• 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,...

Pellets from Tuas: 9. Black-shouldered Kite removing entrails from mice

Pellets from Tuas: 9. Black-shouldered Kite removing entrails from mice The series of images in this post show the adult Black-shouldered Kites (Elanus caeruleus) removing the entrails from decapitated mice and dumping the parts on to the ground. This was done before they started eating the mice or even flying them off to the nest to feed the chicks. We never saw any adults eating the entrails or even the head. The evidence from the many pellets found scattered on the ground below and around the nesting tree showed no intact skull except... Read More

Pellets from Tuas: 8. Black-shouldered Kite feeding chicks

Pellets from Tuas: 8. Black-shouldered Kite feeding chicks The ground below the nest of the Black-shouldered Kites (Elanus caeruleus) is often littered with carcases of mice and numerous pellets. The image above shows a headless mice found below the nest. An intact mouse was also found below the nest (below) We believe they fell from the nest when brought in by an adult. We had observed that within minutes on the ground the dead mice would be covered with ants. Thus returning it to the nest would introduce ants and pathogens.... Read More

Black-shouldered Kite eats a Javan Myna

Black-shouldered Kite eats a Javan Myna Field ornithologist Wang Luan Keng came across a the Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus caeruleus) tearing a dead Javan Myna (Acridotheres javanicus) apart on a high perch recently, as shown in the video clip above. On the ground below were remnants of earlier meals – feathers and parched bones of a Javan Myna (above) as well as a few pellets (below). The pellets were collected and the bone fragments extracted (below: numbers correspond to those of pellets; scale in mm).... Read More

Pellets from Tuas: 7. Black-shouldered Kite hunting mice

Pellets from Tuas: 7. Black-shouldered Kite hunting mice Mice appear to be the major diet of the pair of Black-shouldered Kites (Elanus caeruleus) nesting in Tuas. The adult kites were regularly seen hunting mice from their favourite perch. From a high point a kite would patiently wait until a prey was spotted. It then dived down to disappear into the undergrowth for a short time. It would then appear, flying back to its original perch or to the nest. This was done in the early morning or at dusk. As with raptors, the prey was... Read More

Pellets from Tuas: 6. Nesting of Black-shouldered Kites

in Nesting, Raptors  on Mar 25, 15 No Comments »
Pellets from Tuas: 6. Nesting of Black-shouldered Kites The nest of the Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus caeruleus) is loosely constructed of twigs placed around the forks of branches high up in the tree. The first chick was seen in the nest on 17th January 2015, the day observations started. Based on this and the reported incubation period of 30-33 days, the egg was most probably laid sometime in mid-December 2014. The second chick was seen the next day (above), the third three days later (below)… …and the fourth chick four... Read More

Birds bathing in the rain

Birds bathing in the rain Normally when it rains birds take shelter, usually under the foliage LINK. However, Singapore recently experienced a period of drought. So when there were light showers during this period, birds took advantage of the rain to have a bath. Recently field ornithologist Wang Luan Keng was pleasantly delighted when she encountered birds perching in the open to enjoy the rain. There were a few Blue-tailed Bee-eaters (Merops philippinus) crouching low on the exposed ends of... Read More

Pellets from Tuas: 5. Black-shouldered Kites and House Crows

in Crows, Interspecific, Raptors  on Mar 18, 15 No Comments »
Pellets from Tuas: 5. Black-shouldered Kites and House Crows The pair of Black-shouldered Kites (Elanus caeruleus) nesting in Tuas was regularly harassed by the pair of House Crows (Corvus splendens) nesting a little down the road. The crows were obviously after the kites’ eggs and chicks. The presence of plentiful mice around the area kept the adults close to the nest. This meant that the adults could keep close watch on the marauding crows. To date, all four chicks were alive and well. One one occasion, an adult kite was... Read More

Crested Goshawk feasting on a Common Palm Civet

Crested Goshawk feasting on a Common Palm Civet The series of images by GaoJian LiuJia of a Crested Goshawk (Accipiter trivirgatus) and its prey was photographed at Paisr Ris Park in early March 2015 at about noon. Discussions on the identity of the prey centered around civet cat or possible squirrel. Jeremiah Loei took the initiative to contact BESG. The images were then sent to civet researchers Xu Weiting and Fung Tze Kwan from the National University of Singapore’s Department of Biological Sciences. Weiting... Read More

Pellets from Tuas: 4. Analysis of 14 pellets

Pellets from Tuas: 4. Analysis of 14 pellets Melinda Chan made extensive collections of pellets from a tree-lined avenue in Tuas in January 2015. All pellets were covered with short grey hairs, most probably those of mice. One of these was larger than the rest, from which a near-complete skeleton of a mouse was extracted LINK. This was the only pellet that had an intact skull, all others had bone fragments and numerous loose teeth but no skull. This large pellet was thought to have come from a Barn Owl (Tyto alba).... Read More

Pellets from Tuas: 3. It’s a mouse!

in Owls, Pellets, Raptors  on Feb 27, 15 No Comments »
Pellets from Tuas: 3. It's a mouse! Of the pellets collected from an avenue at Tuas earlier by Melinda Chan LINK, one was prominently larger than the others (70x40mm) (above). It was also darker and more compact. Preparation of the pellet for harvesting of bone fragments followed the earlier protocol LINK. The number of bone fragments collected totaled 86. These included a skull, lower jaws, dislocated skull bones, ear capsules, shoulder blade, long bones, ribs, vertebrae, foot bones, toes, claws, etc.... Read More