• 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,...

Blue-winged Minla catching a moth

26 Jun 2008   in Feeding-invertebrates 1 Comment »
Contributed by Adrian Lim
Blue-winged Minla catching a moth In May 2008 Adrian Lim a.k.a. wmw998 photographed a Blue-winged Minla (Minla cyanouroptera) catching and eating a moth in the highland of Peninsular Malaysia. He wrote that these minlas “behave very much like Mountain Fulvettas in their eating habit, but they move faster and most of the time, are at a higher level. They are also seen more often in the open than the Fulvettas. These shots were taken early in the morning.” The bird held the moth in its foot (top) and... Read More

Bee-eaters and comfort behaviour

25 Jun 2008   in Comfort behaviour, Feathers-maintenance No Comments »
Contributed by Johnny Wee, YC & Dr WK Cheah
Bee-eaters and comfort behaviour Bee-eaters are known to spend up to 10% of daylight hours in comfort behaviour of some kind or other (above). These are mainly aimed at keeping their plumage in top condition. During rest, these birds can usually be seen going through some of their stretching activities. A common posture is the raising of both forewings above the back with the wrists nearly touching (below left). The bird then stretches one wing at a time – downwards and backwards (above right). This... Read More

Spectacled Spiderhunter collecting nectar

24 Jun 2008   in Feeding-plants 2 Comments »
Contributed by Dr. Redzlan Abdul Rahman
Spectacled Spiderhunter collecting nectar Spidethunters, as the name implies, is supposed to feed on spiders. However, there has been “no record of web-robbing” (Wells, 2007) as its animal diet is not known. Dr. Redzlan Abdul Rahman managed to photograph a Spectacled Spiderhunter (Arachnothera flavigaster) hovering in front of a bunch of banana flowers collecting nectar from the flowers. As Dr Redzian writes, “This picture describes very well why Malays call it ‘Kelicap Jantung’ meaning bird that feeds... Read More

White-throated Kingfisher: Non-iridescent colours

23 Jun 2008   in Morphology-Develop. No Comments »
Contributed by bklim
White-throated Kingfisher: Non-iridescent colours bklim photographed an adult White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis) showing its brilliant colourful plumage – dark chestnut, blue and white. In addition, it has a red bill, dark brown iris, red orbital skin and legs. The female may have a slightly paler head and belly while the juvenile’s plumage is slightly duller. Whatever the sex or age, the bird is a spectacular specimen, guaranteed to impress anyone. There is a popular misconception that the brilliance of... Read More

To handle or not to handle young birds?

22 Jun 2008   in Miscellaneous No Comments »
Contributed by Meibao
To handle or not to handle young birds? Meibao was taking a stroll in the Singapore Botanical Gardens one day in June 2008 when… “I came across what seemed to be a stranded Yellow-vented Bulbul chick (Pycnonotus goiavier)… I only noticed it as its parent was trying to feed the chick which was on the ground and was chirping loudly to warn me to stay away… (left). “There was a family a few feet away… having a picnic and their dog (on lease) was trying to get to the chick though they didn’t... Read More

Chasing Rainbows

21 Jun 2008   in Parrots No Comments »
Contributed by Daisy O'Neill
Chasing Rainbows “The red, iron bird engaged its landing gears, sending her wheelie feet to hang. Her wings retracted leaving reminges of the ‘bird’ flapping in the wind as the aircraft was guided to a descent onto the airfield tarmac. “A ‘boomp’ followed, confirming a touch down. My constant travels have taught me well to judge the skills and experience of pilots by how smooth and soft the ‘boomp’ they made. Sometimes, I would whisper into the air-hostess’s ear,... Read More

Whiskered Treeswift: Courtship and mating

20 Jun 2008   in Courtship-Mating No Comments »
Contributed by Mark Chua
Whiskered Treeswift: Courtship and mating The Whiskered Treeswift (Hemiprocne comata) is distinctive in its white facial stripes. It is a forest species and resident in Malaysia. In Singapore it is a rare, non-breeding visitor, although it used to be a fairly common resident before. Mark Chua a.k.a cajuka managed to document the intimate moments of a pair of Whiskered Treeswifts that ended in copulation. The image on the left shows the male with his chestnut ear-coverts that is lacking in the female on his left. It... Read More

Bee-eaters catching insects

19 Jun 2008   in Bee-eaters, Feeding-invertebrates No Comments »
Contributed by Dr Eric Tan
Bee-eaters catching insects Bee-eaters hunt from an exposed perch, waiting for insects to fly by. Once an insect is spotted, it flies after it and simply picks it out of the air. The pair of slender and sharp pointed mandibles that make up the bill function like a pair of highly efficient forceps. The images above show the Blue-tailed Bee-eater (Merops philippinus) manipulating a dragonfly after catching and thrashing it. Clamped at the tip of its bill (left), the bird deftly tossed the subdued... Read More

Blue-eared Barbet and its black gular sac

18 Jun 2008   in Barbet-To'can-H'guide, Morphology-Develop. No Comments »
Contributed by YC & Adrian Lim
Blue-eared Barbet and its black gular sac According to the literature, the prominent black sac seen in the Blue-eared Barbet (Megalaima australis) is a gular sac, also called vocal sac. See earlier posts 1, 2 and 3. Birds produce most of their sounds with their syrinx, the sound producing organ sited where the windpipe divides into two. What is less known is that there are secondary acoustic structures that modify the sounds produced by the syrinx – whether to spread, amplify or reverberate. One of these is the... Read More

Anatomy of a nest: Common Tailorbird?

18 Jun 2008   in Nests No Comments »
Contributed by YC
Anatomy of a nest: Common Tailorbird? I was trimming my starfruit tree (Averrhoa carambola) to remove the branches that were infringing on to my neighbour’s airspace. When collecting the branches, I was surprised to find a small nest attached to one of the end branches. So the nest was constructed high up the tree. It was a smallish, oval nest, 14 x 8 cm, had a round opening 4 x 4 cm near the top (left). It was an untidy structure, with fibres sticking out all over the surface, looking like a mass of dried... Read More