• 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,...

Durian, squirrel and White-crested Laughingthrush

22 Nov 2007   in Feeding-plants 2 Comments »
Contributed by Dr Ivan Polunin,
Durian, squirrel and White-crested Laughingthrush Dr Ivan Polunin lives in Hillview, off Upper Bukit Timah Road. Fronting his house is an old and very tall durian tree (Durio zibethinus) (left). For the years he has been living in his current house, he claims that he has yet to taste the fruits. Every fruiting season the tree gives forth many fruits. These invariable fall when ripe. All the fruits on the ground would have been damaged by the Common Red-bellied squirrel (Callosciurus.notatus), also known as Plantain... Read More

Monitor lizards at the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

21 Nov 2007   in Habitat No Comments »
Contributed by KC Tsang & YC Wee
The Malayan Water Monitor (Varanus salvator) has made Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve its home. Once relatively scarce, it is now common to see them along the main paths, in ponds and even around the entrance, so much so that the lizard is a minor attraction (above). The lizard is an excellent swimmer, in fresh as well as saline waters. It can remain submerged in the water for up to half an hour. It can move with good speed relative to its size on land. It also climbs trees... Read More

Heron chick: 4. Teach the bird to fish…

19 Nov 2007   in Feeding chicks, Heron-Egret-Bittern, Rescue 14 Comments »
Contributed by Victor Lee & YC
 Heron chick: 4. Teach the bird to fish... On 13th November 2007, the Little Heron (Butorides striatus) has been under care for 11 days. All this time it was fed pieces of fish fillet, later pieces of whole fish. The bird was offered the pieces at the end of a pair of tweezers. It lunged at the pieces and immediately swallowed them, taking two to three pieces one after the other, although sometimes it had difficulties getting them down its throat. Then it was transferred to a large cage (left). The sides of the... Read More

Hibiscus and nectar harvest

18 Nov 2007   in Plants, Sunbirds 2 Comments »
Contributed by Melinda Chan
Hibiscus and nectar harvest An image by Melinda Chan shows a male Brown-throated Sunbird (Anthreptes malacensis) robbing nectar from a hibiscus flower by probing his bill through the base of the flower (left). Now why did the bird do that? The natural pollinator of hibiscus has been reported to be the hummingbird. The sunbird is not adapted for hibiscus pollination, so to harvest the nectar in the flower, it has resorted to the unconventional method of probing the base of the flower. This is referred... Read More

Little Heron chick: 3. Problems of release

17 Nov 2007   in Heron-Egret-Bittern, Rescue 1 Comment »
Contributed by Lin Yangchen, Charlene Yeong & DM Richardson
Little Heron chick: 3. Problems of release The Little Heron (Butorides striatus) chick rescued from the Bukit Timah campus is now more than a week under my care: see 1 and 2. The wings are now well developed but it is still unable to fly. But it can easily run off if left unattended. Soon, it would be time to set it free. The one big question is how to do it. Many birders are of the opinion that newly fledged birdlings need to be taught how to forage for food and herons are no exception. It had been hand-fed until... Read More

Sleeping nocturnal beauties

15 Nov 2007   in Owls, Roosting 3 Comments »
Contributed by - see article -
Sleeping nocturnal beauties There are 23 SE Asian species of typical owls that befit the description of nocturnal birds with rounded heads, large forward-facing eyes circumvented by feathered facial discs. Their plumage mostly brown and cryptically patterned, they hunt by night and roost by day. While their roosting hide-outs are difficult to find, bird watchers at times when lady luck visits, do accidentally run into them. Thus, finding a night bird in daylight hours is not only an infrequent... Read More

Birds mobbing snakes

14 Nov 2007   in Interspecific 4 Comments »
Contributed by - see article -
Birds mobbing snakes Birders are familiar with the mobbing behaviour of birds, especially when it is directed at raptors and owls (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). However, they are less familiar with birds mobbing non-avian predators. There are enough reports in the avian literature to show that this is not an uncommon phenomenon. One reason for this lack of awareness can be because the snake being mobbed would most probably be among the vegetation and not easily visible. And birders may mistake the ruckus as... Read More

Little Heron chick: 2. Feeding

12 Nov 2007   in Feeding chicks, Heron-Egret-Bittern, Rescue No Comments »
Contributed by YC, Dr Gloria Chay & Victor Lee
Little Heron chick: 2. Feeding The Little Heron (Butorides striatus) chick, rescued on 2nd November 2007 has grown fast. It outgrew the cardboard box and is fast outgrowing the larger metal container it was transferred to. I have to cover the top, least it climb out and scamper away. Previously, it just perched along the edge of the container and remained there, not daring to jump down (left). On 7th November, five days after beinging it home, I got the chick to stand on a weighing scale that was... Read More

Injured Purple Heron

10 Nov 2007   in Feeding strategy, Heron-Egret-Bittern 7 Comments »
Contributed by Dr Chua Ee Kiam & Kelvin PK Lim
Injured Purple Heron On two separate occasions, Dr Chua Ee Kiam encountered an injured Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea) at the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve: “I managed some shots of this Purple Heron on two occasions and I thought that something had pierced its lower jaw until a frontal shot of it opening its mouth revealed that its lower jaw was torn (pierced and torn by a wriggling catfish’s spines?) and a flap of tissue dangled from its lower jaw. This is like a patient having its... Read More

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve: Sighting of Common Redshank

09 Nov 2007   in Migration-Migrants No Comments »
Contributed by KC Tsang
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve: Sighting of Common Redshank On 15th October 2007, KC Tsang reported: “This morning was at Sungei Bulog Wetland Reserve, and the place was quite busy with lots of waders. When they fly low over you the noise made by the flapping wings was quite impressive. “So took quite a number of shots, and later downloaded the pictures into my computer. On examining the pictures, I found a number of Common Redshanks (Tringa totanus) with Green over Orange Flags on their right legs, denoting that they were... Read More