• 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,...

Flowering of Pigeon Orchids (Dendrobium crumenatum)

in Fauna, Plants  on Mar 26, 14 No Comments »
Flowering of Pigeon Orchids (Dendrobium crumenatum) I was in my garden on the morning of 25th March 2014 when I detected a peculiar smell in the air. The smell was familiar, yet unfamiliar. It was a little pungent and overpowering, as if something was burning. For a moment I thought it came from the nearby road where for the past six months and more, workers were busy constructing anti-ponding works – digging the road and drains… Then suddenly my attention was drawn to the bunch of Pigeon Orchids (Dendrobium crumenatum)... Read More

Trees for Birds: 1. Ficus benjamina (Waringin, Weeping Fig)

in Feeding-plants, Plants  on Feb 21, 14 No Comments »
Trees for Birds: 1. Ficus benjamina (Waringin, Weeping Fig) Ficus benjamina, commonly known as Waringin or Weeping Fig, is a tree that attracts large number of birds whenever it produces figs (above, tree on right). Scientifically known as syconium, the fig is the enlargement of a stem tip that becomes hollow and fleshy. Within this cavity are the tiny flowers – male, female and gall-flowers (which are sterile female flowers). The pollination of the flowers is undertaken by tiny fig wasps. A developing fig attracts female... Read More

Flowers of Costus woodsonii or Scarlet Spiral Flag

in Fauna, Feeding-plants, Plants  on Feb 04, 14 No Comments »
Flowers of Costus woodsonii or Scarlet Spiral Flag The two recent posts of Costus spicatus (Indian Head Ginger) showing an interesting feeding behaviour of the Brown-throated Sunbird (Anthreptes malacensis) led me to take a closer look at the plant and its flowering biology LINK 1 and LINK 2. As a result of the above, it was found that the plant had been mis-identified in the above two posts and possibly others as well. The proper name of this common ginger plant should be Costus woodsonii (Scarlet Spiral Flag) (above).... Read More

Strangling figs and their host trees

in Plants  on Jan 17, 14 8 Comments »
Strangling figs and their host trees Fig trees (Ficus spp.) are popular bird trees. Whenever the tree is figging, hordes of birds as well as monkeys and squirrels will flock there to feast on the succulent figs. One of the most documented fig species is F. benjamina, also known as Waringin or Weeping Fig LINK. F. benjamina is an invasive species. Its roots can cause damage to nearby drains, walls, houses, etc. Because of this its presence is discouraged along roadsides and grown only in large gardens and... Read More

Carpenter Bees visiting flowers of Melastoma malabathricum

Carpenter Bees visiting flowers of Melastoma malabathricum Sun Chong Hong ‘s edited video below was recorded on 17th November 2013 in slow motion. It shows two carpenter bees taking nectar and pollen from flowers of Singapore Rhododendron or Sendudok (Melastoma malabathricum). “If I am not mistaken, the first bee is a female Xylocopa confusa and the second is a female X. latipes,” wrote Chong Hong. “The dubbed sound track has the beautiful songs of a Oriental Magpie Robin (Copsychus saularis).” Carpenter Bees are large... Read More

Black-naped Oriole eats Gnetum gnemon “fruit”

in Feeding-plants, Plants  on Sep 21, 13 No Comments »
Black-naped Oriole eats Gnetum gnemon “fruit" Samson Tan documented a Black-naped Oriole (Oriolus chinensis) eating the “fruit” of the gymnosperm Gnetum gnemon LINK (above, below). “One of my favourite snack is belinjau chips, I like it best to go with sambal chili (chili with prawn paste). Belinjau or some called it belinjo is from the tree Gnetum gnemon. Some birds like it too, such as Black Naped Oriole,” wrote Samson. He noted that the oriole handled the fruit the same way it handles insect prey,... Read More

Save MacRitchie Forest: 15. Stinkhorn fungus and butterflies

in Conservation, Fauna, Habitat, Plants  on Jul 31, 13 1 Comment »
Save MacRitchie Forest: 15. Stinkhorn fungus and butterflies Appeal to Singapore’s Land Transport Authority to re-route the proposed cross-island MRT line away from the MacRitchie forest – sign the petition HERE. One of the most beautiful mushroom one can encounter in the MacRitchie forest is the fruiting body of the Basket Stinkhorn (Dictyophora indusiata) (above). The stout stalk ends in a bulbous head. And hanging from the lower edge of this head is a net-like white veil or skirt that flares out to reach the ground. A... Read More

Save MacRitchie Forest: 12. Mushrooms

in Conservation, Plants  on Jul 11, 13 No Comments »
Save MacRitchie Forest: 12. Mushrooms Appeal to Singapore’s Land Transport Authority to re-route the proposed cross-island MRT line away from the MacRitchie forest – sign the petition HERE. Mushrooms can be every bit as beautiful as butterflies, birds, frogs or even flowers. They have their very own beauty that come in many shapes and colours. In the MacRitchie forest, especially during the wet periods, they sprout out of rotting logs, tree trunks and even the leaves that litter the forest floor.... Read More

Save MacRitchie Forest: 10. Plants

in Conservation, Habitat, Plants  on Jun 29, 13 No Comments »
Save MacRitchie Forest: 10. Plants Appeal to Singapore’s Land Transport Authority to re-route the proposed cross-island MRT line away from the MacRitchie forest – sign the petition HERE. The image above shows the MacRitchie forest in all its glory (image by Wang Luan Keng courtesy of the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research’s Digital Nature Archive). This is a patch of relic primary forest showing the forest giants that make up the canopy species. Many of these tall trees are from the... Read More

Plant-Bird relationship: 15. Miscellaneous herbs and their families

Plant-Bird relationship: 15. Miscellaneous herbs and their families The earlier series: 1. Need for a Catalogue LINK; 2. Moraceae LINK; 3. Euphorbiaceae LINK; 4. Poaceae LINK; 5. Fabaceae LINK; 6. Palmae LINK; 7. Loranthaceae LINK; 8. Meliaceae LINK; 9. Myrtaceae LINK; 10. Anacardiaceae, Annonaceae and Apocynaceae LINK; 11. Non-flowering plants LINK; 12. Agavaceae, Amaranthaceae, Araceae, Araliaceae and Avicenniaceae LINK; 13. Bignoniaceae, Bombacaceae Bromeliaceae,... Read More