• 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-winged Stilt feeding on molluscs and fish

Black-winged Stilt feeding on molluscs and fish The local information on the prey of the Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus) is limited. On 2nd March 2013, Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS noticed a family unit of three taking many snails in a short period of observation at the Malim Nawar Wetlands in Perak, Malaysia (above, below). This is an extensive ex-tin mining area covered with pond, lakes, wetlands and fish farming units. The snails are foraged in ‘knee deep’ water and swallowed whole. On 28th... Read More

Rhynchokinesis – photo documentation of gradual change in the upper mandible shape

Rhynchokinesis – photo documentation of gradual change in the upper mandible shape Our introduction to rhynchokinesis was based on the feeding behaviour of the Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago) that was sent in by Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS LINK 1 and LINK 2. This phenomenon is the ability of many long-billed shorebirds to open the tip of a long bill, so as to be able to feed in mud, silt or soil (Erritzoe et al., 2007). Our call to birdwatchers to document this little known phenomenon as seen HERE attracted the attention of Howard Stockdale from... Read More

Curlew Sandpiper – feeding behaviour

Curlew Sandpiper - feeding behaviour “Eight to ten Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferrugine) present at this site, solitary or in pairs mixing with other waders. “Actively feeding as can be seen in the video below. “The feeding as been described as ‘probing in an incessant “stitching” motion’ LINK. “The above is a composite of posture changes. “Waders are a hard group for me to ID but fortunately Curlew Sandpipers are one of the easier ones.” Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS Ipoh,... Read More

Rhynchokinesis in the Common Snipe

Rhynchokinesis in the Common Snipe “I am grateful to Hans Peeters for pointing out a feature I saw but had not recognised – Rhynchokinesis. When I posted a video of a Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago) HERE (see second half of the video for the behaviour), Hans commented: ‘Amar, you didn’t point out the best part – that in your wonderful little video one can clearly see how the TIP of the maxilla (upper mandible) can be raised or flexed upward, independent of the rest of the bill. A... Read More

Black-winged Stilt feeding on fish

Black-winged Stilt feeding on fish “I have never before seen the Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus himantopus) takes a fish. Spotted this adult with a fish he had foraged (above). The bird proceeded to ‘wash’ the fish a number of times before feeding (below). It even ‘lost’ the prey twice In the process but got it back (one post shows the fish slipping out: above-right). “Looked up the literature on its diet.
 Dostin (1989) from Australia gives a summary of the literature. I... Read More

Black-winged Stilt – feeding, flight and call

Black-winged Stilt - feeding, flight and call “Black-winged Stilts (Himantopus himantopus himantopus) are a joy to watch both for their grace and also as they are usually in a social group. Uncommon at the Peninsular prior to 1996, they now occur in large numbers in my region (Wells 2007). At this wetlands site alone there are an excess of 80 birds. “There are number of feeding techniques used. In shallow waters, besides pecking at prey, they also probe (below, male and female probing). “In... Read More

Common Greenshanks’ aggressive behaviour

Common Greenshanks' aggressive behaviour William Ip is sharing his images of waders that he photographed in Nam San Wai, Hong Kong, somewhere near the Wetland Park sometime last year. Field ornithologist Wang Luan Keng thought the above pair of birds to be Spotted Redshanks (Tringa erythropus) and suggested that David Li of Singapore’s Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve should be consulted as he is among the best in shorebird identification. Well, David confirmed Luan’s ID. David also identified the Common... Read More

Black-winged Stilt at Seletar, Singapore

“Here’s an uncommon winter visitor hanging out at a monsoon pond in a disused area at Seletar. The Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus) has a long bill for probing into mud, but in this case, it seems quite happy snacking on water bugs at the water’s surface. “It also bobs its head like a kingfisher from time to time, I wonder why.” Lena Chow Singapore 9th December... Read More

Australian Pied Oystercatcher foraging

Australian Pied Oystercatcher foraging Lena Chow‘s video clip of the Australian Pied Oystercatcher (Haematopus longirostris) was taken at Perth’s Rottnest Island around August this year. The oystercatcher was patrolling the shores of an inland saltwater lake foraging for food. “Its bright red bill was even more conspicuous on a lawn where it was diligently drilling for grub,” wrote Lena (see video above). Its long pointed bill did not fail it as it found and pulled out a long worm from... Read More

Red-necked Stints in a feeding frenzy

The end of the year is the migratory season LINK and Lena Chow is busy documenting the arrival of the shorebirds. The above video shows a small flock of another winter visitor, the Red-necked Stints (Calidris ruficollis) in a feeding frenzy. These migrants, arriving as early as July, feed in mudflats, sandy shores and shallow freshwater ponds. They constantly probe or jabs into the substratum to look for invertebrates like worms, crustaceans and insect larvae.... Read More