Malayan Whistling Thrush: 2. Night at the nest

on 1st April 2008


A pair of nesting Malayan Whistling Thrushes (Myophonus robinsoni) was located in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia on March 2008 (above). An internet video camera was installed on 24th March by Allan Teo to monitor activities on a 24-hour basis . Only infrared lighting was used at night and during low lighting conditions during the day. The following account is based on computer screen observations and the images other than the one above by Allan, are screen grabs.


The video was working at around 2320 hours and an adult was already at the nest, to prepare the chicks for the night (above).

It is to be noted that the two sexes of the Malayan Whistling Thrush can only be separated by size – the female is slightly smaller. As such, it is not possible to ascertain whether it was the male or the female that was at the nest that night, or any night or day for that matter.

The adult attempted to lie in the nest, trying to tug the chicks under its wings (below top). The chicks were not ready to settle down. A few times the adult had to leave the nest when the chicks became too boisterous. It perched on the beam supporting the nest in order to get a few minutes of peace before returning to the nest (below bottom). The chicks became less active a few hours later but even then they still moved around the nest.


By around 0020 hours (25th March), the chicks quietened down a little, to sleep under the wings of the adult. The adult was observed to occasionally heave slightly up and down, as if to accommodate the moving chicks. Throughout the night the sleeping adult made slight movements, rotating around the nest (below).


At 0520 hours the adult suddenly moved out of the nest to perch on the beam. Adult and chicks preened. The adult re-entered the nest a few times before flying off at 0625 hours to look for breakfast. The chicks preened and waited to be fed.

The adult returned within half an hour with a snack, looking like a moth, to feed a hungry chick. It flew off to return within eight minutes to feed the other chick. Four other subsequent feedings took place, each within a few minutes of the other.

Allan Teo & YC Wee
April 2008

YC would like to thank Allan for giving him access to the video recordings of the nesting; Allan gratefully acknowledges the family of Shum Yip Leong for permission to install the video camera within their premise and for generously contributing to substantial bandwidth support.

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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