• 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,...

Birding in Taiwan: 9. Taiwan Hwamei

Birding in Taiwan: 9. Taiwan Hwamei “An endemic Laughingthrush that is a “secretive resident of scrub, tall grass and forest edge” (Brazil 2009), the Taiwan Hwamei (Garrulax taewanus) is usually found below an altitude of 300 meters but small numbers can extend to an altitude of 1,000 meters ASL (Avifauna of Taiwan, 2nd edition). “This species is classified as Near Threatened on the IUCN red list. It was common in the past but lowland habitat damage and pet bird trade as a singing bird dwindled... 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

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

New Zealand Bellbird singing at Tiritiri Matangi Island

New Zealand Bellbird singing at Tiritiri Matangi Island The New Zealand Bellbird (Anthornis melanura) is a honeyeater well known for its clear, bell-like singing (above, image by Dr Eric Tan). Their tunes are as varied as dialects spoken around the world. Some of their songs could be mistaken for the tuis’, another honeyeater endemic to New Zealand. “This particular bird was spotted singing very vigorously for a long time. Due to the lighting conditions, the colour of the feathers is not fully discernible from below... Read More

White-rumped Munia – a closer look and calls

White-rumped Munia – a closer look and calls “Closer views of the White-rumped Munia (Lonchura striata subsquamicollis) (above). “The lower bluish-white lower mandible in contrast to the upper horn black mandible (above, below). Also the red-brown iris. “The white back that shows up as a white rump (below). “The under surface of the tail and vent (below). “An audio recording of the calls described as “pirrit” or “prrrit” (see Wells 2007). Calls are quite soft and the recording has... Read More

Grey-breasted Spiderhunter feeds on coconut flower nectar and calls

Grey-breasted Spiderhunter feeds on coconut flower nectar and calls “I have often seen the Grey-breasted Spiderhunter (Arachnothera modesta modesta) feed on the nectar of coconut flowers LINK. This was an extended observation (above). “It seemed to pick certain flowers, possibly the ones that were open and with nectar. All sort of postures were used to gain access (above). “I once saw it appear to use the foot to gain access to a flower (above) but cannot be fully certain. “The classical calls can be heard HERE with a sonogram... Read More


in Vocalisation  on Dec 09, 14 No Comments »
For some time now Kennie Pan had been hearing a strange call in the night at different locations in Singapore. Always, the call would come from thick vegetation, like forests in and around Hindhede Nature Park, Mandai Lake Road, Kranji Jetty… HERE. Whether the night was wet or dry, the call would invariably be heard. Finally curiosity got the better of Kennie and he recorded the call in an effort to get someone identify it . According to Nature Consultant Subaraj... Read More

Rusty-rumped Warbler – call

Rusty-rumped Warbler - call “Went out looking for migratory Reed Warblers this morning; heard 3 but only saw one. I was surprised that it was the Locustella Warbler (Locustella certhiola) the hardest for me to spot. It is said to be more active in the evening but, in the past and at this visit, it can be spotted in the undergrowth in the mornings preening or foraging (above). “The above nicely shows the horn black or ivory upper mandible. “There a number of calls but the one I managed to record... Read More

Large Woodshrike – juvenile’s call

in Vocalisation  on Oct 26, 14 No Comments »
Large Woodshrike – juvenile's call “A family of Large Woodshrikes (Tephrodornis gularis fretensis) was sighted, an adult pair (above) and two juveniles. The juveniles were old enough to forage on their own, although I saw episodes where they were expectant of being fed but were disappointed (above, below). “An edited audio recording HERE with waveform and sonogram of a less common adult call is given below. “Described by Madoc (see Wells 2007) as a warning-scolding ‘skatch-skatch’. The... Read More

Golden-bellied Gerygone serenading

Golden-bellied Gerygone serenading Earlier this year a bird appeared in Lim Shiang Han’s home. Perching in front of the balcony, it serenaded on and on. The next day it returned and again it serenaded. This went on for almost a month. The bird appeared like a sunbird but Shiang Han was not convinced that it was – as it “looks like a sunbird, but its beak is shorter and not as sharp. Also I have never heard sunbirds singing this way.” As curiosity about the identity of the songster got the better... Read More