• 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,...

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

African Fish-eagle catching fish

17 Jun 2008   in Feeding strategy, Raptors No Comments »
Contributed by Willis
African Fish-eagle catching fish The African Fish-eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer) is confined to Africa and seen near most waterways south of the Sahara. It feeds mainly on fish, with each pair defending a relatively small territory. Perched high on a tree, it regularly belts out a gull-like laugh to keep in contact with its mate and to warn off intruding fish-eagles. Willis was at Lake Baringo in Kenya recently when he documented an African Fish-eagle’s dramatic flight from its perch to catch a lure fish in... Read More

Blue-eared Barbet’s pouch: Vocalisation rather than storage

16 Jun 2008   in Barbet-To'can-H'guide, Morphology-Develop., Vocalisation No Comments »
Contributed by Adrian Lim
Blue-eared Barbet's pouch: Vocalisation rather than storage In the earlier post on the prominent black pouch of the Blue-eared Barbet (Megalaima australis) by Adrian Lim a.k.a wmw998, there was a discussion of the pouch being used as a possible storage for food. Adrian was adamant in his belief that the pouch was for vocalisation and not for food storage. He wrote, “I had watched the birds for days, and I can safely tell you the pouch wasn’t used for the purpose of holding food, like a hamster! At all times, I had observed... Read More

Asian Glossy Starling: Learning experience

15 Jun 2008   in Nesting No Comments »
Contributed by "ender"
Asian Glossy Starling: Learning experience Recently fledged birds need to learn how to fly. They also need to learn from their parents how to forage for food as well as what food are edible. This may take days or even weeks. Fledglings also learn to sing from hearing songs made by the adults. Thus removing a chick that has been displaced from its nest and looking after it may not be the best thing for it. Away from its parents, the chick may not be able to face life when released into the wild: see HERE. The above... Read More

Close encounter with an Asian Koel

15 Jun 2008   in Miscellaneous No Comments »
Contributed by YC Wee
Close encounter with an Asian Koel It was evening, round about 1730 hours. I was sitting under my porch reading. Suddenly there was the loud and distinct swish-swish-swish, reminding me of the flapping of a powerful pairs of wings. Puzzled, I looked around. There, above me was a large bird, flying around and round under the roof of my porch. The porch is about 5 metres square, with 0.5 metre sides from which arise the sloping roof that meet at a common point. The bird was trapped under the raised roof as it... Read More

Nest parasitism: Banded Bay and Indian Cuckoos

14 Jun 2008   in Brood parasitism 1 Comment »
Contributed by Morten Strange & Ong Kiem Sian
Nest parasitism: Banded Bay and Indian Cuckoos Cuckoos (Family Cuculidae) are a diverse and fascinating group of birds. Of the world’s 140 species, 57 or 40% are nest parasites. And most of the cuckoos of this region are nest parasites. Being nest parasites, these birds lay their eggs in the nests of host birds. Thus they never raise their own young but rely entirely on other host species to do all the work of nest building, incubation and chick rearing. We are most familiar with the Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopacea)... Read More