• 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,...

White-browed Crake’s calls

04 Aug 2014   in Vocalisation No Comments »
Contributed by Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
White-browed Crake’s calls “The calls of the White-browed Crake (Porzana cinerea) (above) are inadequately documented in my region (Wells 1999). I have heard at least 5 different calls, but documentation of them has been difficult due to the secretive nature of this bird. Today I spent time with 6 birds, 3 pairs, and 4 were quite accommodating, even allowing a very close approach. I managed to document 4 of the different calls. “This post has a short recording of the most uncommon and most... Read More

Blue-throated Bee-eater caught a bee

03 Aug 2014   in Bee-eaters, Feeding-invertebrates No Comments »
Contributed by Johnny Wee
Blue-throated Bee-eater caught a bee Johnny Wee’s image of a Blue-throated Bee-eater (Merops viridis) with a bee clamped between its bill is as refreshing as that of a spiderhunter catching a spider LINK. Because of what they are commonly called, people expect them to live up to their names. But then bee-eaters take other insects most of the time and photographers love to display them with a dragonfly LINK – more eye-catching than with a smaller bee, I suppose. In the case of spiderhunters, they are more... Read More

An eggshell in the garden…

02 Aug 2014   in Nesting No Comments »
Contributed by YC Wee
An eggshell in the garden… Every now and then I stumbled upon an eggshell in my garden (above). The shell is light blue on the outside and white on the inside. Obviously it is from the egg of the Javan Myna (Acridotheres javanicus). It is common knowledge that incubating birds remove eggshells immediately after hatching and dispose them some distance away. Fresh eggshells lying below nests will attract predators, especially when the white inner surface reflects light. I have personally observed such... Read More

White-browed Crake preening and its odd oral movements

01 Aug 2014   in Comfort behaviour, Feathers-maintenance No Comments »
Contributed by Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
White-browed Crake preening and its odd oral movements “When these shy White-browed Crake (Porzana cinerea) offer opportunities, I am grateful to receive them. Four of the six birds were very accommodating. I had extended observations, including many preening episodes. “A video of 3 separate birds preening is given belowabove “Note that there are odd oral movements as part of the preening – see the first one third of the video and the images above and below. “They were very reminiscent of the snipe I posted much... Read More

Yellow-rumped Flycatcher “vomited” wasp it swallowed earlier

31 Jul 2014   in Feeding strategy, Feeding-invertebrates No Comments »
Contributed by William Tan, Dr Leong Tzi Ming, Wang Laun Keng & Ng Bee Choo
Yellow-rumped Flycatcher “vomited” wasp it swallowed earlier William Tan was photographing a female Yellow-rumped Flycatcher (Ficedula zanthopygia) in Singapore’s Bidadari Park in September 2012 when the flycatcher suddenly caught a wasp. On swallowing the wasp, it ‘vomited’ a crushed specimen a few minutes later. Flycatchers generally feed on insects that include bees and wasps. Why this particular flycatcher was unable to retain the wasp after swallowing it can be because it failed to effectively remove the sting... Read More

Danainae butterflies – leaf scratching and withered plants

30 Jul 2014   in Fauna, Videography 2 Comments »
Contributed by Lena Chow
Danainae butterflies - leaf scratching and withered plants “Many plants contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids as a defense mechanism against insect herbivores. In turn there are many insects that consume the plants and build up the alkaloids in their bodies. “Danainae butterflies (Tigers and Crows) have long been recognised to be attracted to and ‘feed’ on plants of certain genera, both withered and living LINK. “Here’s a Common Tiger (Danaus genutia genutia) scratching and sucking at a living Rattleweed (Crotalaria... Read More

White-crowned Forktail’s calls

29 Jul 2014   in Vocalisation No Comments »
Contributed by Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
White-crowned Forktail’s calls “
Have been seeing White-crowned Forktail (Enicurus leschenaultia frontalis
) intermittently but limited images. Locally it is vulnerable and is uncommon. “Saw two today – an adult and a juvenile. Image posted is of the juvenile.
 “The alarm calls are given HERE. The last part of the recording gives the ususal and contact calls.
 “A sonogram and waveform is provided above.” Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia 15th July Location: Ulu... Read More

Juvenile Collared Kingfishers

28 Jul 2014   in Kingfishers, Morphology-Develop. 3 Comments »
Contributed by Kwong Wai Chong
Juvenile Collared Kingfishers “There was a nesting of the Collared Kingfisher (Actenoides concretus) at Pasir Ris Park where many photographers had their shots in April and May 2014 (above). “I did not monitor this nest but was pleasantly surprised on 28th June to see 4 juveniles perching in the same tree (above: showing a parent with 2 juveniles). So, there were 4 in this brood. The parents were not around. The next day, the parents (below) were with one of the juveniles. I did not manage to see... Read More

Glossy Swiftlet collects lichen as nesting material

27 Jul 2014   in Nesting, Swifts-Swallows No Comments »
Contributed by Samson Tan
Glossy Swiftlet collects lichen as nesting material Samson Tan photographed Glossy Swiftlets (Collocalia esculenta) flying around the garden of a resort when holidaying in Tomohon, Sulawesi, Indonesia in June 2014. Only when he uploaded the images onto his computer did he realise that the swiftlets were actively collecting lichens growing from the trunk of a palm. A swiftlet would slow down (above) and hovered about 50cm away from the palm (below). It then approached the trunk of the palm without making any physical contact... Read More

Rufous Piculet – Courtship behaviour 1

26 Jul 2014   in Courtship-Mating No Comments »
Contributed by Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Rufous Piculet – Courtship behaviour 1 “The Rufous Piculets (Sasia abnormis abnormis) are difficult birds to observe due to their preference for the dense undergrowth of the lowland forest, small size and rapid speed. Hence their social behaviour is poorly documented. Short says it best: “Although Rufous Piculets are not uncommon… these birds are exceptionally fast-moving, difficult to detect, and exceedingly difficult to observe for more than a few seconds. Most glimpses of them occur when one or several... Read More