• 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,...

Animals attracted to the Banana inflorescence

in Fauna, Plants, Videography  on Feb 22, 15 No Comments »
Animals attracted to the Banana inflorescence The image above shows two banana plants (Musa ‘Cavindish’), each with a fully developed inflorescence branch. The upper portion bears developing fruits from female flowers. The plant in the foreground has a length of bare branch below the fruit bunches. This portion bore male flowers that subsequently fall off. At the bottom of the branch is a compact, teardrop-shaped inflorescence bud that will continue to give rise to male flowers – see HERE for details... Read More

Plantain Squirrel eats Aristolochia acuminata fruit

in Fauna, Plants  on Feb 14, 15 3 Comments »
Plantain Squirrel eats Aristolochia acuminata fruit One morning in early December 2014, I was attracted to the loud cries of a pair of Plantain Squirrels, also known as Common Red-bellied Squirrel (Callosciurus notatus singapurensis). The squirrels were in different trees about 10 metres or more from each other. Whether they were mating or territorial cries, I do not know. But the cries went on for quite a few minutes. One of the squirrels was at the top of my Noni tree (Morinda citrifolia). Initially I thought it was eating... Read More

A closer look at Cave Nectar Bats visiting banana flowers

in Fauna, Plants, Videography  on Feb 07, 15 No Comments »
A closer look at Cave Nectar Bats visiting banana flowers Two earlier posts documented the visits by Cave Nectar Bats (Eonycteris spelaea) to banana flowers (Musa cultivars) for their nectar LINK 1 and LINK 2. The bat usually circles around the plant before landing on the flowers. It uses its sharp claw at the end of each thumb to cling onto the inflorescence bud. It then proceeds to probe into the flowers (above). This involves pushing its narrow snout between the two perianths (the larger upper and the smaller lower to get at... Read More

Bats and the two banana plants that were flowering: Part 2

in Fauna, Feeding-plants, Plants  on Jan 27, 15 No Comments »
Bats and the two banana plants that were flowering: Part 2 An early post showed that Cave Nectar Bats (Eonycteris spelaea) prefer male banana flowers that were found at the lower end of the inflorescence branch than the female flowers found at the upper portion LINK. Less than a week later, the older banana plant (Musa ‘Cavendish”) had begun putting forth only male flowering hands (above). The younger plant bearing the newly inflorescence branch had by then gone through a few hands of female flowers (below). Observations were... Read More

Octopus Stinkhorn fungus

in Plants, Videography  on Jan 26, 15 No Comments »
Octopus Stinkhorn fungus “The Octopus Stinkhorn Fungus a.k.a. Devil’s claws and Witches’ claws (Anthurus archeri formerly Clathrus archeri) is endemic to Australia and New Zealand. It has however spread to Europe and America since the first World War, possibly due to the spores riding on artillery machinery and grass bales for horse feeds. “We came across this population of stinkhorns when we thought that we were taking a closer look at some fallen flowers. On approaching... Read More

Bats and the two banana plants that were flowering: Part 1

in Fauna, Plants  on Jan 24, 15 4 Comments »
Bats and the two banana plants that were flowering: Part 1 Two of my banana plants (Musa ‘Cavendish’) were flowering on 2nd January 2015 (above). The inflorescence of the older plant had finished putting forth female flowers that were then developing into fruits. The inflorescence was in the process of exposing its first bunch of male flowers found towards the end, just above the inflorescence bud where only male flowers were left. This male bud would continue to produce male flowers for the next few weeks (below). The younger... Read More

The banana (Musa ‘Cavendish’) inflorescence

in Plants  on Jan 18, 15 No Comments »
The  banana (Musa 'Cavendish') inflorescence The banana (Musa ‘Cavindish’) inflorescence is a huge structure that emerges from the top of the plant. It then bends down to expose the large, compact, teardrop-shaped inflorescence bud (above). This bud is made up of spirally arranged, large, reddish bracts under which are double rows of flowers. Initially, each bract will roll backwards to expose the female flowers with prominent green ovary and abortive stamens. The images above show the female flowering... Read More

Cave Nectar Bats visiting flowers of Musa ‘Cavendish’

in Fauna, Plants, Videography  on Jan 12, 15 No Comments »
Cave Nectar Bats visiting flowers of Musa ‘Cavendish’ An earlier post caught the Cave Nectar Bats (Eonycteris spelaea) visiting flowers of the banana plant (Musa ‘Raja’) at the stage when the inflorescence was putting forth male flowers LINK This post documents the Cave Nectar Bat visiting the flowers of Musa ‘Cavendish’ during the nights of 28-29th December 2014. The above video clip shows the inflorescence exposing its last hand of female flowers. Above this hand are the earlier hands of female flowers, now... Read More

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