• 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,...

Black-bellied Malkoha – less often seen and photographed

Black-bellied Malkoha - less often seen and photographed “The Black-bellied Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus diardi diardi) (above, below) is said to be seen and photographed less often as it is more ”shy’ than the commonly seen Green-billed Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus tristis longicaudatus). These birds can, at a quick look, be mistaken for each other and their habitat overlap. “The key differentiating features are: 1. Tail length: The Black-bellied has a tail length about equal to the body while the Green-billed has a longer... 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

Banded Bay Cuckoo – conflict with Common Iora

Banded Bay Cuckoo – conflict with Common Iora “I was engrossed, watching the Baya Weavers nectar feeding, when abruptly a Banded Bay Cuckoo (Cacomantis sonneratii sonneratii) flew into the tree overhead (above, below). In retrospect I realised it was following a pair of Common Ioras (Aegithina tiphia) that had been making their way past me. “It was just a few meters overhead but fearless of me, so intent was it on finding the Iora’s nest. I observed it searching all the branches in the tree I was under and it... 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

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

Large Niltava – warning calls at nest

Large Niltava – warning calls at nest “The classical calls of the Large Niltava (Niltava grandis decipiens) have always been magical to me since my younger days of visiting the hill stations. They have a fairy, ethereal like quality. Glenister (1971) describes them best ‘It is the author of one of the most characteristic sounds of the mountain jungle – a plaintive, soft, yet far carrying, musical whistle of three ascending notes’. Many authors have rendered this musical note into words but almost always... Read More

Song of the Golden-bellied Gerygone

in Vocalisation  on Mar 16, 15 No Comments »
Song of the Golden-bellied Gerygone “The Golden-bellied Gerygone (Gerygone sulphurea sulphurea) is an intriguing bird, especially because of its call. It is a hard bird to spot as it makes a fairy like call that wafts in the wind, floating this way and that. So locating it is a challenge. The above image is an older one taken 20th September 2009 at same site. “The best description of the song is by my sifu, GC Madoc, in his delightful book ‘An Introduction to Malayan Birds’ (1947, revised... Read More

Birding in Taiwan: 16. Styan’s (Taiwan) Bulbul

in Species, Vocalisation  on Mar 07, 15 No Comments »
Birding in Taiwan: 16. Styan's (Taiwan) Bulbul “The Styan’s Bulbul (Pycnonotus taivanus), also known as Taiwan Bulbul, is a common endemic bulbul on the eastern and southern half of the island. There is some cross breeding (hybridisation) with the Light-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis formosae) or Chinese Bulbul that threatens it due to mass ceremonial release (Brazil 2009). “The Styan’s Bulbul has distinct orange-red spots at the base of the lower bill and a black cap and nape. Hybridised birds have... Read More

A Rare Male Asian Koel Call – With Sound Visualisation

in Videography, Vocalisation  on Mar 05, 15 2 Comments »
A Rare Male Asian Koel Call - With Sound Visualisation “There is a rarely heard male Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopacea) call that I am familiar with but has been elusive to document. It is elusive in the sense that the soft call is only heard when I am near to or under the tree where the bird is. “Unlike the more familiar melancholic “ko-el ko-el” call, which rises in pitch and finally ends in frantic desperation and then it starts all over again, this call is uttered once only. “I had previously recorded one... Read More

Birding in Taiwan: 15. Black Bulbul’s calls

in Species, Vocalisation  on Mar 04, 15 No Comments »
Birding in Taiwan: 15. Black Bulbul's calls “The Black Bulbul (Hypsipetes leucocephalus nigerrimus) is a cheerful bulbul found in the plains and lower montane forest of Taiwan. The local endemic subspecies is all black, including the head and has a prominent pale blue-grey patch on the wings. “Although said to be ‘black’, in good light there is a metallic bluish sheen to the plumage. The bright orange beak and feet make for an interesting contrast. Has an erectile crown/crest that is often kept up.... Read More