• 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,...

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

Happy Yellow-vented Bulbuls

Happy Yellow-vented Bulbuls “The clips below capture the few enraptured moments that the Yellow-vented Bulbul(s) (Pycnonotus goiavier) enjoyed during the month of October 2014. The Curry Leaf Bush (Murraya koenigii) fruits were ripening in abundance and the bulbuls feasted and sang and danced in the rain. “The Curry Leaf Bush fruit was obviously huge and the bulbul manipulated the fruit until the seed dropped off. Then the whole fruit was flattened to shape and swallowed in one gulp (above). Yum... Read More

Birding in Taiwan: 14. Plumbeous Water Redstart

Birding in Taiwan: 14. Plumbeous Water Redstart “A common resident in Taiwan and is found between 500 and 2,300m above sea level (Avifauna of Taiwan, 2nd edition) is the Plumbeous Water Redstart (Rhyacornis fuliginosa affinis). Brazil 2009 states ‘200-2,500 meters with some attitudinal migration’. Above shows the male and below the female. “The endemic subspecies in Taiwan R. f. affinis is said (Brazil 2009) to be ‘mid-grey with two faint white wingbars, grey underparts scaled white from chin to breast’. We... Read More

Dollarbird’s calls

in Vocalisation  on Feb 15, 15 No Comments »
Dollarbird’s  calls “We spotted a pair of Dollarbirds (Eurystomus orientalis) when out cycling in the early morning and I went back to have a look. They made a lot of calls and I was able to record two type HERE. “The first call is described by Wells 1999 as ‘skatch-skatch’. These are louder, less frequently used. The second half of the recording has the commoner, softer ‘tchek’ single note calls. I often hear them used in communication between pairs, but suspect they are also an... Read More