• 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,...

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

Tui singing

Tui singing “The Tui (Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae) are honey-eaters (Family Meliphagidae) with a beautiful lacy collar made of white feathers. Two white feathers on the throat set off well against a black body that is iridescent when viewed from different angles. “The clips show two different tui birds, one from Auckland and the other from Wellington, singing their regional versions. They are good imitators and possess a wide repertoire of sounds. Individual birds from the... Read More

Purple-backed Starling feasting on salam fruits

“When the Salam tree (Syzygium polyanthum) bears fruits, mixed flocks of frugivorous birds like Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis), mynahs, bulbuls and Asian Glossy Starling (Aplonis panayensis) gorge themselves and create a din for a whole week. “In October 2014, a small flock of about 40 migrant Purple-backed Starling, also known as Daurian Starling (Sturnus sturninus), appeared and joined in the feast. “We managed to obtain a few clips of hungry birds... 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

Bats in my porch: 23. A juvenile fell from the roost

in Fauna, Videography  on Jan 09, 15 4 Comments »
Bats in my porch: 23. A juvenile fell from the roost On the afternoon of 23rd November, neighbour Amber Lau, accompanied by her parents, brought a juvenile Common Fruit Bat (Cynopterus brachyotis) hanging from the end of a short stick. The bat apparently fell from under the roof edge of her next door neighbour’s house onto a bush in her garden. Amber handed the bat over as she knew that I was studying bats. For the last few years I only observed bats hanging from the roof of my porch. This was my first very close... Read More


in Fauna, Videography  on Jan 08, 15 No Comments »
DARK BRAND BUSH BROWN MATING “The Dark Brand Bush Brown (Mycalesis mineus macromalayana, family Nymphalidae, subfamily Satyrinae) is a commonly encountered greyish-brown butterfly in Singapore and may be found from urban parks to forested areas (Khew, 2010). On the afternoon of 15th October 2014, I chanced upon a mating pair along forest edge (above). “With abdomens intimately engaged, they were seemingly performing a delicate ‘dance’, with a Simpoh Ayer leaf as their ‘stage’, and... Read More

Birding in Taiwan: 4. Spotted Nutcracker

Birding in Taiwan: 4. Spotted Nutcracker “The Spotted Nutcracker (Nucifraga caryocatactes owstoni) is not as common a bird but very conspicuous at higher altitudes. Was snowing when we saw it at ~ 2500 meters ASL. Will perch high on coniferous tree, looking like a large crow (above). “Said to be ‘silent outside breeding season, but quite vocal from late winter onwards …’ (Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive), but we found it quite vocal in late December. I did not hear the whistles or mimicry... Read More

Violet Cuckoo feasting on caterpillars

Violet Cuckoo feasting on caterpillars Jeremiah Looei’s two videos show the Violet Cuckoo (Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus) feasting on caterpillars. Insects are its favourite food, especially caterpillars. The hairy ones are carefully prepared by swiping on the branch before swallowing LINK 1 and LINK 2. According to Khew Sin Khoon of Butterfly Circle LINK, the caterpillars are most probably those of a moth. “The urticaceous hairs and the smaller caterpillar heads also strongly suggest that these are moth... Read More

North Island Kokako feeding on leaves

North Island Kokako feeding on leaves The North Island Kokato (Callaeas wilsoni) is of ancient lineage with very few surviving close relatives (above). Its closest cousin is the saddleback (Philesturnus spp.). “The video clip below was taken on Tiritiri Matangi Island, New Zealand. The island has been kept free of pests like rats, stoats and possums so that endemic bird species, which are mostly poor flyers, have a chance to re-establish their numbers. “The tagged bird was seen on a branch at almost eye... Read More

Paradise Tree Snake

in Fauna, Videography  on Dec 30, 14 No Comments »
Paradise Tree Snake “The Paradise Tree Snake (Chrysopelea paradisi) is a beautiful snake, commonly encountered in our nature areas. This snake has caught the world’s attention for its ‘flying’ ability, which has been featured and explained in several documentaries like this one LINK. “I managed to meet and video this species on several occasions. Here’s one which has just caught a Changeable Lizard (Calotes versicolor), and tightening its coils around its... Read More