Develop.  on Dec 10, 14 No Comments »
A close look at the Spectacled Spiderhunter “An inexplicable encounter, where this Spectacled Spiderhunter (Arachnothera flavigaster) allowed very close observations. “The above is a close up the face and shows the black eyelid-rims, dark brown iris and reddish base of lower mandible (Wells 2007). Note the broad and uniform eye ring, said to be “primrose-yellow” (Wells 2007). Note the continuation of the mouth margin with a raised, but separate section of the eye ring. Close-up and in bright light the yellow... Read More