• 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,...

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 5 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

Trees for Birds: 2. Macaranga bancana (Common Mahang)

in Feeding-plants, Plants  on Apr 24, 14 7 Comments »
Trees for Birds: 2. Macaranga bancana (Common Mahang) One of the most spectacular bird-tree in Singapore is Waringin or Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina) LINK. A total of 42 species of birds had been documented visiting the tree to take the figs, the insects attracted to the figs or for any other reasons. Another great bird-tree is the Common Mahang (Macaranga bancana) (above). The tree is commonly seen in our secondary forests and seldom, if ever, planted outside the forest. When news of its attractiveness to birds was publicised... Read More

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