• 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,...

House Swift in the act of drinking water

06 Jan 2009   in Miscellaneous 1 Comment »
Contributed by Lin Yangchen
House Swift in the act of drinking water “Unlike Merops philippinus (Blue-tailed Bee-eater), Alcedo atthis (Common Kingfisher), Halcyon capensis (Stork-billed Kingfisher), Hirundo 
tahitica (Pacific Swallow) et al., apodids (swifts) do not seem to dive into water. It could be
 because their more rigid wings, as observed in flight, are not so amenable to generating the vertical thrust needed for leaving the
 water surface. They were never designed to take off from the ground into the air in the first place,... Read More

Eyebrowed Thrush at Bidadari

05 Jan 2009   in Migration-Migrants No Comments »
Contributed by KC Tsang
Eyebrowed Thrush at Bidadari K C Tsang on 6th December 2008, sent in this note and the image above: “This morning’s birding yielded this uncommon passage migrant at Bidadari Cemetery, the Eyebrowed Thrush (Turdus obscurus). “At first I was not able to ID the fellow. On seeing the picture G Sreedharan came to the conclusion that it is a thrush, but what? So back to the car, out came the books… it was the Eyebrowed Thrush. “Regret that we were not able to get more pictures for... Read More

What happened to the Grey Heron nesting colony?

05 Jan 2009   in Heron-Egret-Bittern, Nesting-failed No Comments »
Contributed by TC
What happened to the Grey Heron nesting colony? In November 2008, TC chanced upon an active heronry in the north of Singapore. It was the incessant noise of the birds that attracted his attention. The casuarinas trees (Casuarina equisetifolia) were covered with Grey Herons (Ardea cinerea), many sitting in their nests, others perching on branches nearby (above). The herons were in their breeding colours – their legs and bill were distinctly orange to reddish (below). TC returned a few times to the site to monitor... Read More

Northern Shoveler sighted at Sungei Buloh

04 Jan 2009   in Migration-Migrants 1 Comment »
Contributed by G Sreedharan & David Tan
Northern Shoveler sighted at Sungei Buloh David Tan alerted everyone on the appearance of a female Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata) at the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR) on 27th December 2008. G Sreedharan was also there and sent in this report: “When I arrived at SBWR late saturday afternoon, most people had left. The Northern Shoveler had moved to the pool left of the main hide and was moving around and possible feeding in the open between some egrets, except that it was quite a distance away. “After... Read More

Comfort behaviour of the Lineated Barbet

04 Jan 2009   in Comfort behaviour, Feathers-maintenance No Comments »
Contributed by Michael Ho
Comfort behaviour of the Lineated Barbet Michael Ho a.k.a. nemo posted two images of the Lineated Barbet (Megalaima lineata) indulging in comfort behaviour on 15th November 2008 that he is sharing with us. The barbet was caught stretching its wings in a sort of an “angel” posture (above left) and preening the feathers at the base of its left wing, turning its head around to get at a difficult spot (above right). We have been showcasing the comfort behaviour of a number of birds recently: Blue-tailed Bee-eater... Read More

Do birds kneel?

03 Jan 2009   in Morphology-Develop. 1 Comment »
Contributed by Lena Chow
Do birds kneel? Daisy O’Neill’s post on Jabiru’s Prayer shows the Black-necked Stork (Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus), “kneeling” – although the so-called knees bend backward, as compared to ours bending forwards. Lena Chow sent in an image of a Greater Adjutant (Leptoptilos dubius) that shows it “kneeling” or a reverse kneel, as she calls it, and a link to the blog, Bill of the Birds, that gives an explanation as to why the bird rests that way (left). As Bill Thompson... Read More

Oriental Pratincole drinking

03 Jan 2009   in Miscellaneous, Nests No Comments »
Contributed by Lee Tiah Khee
Oriental Pratincole drinking Birds, as with all living things, need water to survive. This water may come from moisture in their food like fruits and insects. Water also comes from the by products of chemical breakdown of carbohydrates, fats and proteins within the body. However, most birds simply drink water from rain puddles, streams, ponds and lakes. Drinking free water involves dipping the bill and then tipping the head back to allow the water to run down the throat, as in this Oriental Pratincole... Read More

Indian Skimmer skimming

02 Jan 2009   in Feeding strategy No Comments »
Contributed by Allan Teo
Indian Skimmer skimming The Indian Skimmer (Rynchops albicollis) forages exclusively be skimming the water in flight, with the mouth open and the lower mandible submerged (above). As soon as a prey item, mainly fish and shrimps, touches the mandible, it is immediately grasped while the head doubles back under the body. The prey is then swallowed while the bird is still in flight or after landing. The structure of the bill is well adapted to skimming. The long upper mandible is shorter than the... Read More

Antics of the Pied Fantail

02 Jan 2009   in Miscellaneous No Comments »
Contributed by Adrian Lim
Antics of the Pied Fantail Adrian Lim posted his account of the Pied Fantail on 23rd October 2008: “This Pied Fantail (Rhipidura javanica) just kept dancing before me, exihibiting its tail like a peacock. Wasted so many shots as the chap just wouldn’t stop moving. Managed to get pretty close at one stage, when it was perching on a leaf.” Ingo Waschkies confirms that the bird is a juvenile, “…the two buff-brown wing bars are a sure sign of a young bird.” The Pied Fantail, like most... Read More

Roosting of the Grey Nightjar

01 Jan 2009   in Roosting 4 Comments »
Contributed by KC Tsang
Roosting of the Grey Nightjar The Grey Nightjar (Caprimulgus indicus) was recently photographed by KC Tsang in Singapore’s Bidadari Cemetery roosting on a tree branch about 7 metres from the ground. The bird is a rare winter visitor and passage migrant. The Grey regularly roosts in tree, unlike other species of nightjars that prefer bare soil, rocks, boulders or tree stumps and logs. Roosting on a tree branch does not mean that the bird is asleep all the time. At intervals, it will wake up, sit up... Read More