• 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,...

Pollination of Golden Penda flowers by insects

in Fauna, Plants  on Dec 16, 14 No Comments »
Pollination of Golden Penda flowers by insects A total of six species of birds have been documented visiting the Golden Penda (Xanthostemon chrysanthus) for its nectar LINK. Birds obviously are an important pollinating agent of this tree. In addition to the above, various bees, wasps and ants have been seen among the flowers. This post reports the presence of the Stingless Bee (Trigona sp.) and Fruit Fly (Drosophila melanogaster) visiting the flowers – the former for the pollen and the latter for the nectar. The... Read More

Melastoma malabathricum and buzz pollination

in Fauna, Plants, Videography  on Dec 07, 14 No Comments »
Melastoma malabathricum and buzz pollination Singapore Rhododendron or Sendudok (Melastome malabathricum) is commonly seen throughout the tropics. The plant is fast growing, producing attractive, pinkish mauve flowers with two types of stamens. There are five short stamens with yellow filaments (stalks) and anthers (pollen sacs) and five long stamens. The long stamens consist of two parts – the basal part is straight and yellow and the upper part curved and mauve. There are two short horns at the junction where... Read More

Pollination of Citrus x microcarpa flowers

in Fauna, Plants, Videography  on Nov 24, 14 No Comments »
Pollination of Citrus x microcarpa flowers Citrus x microcarpa is a natural hybrid, commonly known as Calamansi or Calamondin – or limau kesturi in Malay. The plant is grown for its small, round fruits whose juice is used in local cuisine or to make a sour drink. The flowers are white and fragrant. Pollination of the flowers is by Stingless Bees (Trigona sp., family Apidae) and ants. The image above shows the anthers (pollen sacs) of the flower less the other parts. Note that the anthers have yet to pop and... Read More

The day a fruit fell from above…

in Fauna, Plants  on Nov 06, 14 No Comments »
The day a fruit fell from above… One evening at around 19:30 hours, Rosemary Chng was standing outside the gate of her house under a Trumpet tree (Tabebuia sp.). Suddenly she gave a yell when something landed on her head. Her boys were amused as they thought she was ‘delusional’. By then Rosemary was nursing a small ‘buah duku’ on her head. Buah duku is Malay for the Duku (Lansium domesticum), a local fruit that comes in bunches of small round fruits. People usually refer to bumps on the head as... Read More

Bats roosting in my porch: 5. Fruits, nectar and pollen

in Fauna, Feeding-plants, Plants  on Aug 13, 14 No Comments »
Bats roosting in my porch: 5. Fruits, nectar and pollen The Common Fruit Bat (Cynopterus brachyotis) that have been roosting in my porch brought with them fruits or portions of them to eat, littering the floor below with their bits and pieces. They have the habit of carrying the fruits to the roost to eat, although sometimes they also eat from the tree. Remnants of fruits that these bats left include figs (Ficus spp.), chiku (Manilkara zapota) (above), guava (Psidium guajava), date palm (Elaeis guineensis), mango (Mangifera... Read More

The banana plant and its complement of fauna

in Fauna, Plants, Videography  on Aug 06, 14 No Comments »
The banana plant and its complement of fauna On January 2013 Tan Teo Seng gave me a young banana plant (Musa edible cultivar) in a small polybag. It was a tissue culture plant, produced for the banana plantations in Malaysia. I transferred the plant into the soil and within nine months it put out a huge inflorescence that developed into a large bunch of fruits (below left). In June 2014 the oldest of my second-generation plants suddenly sprouted its inflorescence. I did not see it emerging from the top the day... Read More

Common Macaranga (Macaranga bancana) and its ants

in Fauna, Plants  on Jul 17, 14 No Comments »
Common Macaranga (Macaranga bancana) and its ants The Common Mahang (Macaranga bancana) is commonly seen in Singapore’s secondary forest (above). It is easily recognised by the large, three-lobed leaves and the presence of tiny ants that nest inside the hollows of young twigs. Young leaves are reddish purple with prominent glands lining the edge (below). This is one of the most popular trees with birds. Up up to 30 species have been recorded visiting the tree, mainly for the fruits LINK. The plant has developed an... Read More

Pink-necked Green-pigeon and a Ficus species

in Pigeon-Dove, Plants  on May 18, 14 No Comments »
Pink-necked Green-pigeon and a Ficus species It all started when Lena Chow sent in an image of a male Pink-necked Green-pigeon (Treron vernans) feeding on a fig, which has been identified by Yap Von Bing as either a Waringin Fig (Ficus benjamina) or a Ficus nuda which he says looks similar (above). The image was taken at Pasir Ris Park. Lena was sent to photograph the tree (above) as Ficus nuda is relatively unfamiliar and there is no record of its presence in Singapore. With the above image of the tree, it was sent... Read More

A burst of colourful leaves in Singapore’s Garden City

in Plants  on May 06, 14 6 Comments »
 A burst of colourful leaves in Singapore’s Garden City The recent prolonged drought that finally broke soon saw Singapore’s garden city burst into colours as selected trees put forth brightly coloured young leaves. An entire avenue of Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia floribunda ‘Red Leaf’) covered with flushes of vibrant red new leaves instantly attracted attention (above). The mauve flowers will appear eventually, turning white with age. Other examples of using colourful young leaves to add colours to the urban environment... Read More

Animals that visit the durian tree, Durio zibethinus

in Fauna, Plants, Videography  on May 01, 14 No Comments »
Animals that visit the durian tree, Durio zibethinus The durian tree (Durio zibethinus) can grow to a height of 40 m after decades of growth (above). Flowers are in clusters, developing mostly from the large, near horizontal branches (below). They open in the late afternoon and before midnight most of the flower parts are shed. The shed petals are gathered and eaten as a vegetable. Nectarivorous bats, mainly Cave Nectar Bats (Eonycteris spelaea), visit the flowers at night for the nectar and in the process assist in their... Read More