• 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,...

Brown-throated Sunbird enjoys a leaf bath

“Here is one video which I have taken of a Brown-throated Sunbird (Anthreptes malacensis) enjoying a leaf bath shortly after I have watered the plants in my garden on 22nd Feb 2015, right in the midst of a prolonged dry spell. “The bird was soaking itself with water retained on the leaves of Money Plant (Epipremnum aureum Cultivar: Golden Queen), Philodendron ‘Golden Emarald’ and Bird’s Nest Fern (Asplenium nidus) before flying away to preen... Read More

Pygmy Wren-babbler – nest building

in Nesting, Videography  on Apr 24, 15 No Comments »
Pygmy Wren-babbler – nest building “Disclosure: I was privileged to watch a pair of Pygmy Wren-babblers (Pnoepyga pusilla) nest building. I watched them on three separate periods over 3 hours, for a total period of observation of 40 minutes. I broke up the observation to give them a break from my presence, although they seem to adjust to my being there. I used only handheld photography or videography, with no flash and positioned myself about 7-8 meters from the nest. “I came across them on a lonely... Read More

Plantain Squirrel’s call

Plantain squirrel, also known as Common red-bellied squirrel (Callosciurus notatus singapurensis) is commonly seen in urban gardens (above). I have a pair in my garden LINK and regularly hear their characteristic call. On this particular morning I again heard its characteristic call – sounding like short bursts of machine gun fire. I located the squirrel resting on a horizontal branch of the nearby roadside Golden Penda (Xanthostemon chrysanthus) tree. Each round of... Read More

Painted Jezebel: 3. Pre-pupation behaviour

Painted Jezebel: 3. Pre-pupation behaviour Painted Jezebel (Delias hyparete metarete) caterpillars feed close together on leaves of their food plant for about 20 days (above). During this period they undergo five instars to grow to about 35mm x 4mm. The caterpillars then prepare to pupate. In an effort to observe the caterpillars and the subsequent pupae, the branches of the Malayan Mistletoe (Dendrophthoe pentandra) where the caterpillars were located were cut and placed in a vase of water (above). There, the... Read More


VARIEGATED GREEN SKIMMER FEEDING “The Variegated Green Skimmer (Orthetrum sabina, family Libellulidae) is a widespread species of dragonfly that would be readily encountered in most ponds and small lakes around Singapore (above). It has a notorious reputation of catching and consuming other species of dragonflies, as well as damselflies. “Please refer to this LINK for an earlier account on its predation. “In late 2014, I was able to witness the voracious appetite of this aerial predator... Read More

Red-whiskered Bulbul: 1. Nest building

Red-whiskered Bulbul: 1. Nest building For more than a few months a pair of Red-whiskered Bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus) was seen in and around my garden (above). Their loud and melodious songs cannot help but attract attention to their presence. In March 2015 I began to notice the pair loitering around my Belimbing (Averrhoa belimbi) tree, sometimes hiding among the clusters of leaves at the ends of a pair of closely growing stems. On closer examination I noticed the beginning of a crude nest lodged between the... Read More

Fire-breasted (Buff-bellied) Flowerpecker eating fruits

Fire-breasted (Buff-bellied) Flowerpecker eating fruits “Saw four of these delightful Fire-breasted (Buff-bellied) Flowerpecker (Dicaeum ignipectus dolichorhynchum) feeding on one of their favourite and regular foods. “They pierce the fruit with the upper mandible until a hole is created. They then suck out the juice and pulp to feed on. The contents are very sticky and leave long trails. “Over the years I have watched this activity, it often it appears that the juice is the primary focus. “A short hand held video... Read More

Painted Jezebel caterpillars grazing on Malayan Mistletoe leaves

Painted Jezebel caterpillars grazing on Malayan Mistletoe leaves The Painted Jezebel (Delias hyparete metarete) is an attractive common butterfly (above). Its host plant is the Malayan Mistletoe (Dendrophthoe pentandra) (below). This semi-parasitic plant grows on the branches of many other plants. The butterfly lays a clutch of tiny eggs on the undersurface of the leaves (below). Once the eggs hatch, the tiny caterpillars start feeding on the leaf that the eggs were laid. Generally the eggs hatch more or less together such that all... 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


WHITE-CRESTED LAUGHINGTHRUSH – ANTING “On the morning of 12th November 2014, I was taking a stroll along forest edge when I encountered a small flock of White-crested Laughingthrushes (Garrulax leucolophus). Some were approaching the base of a lamp post and expressed interest in an aggregation of Weaver Ants (Oecophylla smaragdina) on the grass and concrete (above). “Then without much hesitation, the birds picked up the ants one at a time and applied them onto their feathers repeatedly (images 2 &... Read More