Miscellaneous bird vocalisation 2

This is the second collection of random observations by Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS on birdsounds submitted during the past year or so.

1. Everett’s White-eye (Zosterops everetti tahanensis)
Fringe of Kledang-Sayong Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
14th July 2010

“I was with my wife at some new government departments at the outskirts of the city – the authorities are very astute at building large structures at the expense of the jungle. As we left, around 11am, we noticed 3 White-eyes collecting nesting material from large ornamental palms in the compound of the government building. I think these were Foxtail palms (Wodyetia bifurcata). They were striping thin strips off the leaves, which appeared to be for nesting material. One of the White-eyes then proceeded to a nearby Bauhinia tree and did an odd routine. It appeared to be ‘processing’ the strip of material. It would rub it repeatedly against the branch, left and right, repeatedly. It would also sing intermittently while doing so – this is a fragment of the song, with lots of background noise (1148_AmarSingh_140710_call-1a_KSFR-Ipoh-Perak-Malaysia_forest).

“This went on for 3-4 minutes and I managed to get a shaky handheld video of the activity. In retrospect I think this was a mating ritual – it was possibly trying to show to the female (presumed this bird was a male) that it was good at collecting nesting material. The song was to bring attention to the activity and the repeated nature of rubbing the material a ‘show’. They then all flew off towards the nearby jungle…”

2. Crimson Sunbird (Aethopyga siparaja siparaja) – adult male calls
Limestone hills surrounding, Ipoh City, Perak, Malaysia
Buddhist Monastery at limestone hills with cave temples
Mid-morning, light just coming over limestone hills
12th August 2012

“The calls of the Crimson Sunbird are not documented well locally (no record in Wells 2007). They are often made by the adult male and are high pitched. They are made either in: shorter group of 3-5 calls, more spaced out, and with 3 different notes (717_AmarSingh_120812_calls-1a_Ipoh-Perak-Malaysia_limestone-hilles); a rapid run of 9-15 which are quickly repeated and come in 2 different notes (717_AmarSingh_120812_calls-5a_Ipoh-Perak-Malaysia_limestone-hilles), which has only been altered by noise removal and amplification but the sequence remains intact. They sound almost continuous but there is a pause between runs; or a mixture of both (717_AmarSingh_120812_calls-3a_Ipoh-Perak-Malaysia_limestone-hilles)

3. Scaly-Breasted Munia (Lonchura punctulata) – juvenile
Ipoh City, Perak, Malaysia
22th August 2010

“I have often seen the impossible task a single Scaly-Breasted Munia parent has to feed 4 juveniles. Occasionally we get this at our home and watching the mom tray and feed 4 demanding youngsters has led my wife to call her the “super mom” I have usually seen a single parent (assumed female) responsible for the job. … attached an audio recording of the event – a loud delightful ruckus of demands “feed me, feed me…!” 760_AmarSingh_220810_juvenile-feeding-frenzy-1a_Ipoh-Perak-Malaysia_urban-garden

4. Savannah Nightjar (Caprimulgus affinis) – courtship battle
Ipoh City, Perak, Malaysia
9th October 2010

“…The Savannah Nightjars are generally quiet but I have head occasional calls at night at our home. I have also heard calls when watching at the nesting/roosting site but these are usually single and uttered out of concern at my presence. It is documented that they do call loudly (Wells 1999) but the function is unknown.
More often we have seen them foraging silently at our home.

“We …spotted 3 Savannah Nightjar in flight, circling around. One was chasing another and the third was following the first two. The adult chasing was calling out repeatedly as it chased the first bird all over the neighbourhood 469_AmarSingh_call-3_Ipoh-Perak-Malaysia_urban. It appeared to be a ‘fight’ over a female (the third bird following). Of course lighting was limited and I could not see tail feathers well enough to distinguish male and female. But the way the second adult was chasing the first, with the third following, it did appear to be a ‘fight’ for a mate.

“I do not think this was territorial as I have seen them repeatedly roost/nest very close to each other. We watched for 3-4 minutes and when we left the activity had not ended and the bird was still calling out continually and the chase had not ended.”

5. Chestnut-naped Forktail (Enicurus ruficapillus)
Kledang-Sayong Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Rushing stream in dense primary forest near a trail
5th November 2011

“My ‘relationship’ with Chestnut-naped Forktail goes back many years. I know a number of locations in the Kledang-Sayong Forest Reserve, at rushing streams, where these magnificent, but shy birds reside. They are very localised. I have been stopping by at these sites on almost every visit. Often I am rewarded with a ‘danger call’ and a flash of white. After which all I might get are some calls from the undergrowth adjacent to the streams. This is classical behaviour (see post 2) and makes watching difficult as their high pitched call is hard to localise in the undergrowth… I have often met them in pairs, occasionally alone and I have seen a juvenile in October (06/10/1994). Today was unusual – I had a 25 minute encounter with 2 birds. They allowed me to watch them forage from a distance. I managed to inch closer (ruining my pants) and get extended views. Images are very limited due to it being early (9am) and the dark canopy. I was not about to flash them as I have just managed to establish some contact. Unexpectedly both appeared female. One is possibly an adult female and
the other an immature.

“Tried a few videos as well and managed to record the typical tail flick – up and over, with the tail split as it is flicked. Note the other bird that flashes by calling out. Also another short clip of the bird unusually perched unmoved on a rock by the stream.

“…a composite of audio recordings of calls (rushing stream noise suppressed, amplified). The calls are often described as three shrill whistles, but often they can be many more notes (4-9). 932_AmarSingh_051111_call-1a_KSFR-Ipoh-Perak-Malaysia_forest

6. Rhinoceros Hornbill (Buceros rhinoceros rhinoceros) – family group foraging
Taiping Foothill, Perak, Malaysia
Extensive, mature park adjacent to primary jungle
Mid-morning, cloudy with drizzle
20th August 2012

“We visited my wife’s hometown to cycle in the beautify Taiping lake Gardens. When we had finished and were just leaving the park, we heard the loud calls of hornbills. We ditched the car and searched on foot and found them up a small hill in the centre of the park foraging on fruit … It was family unit of 3 with the juvenile still having a straight-prowed casque. Foliage was too thick for good picture but observations were great.

Tried a video of the adult male feeding, see:

“I heard the female or juvenile (hard to determine which as were in same part of the tree) make an odd sound, a wheezing call. Could [not] believe it at first but in Wells 1999 recorded that Johns in 1981 noted a wheezing noise made by female when receiving food in nest. Unfortunately the calls when right through my recording with other background sounds. Hence not able to reduce background noise. Amplified recording for what it’s worth attached – 527_AmarSingh_200812_adult-female-or-juvenile-call-1_Taiping-Perak-Malaysia-park.

7. Black-and-yellow Broadbill (Eurylaimus ochromalus)
Kledang-Sayong Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Trail in dense primary forest
Late morning, bright day
26th August 2012

“The bird I saw was an adult male, sitting in the shade of a
tree along the trail and spent much of the time preening. There were at least two from the calls: classical loud, long ascending calls (602_AmarSingh_adult-male-call-2d_KSFR-Ipoh-Perak-Malaysia_forest) and screeching mew (602_AmarSingh_adult-male-call-1d_KSFR-Ipoh-Perak-Malaysia_forest). Many of the calls were a ‘duet’ with one bird starting and the other joining in, responding or competing. The screeching mew were made before the ascending calls. There was a rapid transition from the mewing to the other calls. Calls amplified and had noise reduction applied.”

8. Stork-billed Kingfisher (Halcyon capensis malaccensis)
Limestone hills surrounding, Ipoh City, Perak, Malaysia
Limestone hills with large ex-mining pools
Early morning, light still low, shade of a Rain Tree
12th August 2012

“Often seen the White-throated Kingfisher doing the mating display with calls but seldom seen the Stork-billed Kingfisher do this. Have heard the mating-territorial calls often but not at a close distance. Saw 2 adult Stork-billed Kingfishers ‘competing’ with loud calls (499_AmarSingh_120812_display-call-2_Ipoh-Perak-Malaysia_limestone-hills) and poor handheld video below – damaged by a bike passing). In the audio you can hear the two birds trying to outdo each other. Went on for about 10-11 minutes. One was near to me under the dark canopy of a Rain Tree and it would open the wings wide, lift up the tail while making these screeching calls. Video:”

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
September 2012

2 Responses

  1. Wendy Chin, Langkawi

    Thank you for sharing this, Dato Dr Amar Singh. The calls are helpful for amateurs like us 😉

    • Amar-Singh HSS (Dato, Dr)

      Dear Wendy

      Thanks for appreciation, valued.
      No amateurs or experts – all of us on a learning curve. The amount we know about most birds is small as we watch so little of their lives. I am surprised by the variety in behaviours and calls, even in birds I though I knew well. Every person makes a meaningful contribution.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.