• 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,...

Yellow Bittern gaping

Yellow Bittern gaping “I encountered a Yellow Bittern (Ixobrychus sinensis) that was in the open on top of an Ixora shrub at the end of last year. “This bittern seemed to be sunning and was preening before opening its bill and gaping oddly. “No sign of pellet being cast out but towards the end of the gaping, a tickle of feathers that was stuck on its upper mandible was dislodged and seemed to be blown away by the breath of the bird. “A short video was created using a series of... Read More

White-tailed Robin – calls

White-tailed Robin – calls “I was made aware of this White-tailed Robin (Myiomela leucura leucura) when it began to sing on a branch just overhead (above). Too difficult to go back for my P900 and tripod, so this is a video taken handheld (I lay on the ground and used my knee for support) – see video below. “A sonogram and waveform is given below. “An amplified audio recording HERE” Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia 22nd April 2015 Location: 1,600m ASL, Cameron Highlands,... Read More

Red-whiskered Bulbul: 3. The egg hatched… then tragedy

Red-whiskered Bulbul: 3. The egg hatched… then tragedy Nest building by the pair of Red-whiskered Bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus) in the Belimbing (Averrhoa carambola) tree is posted HERE while an account of the incubation can be viewed HERE. After about 12 days of incubation, there were signs that an egg had hatched. On the evening of the 12th day, the arrivals and departures from the nest increased significantly, as compared to the incubation period. Setting up a video camera near the nest and leaving it there for two hours... Read More


WHITE-BREASTED WATERHEN BATHING “On 19th November 2014, I discretely documented a private moment in the life of a White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus) from a quiet, concealed corner at a local pond. “Under the notion that no one was watching it, the Waterhen let its guard down and waded into the inviting water till waist-deep (above). “It then began the routine of flapping its wings vigorously onto the water surface (above, below), as well as dipping its head... Read More

Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike – nest sanitation

in Nesting, Videography  on May 15, 15 No Comments »
Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike – nest sanitation “I have continued to monitor one pair of Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrikes (Hemipus picatus intermedius) nesting LINK. “They have one chick that they are currently feeding. Had an opportunity to see nest sanitation. The episode occurred immediately after feeding. I was not able to determine any ‘signal’ that the parent gave the chick. “The faecal sac extruded was eaten by the parent. Frank B. Gill (Ornithology, WH Freeman & Co, 3rd Revised edition, 2006) states... Read More


VARIEGATED GREEN SKIMMER OVIPOSITING “Between October and November 2014, I was able to observe the ovipositing (egg-laying) behaviour of female Variegated Green Skimmer (Orthetrum sabina) dragonflies, which often commences soon after mating. “The inseminated female would repeatedly dip the tip of her abdomen near the pond’s edge, creating multiple ripples over the water surface (above). “Video clips of the ovipositing females may be previewed here: “One morning, a female had a very close shave... Read More

Red-whiskered Bulbul: 2. Incubation

in Nesting, Videography  on May 05, 15 No Comments »
Red-whiskered Bulbul: 2. Incubation After completing the nest LINK, the pair of Red-whiskered Bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus) was absent for a few days from the Belimbing (Averrhoa carambola) nesting tree. Then one day the female returned, stayed for some time and laid an egg. Unlike the period when the pair was building their nest when the air was filled with their loud songs, the early incubation period was a much quieter affair. But I did capture a more discreet series of five different songs alerting the... Read More


VARIEGATED GREEN SKIMMER MATING “In November 2014, I was presented with a few opportunities to observe the mating behaviour of Variegated Green Skimmer (Orthetrum sabina) dragonflies while checking out local pond sites. When the male and female have connected with each other in the wheel position, they will perch for relatively long periods in a variety of places. These may include: - a bare branch (above): - a blade of grass (above): - a sun-baked rock (above): - even a stone park bench (above,... Read More

Fruiting of the MacArthur Palm

Fruiting of the MacArthur Palm My MacArthur Palm (Ptycospermun macarthuri) fruited in late February to early March 2015. And every evening a number of Asian Glossy Starlings (Aplonis panayensis) came to feed on the ripe fruits. The starlings were joined by a few Yellow-vented Bulbuls (Pycnonotus goiavier) and Javan Mynas (Acridotheres javanicus). The starlings seem to coexist with the bulbuls and mynas as there were no fights. This could be because there were enough fruits for all. One interesting... Read More

Eclosion of the Painted Jezebel

Eclosion of the Painted Jezebel Of the eight or more caterpillars of the Painted Jezebel (Delias hyparete metarete) feeding on the leaves of the Malayan Mistletoe (Dendrophthoe pentandra), I managed to retrieve only one pupa. As is usual with these caterpillars, they move in different direction to pupate. This is a strategy of not “putting all the eggs in one basket” to ensure at least one or a few survive the pupal stage LINK. This pupa was monitored seven days later in an effort to catch the... Read More