• 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,...

Mass leaf bathing of sunbirds

25 Feb 2008   in Feathers-maintenance, Sunbirds No Comments »
Contributed by YC
Mass leaf bathing of sunbirds On the evening of 27th December 2007, as I was watering my garden, I inadvertently sprayed water on the leaves of my banana plants (Musa). Suddenly, about a dozen noisy Brown-throated Sunbirds (Anthreptes malacensis) flew into the garden (below: male left, female right). They landed on the noni tree (Morinda citrifolia) by the driveway as well as on the wet banana leaves. Those that were on the banana leaves took advantage of the droplets to have their bath. They rolled on... Read More

Nesting of Spotted Dove

24 Feb 2008   in Nesting, Pigeon-Dove 1 Comment »
Contributed by Jeremy Lee
Nesting of Spotted Dove On 12th April 2007, Jeremy Lee wrote: “There is a pair of Spotted Doves (Streptopelia chinensis) just outside my window. They are nesting on a palm tree. “The only problem is that I have never seen the pair together at all except during the nest building phase when one was bringing back some nesting materials for the other. “Ever since then, it was always just one bird. Even at night. I searched the neighbouring trees for the other bird but to no avail. I remember as a... Read More

Breeding Kings

23 Feb 2008   in Kingfishers, Nesting 2 Comments »
Contributed by Daisy O'Neill
Breeding Kings When “Tale of the Stock-billed Kingfisher” was written in 2006, describing the mythological story of how kingfishers’ family of Halcyon derived their names from; how a Stork-billed Kingfisher (Halcyon capensis) swallowed a huge fish bigger than the bird’s head, I did not expect to bump into their cousin’s nesting grounds and write about it so soon in my love affair with birds. The White-throated Kingfisher (H. smyrnensis) is just about the most frequently... Read More

Olive-backed Sunbird’s nest destroyed by a macaque

22 Feb 2008   in Nesting-failed, Sunbirds No Comments »
Contributed by YC
Olive-backed Sunbird’s nest destroyed by a macaque The Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis) that was hard at work collecting fibres for weeks from a piece of fabric in front of my house was actually building a nest in the garden of my front neighbour. I did suspect that the bird was building her nest there as she would fly immediately into the compound after collecting a few strands of fibres. But I paid scant attention as these nests are common in urban and suburban gardens, even in the small balcony gardens of... Read More

Himalayan Swiftlet: 3. At long last, action…

21 Feb 2008   in Swifts-Swallows 1 Comment »
Contributed by YC
Himalayan Swiftlet: 3. At long last, action… In birding as in any other activities, there are those who are conservative and those who are ultra-conservative, preferring the status quo. This is exactly the situation with the controversy on the existence of the Himalayan Swiftlet (Aerodramus brevirostris). As early as the late 1980s, Richard Ollington was one birder who was totally convinced of the presence of the Himalayan in Singapore. A highly respected and well-quoted birder, he published his observations in his... Read More

Melastoma and flowerpeckers II

20 Feb 2008   in Feeding-plants 5 Comments »
Contributed by Morten Strange & YC
Melastoma and flowerpeckers II Flowerpeckers are tiny birds that dart around the forest trees with lightning speed. Because of the rapid movement and being solitary birds, they are difficult to see. However, they always make their characteristic metallic clicking sound and with a little patience, the location of these birds can always be pinpointed. The Orange-bellied (Dicaeum trigonostigma) (male and female, above left) and Scarlet-backed (D. cruentatum) (male, above right) are found locally and easily... Read More

Red-legged Crake at the Botanic Gardens

19 Feb 2008   in Feeding-invertebrates, Species 4 Comments »
Contributed by Ng Bee Choo, Goh Yue Yun & Prof Ng Soon Chye
Red-legged Crake at the Botanic Gardens Ng Bee Choo reported seeing a juvenile Red-legged Crake (Rallina fasciata) at the Singapore Botanic Gardens’ Visitor’s Centre. The bird usually appears around 1900-1930 hours (at dusk) to feed. This was the same place where she earlier saw an adult bathing in a puddle of water after a burst of rain. The juvenile that she encountered was not shy but was frightened by loud noises. It usually hangs around under cover of vegetation, to emerge when it deemed safe. Yue... Read More

Long-tailed Parakeets eating palm flowers

18 Feb 2008   in Feeding-plants, Parrots 1 Comment »
Contributed by YC
Long-tailed Parakeets eating palm flowers On 14th December 2007 at about 0745 hours, the morning silence was suddenly broken by the loud squawking of about 20 Long-tailed Parakeet (Psittacula longicauda) in my garden. Most of the birds descended on my ceram palms (Rhopaloblaste ceramica) while a few were on one of my Alexandra palms (Archontophoenix alexandrae). This latter palm was bearing female flowers and the birds were crowding on the inflorescence branches. And they were busy pecking on the female flowers... Read More

Yellow Bittern eats skink

17 Feb 2008   in Feeding-vertebrates, Heron-Egret-Bittern 2 Comments »
Contributed by R Subaraj
Yellow Bittern eats skink “On January 30th, Melanie Votaw (from USA), along with Shamla Subaraj and I, came across a Yellow Bittern (Ixobrychus sinensis) with a lizard in it’s bill, at Serangoon. Over the next 5 minutes, we watched the bird adjust the reptile into the right position before swallowing it completely. “Yellow Bitterns are mostly migrants from the north and can be found in suitable areas throughout Singapore. They mainly feed at the edge of water-bodies and waterways, fishing... Read More

BESG’s new-look blog

16 Feb 2008   in Reports No Comments »
Contributed by YC Wee
By now the blog’s new appearance is obvious to all who logs in. When we started in July 2005, it was with a Blogger account (top left). We blogged for 18 months before Jacquelin Lau came along and suggested we shift to WordPress, a “state-of-the-art” personal publishing platform (top right). After an initial hesitation, I agreed. Jac did all the work, planning, designing, archiving, etc. And I did all the postings. Of course the observations, images and even entire... Read More