Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike

posted in: birds, Miscellaneous | 0

Saw 5 Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrikes (Hemipus picatus intermedius) in a family/social unit.

Post 1 (above) is of an adult female.

Post 2 of a juvenile/immature.

Post 3 – I suspect is also a juvenile/immature.


Amar-Singh HSS (Dato’ Dr) – Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Location: 1,800m ASL, Cameron Highlands, Pahang, Malaysia

Habitat: Trail through primary jungle

Date: 24th September 2020

Equipment: Equipment: Nikon D500 SLR with Nikon AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR, handheld with Rode VideoMic Pro Plus Shotgun Microphone

Green Iora

posted in: birds, Miscellaneous | 0

Green Ioras (Aegithina viridissima viridissima) are not uncommon birds but hard to watch or image well as they are high canopy species and blend well with the forest green.

Had a small group of 4 today that were much lower (usually social group in my experiences is 5-7 birds).

The broad, bright yellow upper and lower eye lids (Wells 2007) are what make the male stand out, even in the shade.

The commonest prey taken is insect and they will spend much time looking under leaves and inspecting the foliage; all the while calling out (contact calls).

Common member of mixed foraging parties, and on this occasion with Ruby-cheeked Sunbirds (Chalcoparia singalensis).

Amar-Singh HSS (Dato’ Dr) – Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Location: Ulu-Kinta, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Habitat: Mixed Secondary and primary forest

Date: 28th May 2020

Equipment: Equipment: Nikon D500 SLR with Nikon AF-S 105mm f/2.8G VR IF-ED


Hybrid or Variant Spectacled Bulbul?

posted in: birds, Hybridisation, Intraspecific | 0

The Spectacled Bulbul (Rubigula erythropthalmos erythropthalmos) is a common forest bulbul that I have seen very often. The striking feature is the yellow-orange eyelid-rims. The rest of the bird’s plumage is olive-brown with paler underparts (see bird in image below).

Occasionally I have seen some birds with faint yellow streaks in the breast (see bird in image below) but this is uncommon. Birds of the World (2020) describes the bird as “… breast grey, browner at side and on flanks, infused with pale creamy yellow; belly and undertail-coverts creamy white …”. However, Wells (2007) describes them as “… centre breast grey, browner at the sides and on flanks; and belly and lower tail-coverts plain creamy white …

In September 2021, at the Ulu Kinta Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia, I saw a bird (see bird in image below) with a yellow lower belly and yellow under tail-coverts. I wonder if this is a hybrid bird of some variant? If this is a hybrid, it is possibly a hybrid with a Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier analis), in view of limited other plumage changes.

The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World (2021) does not list any known hybrids for either the Spectacled Bulbul or the Yellow-vented Bulbul. But reports of hybrids with the Yellow-vented Bulbul do exist (see below)

Bulbul hybrids are known for some species, for example:

  • Light-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis) hybrids with Styan’s Bulbul (Pycnonotus taivanus) are well known.
  • Hybrids of Red-whiskered Bulbuls (Pycnonotus jocosus) in captivity are well known. Techachoochert and Round (2013) describe a number of these hybridisation activities (Red-vented Bulbul P. cafer, White-eared Bulbul P. leucotis, White-spectacled Bulbul P. xanthopygos, Black-crested Bulbul P. melanicterus, Himalayan Bulbul P. leucogenys, Stripe-throated Bulbuls P. finlaysoni, Yellow-vented Bulbuls P. goiavier).
  • Bird Ecology Study Group (2009) reported breeding between a Sooty-headed Bulbul (Pycnonotus aurigaster) and a Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier).
  • More examples of hybrid bulbuls in the eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World (2021).

I value hearing the experience of other bird watchers on plumage variation in Spectacled Bulbuls and possibly hybrid sightings.


  1. Fishpool, L. and J. Tobias (2020). Spectacled Bulbul (Rubigula erythropthalmos), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (J. del Hoyo, A. Elliott, J. Sargatal, D. A. Christie, and E. de Juana, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.
  2. Wells, D.R. (2007). The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula: Vol. 2 (Passerines). Christopher Helm, London.
  3. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2021. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2021. Downloaded from

  1. eBird. Light-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis)

  1. Techachoochert and Round (2013). Red-whiskered Bulbul: are trapping and unregulated avicultural practices pushing this species towards extinction in Thailand? BirdingASIA 20 (2013): 49–52

  1. Bird Ecology Study Group Insight into the mixed-species bulbul breeding (2009)


Amar-Singh HSS (Dato’ Dr) – Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia


Asian Fairy Bluebird – calls and feeding

posted in: birds, Feeding-plants, Vocalisation | 0

Asian Fairy Bluebirds (Irena puella malayensis) have a wider range of calls. This adult male was singing high in the canopy for an extended period. It was a collection of whistles and ‘whit’s and other notes strung together almost continually. Many occurring at high frequency.

A call recording is located here: A sonogram and wave of a short segment is posted above.

I watched them feed and the Ficus fruit was crushed before swallowing (see composite image above).


Amar-Singh HSS (Dato’ Dr)

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia


Location: Kledang-Sayong Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Habitat: Trail along primary jungle

Date: 15th October 2019

Equipment: Nikon D500 SLR with Nikon AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR, handheld



Daurian Starling/Purple-backed Starling

posted in: birds | 0

Large flocks of Daurian Starling/Purple-backed Starling (Agropsar sturninus) at this wetlands site. The flock I was watching had in excess of 95 birds.

They forage both on fruit and insects. For insects they behave like a “mixed foraging party of birds”, swarming through a tree, checking under foliage.

In the image below, you can see one checking out a spider’s nest.


Amar-Singh HSS (Dato’ Dr)

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia


Location: Malim Nawar Wetlands, Perak, Malaysia

Habitat: Extensive ex-tin mining area with pond/lakes, wetlands, fish farming

Date: 2nd January 2019

Equipment: Nikon D500 SLR with Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD, handheld


Red Junglefowl – females

posted in: birds, Morphology-Develop. | 0

I went back to the location where I had seen (and posted) an odd adult female Red Junglefowl (Gallus gallus spadiceus) with a comb. On this occasion the adult male bird had a three female harem all which looked a bit odd – with white ear-lappets of different sizes and combs of different sizes. The male (shown in the composite with the three different females) and is also quite a dandy.

Amar-Singh HSS (Dato’ Dr)

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia


Location: Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Habitat: Secondary growth at city fringe

Date: 4th November 2019

Equipment: Nikon D500 SLR with Nikon AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR, handheld


Red-flanked Bluetail or Orange-flanked Bush-robin

posted in: birds, Miscellaneous | 0

An adult male (above) and female (below) Red-flanked Bluetail (Tarsiger cyanurus); also called the Orange-flanked Bush-robin.

Amar-Singh HSS (Dato’ Dr)

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia


Location: East Hokkaido, Japan

Date: 5th June 2019

Equipment: Nikon D500 SLR with Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD, handheld with Rode VideoMic Pro Plus Shotgun Microphone


Black-headed Munia/Chestnut Munia – nest

posted in: birds, Nests | 0

A Black-headed Munia (Lonchura malacca sinensis) nest located 2 meters up in a bush overhanging a mining pool. Still active and may require a visit when the birds have fledged for measurements (none available locally).


Amar-Singh HSS (Dato’ Dr)

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia


Location: Malim Nawar Wetlands, Perak, Malaysia

Habitat: Extensive ex-tin mining area with pond/lakes, wetlands, fish farming

Date: 25th April 2019

Equipment: Nikon D500 SLR with Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD, handheld with Rode VideoMic Pro Plus Shotgun Microphone


Little Heron (Striated Heron) – courtship behaviour and mating plumage

posted in: birds, Morphology-Develop., Vocalisation | 0

I watched the courtship behaviour of the Little Heron (Butorides striata javanica) over some time. I initially spotted two birds chasing each other over a pond and thought I was watching competition for feeding grounds (chase-flights). But when they landed together on a tree I spotted the mating plumage in one of the birds (presumed male) and also observed courtship interaction. The presumed male had bright red legs and facial skin (especially in front of the eye) was deep red. The red extended to the angel of the mouth and even under the beak. The rest of the plumage was also in ‘peak’ condition with a long crown crest and nice elongated feathers on the back. This is the mating plumage for the species (above, below).

The ‘partner’ (presumed female) also had similar mating plumage but the colour intensity was lighter, more pink; the crown crest was shorter (no good images, hidden in the foliage).

The presumed male did this curious courtship ‘dance’ four times. It would point the beak skyward with the neck in s-curve posture and then sway side to side (a stretch display with a side-to-side swaying component). Intermittently it would give out a deep guttural sound; heard this 6 times (below shows the waveform/sonogram and edited audio recording – a low frequency call). The presumed female watched the displays intently and at one point became all flustered up with raised heckles. They then flew off and did another ‘chase’ with classical calls around the pond before disappearing into another tree.

The IUCN-SCC Heron Specialist Group, regarding Butorides striata, states that “Pairing birds give simultaneous Snap and Stretch displays, which lack a side-to-side swaying component.” (The IUCN-SCC Heron Specialist Group. Heron Conservation: Striated Heron; available here: My observations support that a side-to-side swaying component is part of courtship, at least for this subspecies. A short still images to video of the stretch display with side-to-side swaying involving 7 frames can be seen here:


I would like to point out another breeding/mating plumage feature that I missed. A bird watching colleague who saw the same bird a day later managed to image the bird in better light (mine were in bright light & affected by foliage) and pointed it out to me. I went back to look at all my images and recognised that what I had thought was light reflection from the water was actual a colour change. Note that, in both posts below, the bird has developed a yellow-orange change to the front of the breast involving the usual white patch. My colleague’s image shows that the white become yellow and the stripes become orange. Note in the close-up image (at the bottom of the page) that the yellow colour change extends to the throat and the side of the face.

Amar-Singh HSS (Dato’ Dr)

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia


Habitat: Secondary growth at city fringe

Date: 10th January 2019

Equipment: Nikon D500 SLR with Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD, handheld



Red-throated Barbet – male

posted in: birds, Sex | 0

This was an unexpected sighting of the Red-throated Barbet (Megalaima mystacophanos mystacophanos). I was at the fringe of the city at an old run-down orchard (within the restrictions of our partial lockdown) when this bird flew in.

It had come to feed on Soursop fruit of the Annona muricata. I am more accustomed to seeing it in forest but it is known to visit fruiting trees in gardens and villages. It seemed unafraid. Some images of the male.


Amar-Singh HSS (Dato’ Dr) – Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Habitat: Urban environment

Date: 21st May 2020

Equipment: Equipment: Nikon D500 SLR with Nikon AF-S 105mm f/2.8G VR IF-ED


26 Responses

  1. kris

    I just found a young dollarbird in the garden.. It seems to have left the nest too early and cannot fly yet. How am i to keep and feed it for a few days untill it can fly.???

  2. Iwan

    We have a small pond in our garden surrounded by trees and steep bedrock. The other day we saw a heron flying over and attempting to land – I guess to try to eat our small stock of fish. We managed to frighten it away before it landed, and have since installed trip wires around the pond in order to dissuade the bird. The amount of shelter around the pond means that a heron would have to land practically vertically. Does anyone know whether these birds have the agility to hover and land in this way, or do they always need a “glidepath” in order to land successfully?

  3. Khng Eu Meng

    Today, at the former Bidadari Cemetery, there was a buzz about a sighting of a Grey Nightjar (Caprimulgus jotaka). I heard some birders say this nightjar isn’t commonly seen in Singapore. After some hunting, we spotted it asleep on a tree branch, some 15 m above ground. This was rather interesting as my previous encounters with nightjars have been on either terra firma or on low branches.

    Is this perching so high up the tree normal or is it unusual? I have posted a photo of it on my Facebook Timeline:

  4. Jess

    Bird Sanctuary At Former Bidadari Cementry

    1)Which is the best spot in Bidadari cemetery for bird watch?

    2)Where this bird usually resident at?

    3)What are some of the rare bird species that can be found at Bidadari?

    4)Where is the particular hot spot for the hornbills, eagles, kingfishers and some of the rare migratory bird?

    5)Which part of Bidadari are richest in it wildlife?

    6)Can you name me the 59 migratory bird species found?

  5. YC

    Why not search the website using the word ‘Bidadari’ to obtain the information you need. There should be sufficient info in past postings to satisfy you.

  6. Firdaus Razak

    Hai, I just want to ask did anybody had an experience bring bird from oversea via MasKargo? Did the bird will stress at high altitude?

  7. Chung Wah

    Hi, I am new to bird photography! Could anyone advise a good pair of binoculars to get for this hobby?

  8. Geam Liang

    I ‘acquired’ a female Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot 5 days ago – was in a public place when the bird flew overhead hit the wall and dropped right in front of me dazed. I picked it up, it appeared unhurt but could not sustain it’s flight. I have since constructed a fairly large ‘cage’ for it, about 4ft x 2fx x 2ft and placed it there last night. I temporarily placed her in a normal bird cage until I had completed the build.
    From what I have read up, it’s a fruit, seed and insect feeder and also nectar, flower buds. It’s doing as well as it can on bananas, papaya, jack-fruit (didn’t touch the grape) and seeds (black and white sunflower and other smaller ones). It loves to bathe so I’ve gotten it a tray and from what I read it’s important to keep things clean as it easily succumbs to infection.
    Does anyone else have any useful experience and sharing on it’s upkeep? I suspect this bird is an escapee – as far as I can read up, it’s not common, if at all, found in Georgetown, Penang where I am. I’m also not optimistic that it can survive if I were to set it free – assuming it can sustain it’s flight and not go crashing down and if there were dogs/cats around that would be the end of it.
    I can attach some pictures but not sure how to do this…

  9. Lee Chiu San

    The blue-crowned hanging parrot, even though very closely related to the lovebirds, is a nectar feeder. You would raise it the way you raise a lorikeet – which is a messy process. And because you are mixing batches of food for just one little bird, whereas I used to do it for about half a dozen pigeon-sized lorikeets each morning, I don’t know how you are going to get the portions down to manageable sizes. Anyway, here goes, with my recipe for feeding big lories. You can adjust the proportions down accordingly for your little bird.

    The staple diet would be a couple of slices of soft fruit (papaya, apple, grapes, even though I am surprised that you said the bird would not eat any) and a mixture of cooked rice sweetened with nectar mix.

    How to make nectar mix? Go to a pharmacy and get a can of food for invalids or infants. I use Complan, but I am sure any good baby formula would do. I usually make up enough to fill a beer mug, but there is no way you need that amount for a day’s feeding. If in doubt, make the mixture thinner, not thicker. Birds cannot digest baby formula that is too thick. If it is too thin, they simply have to consume more to get the required amount of energy. Then to this mug, add half a teaspoonful of rose syrup. Also stir in about a cup of cooked rice, well mashed up.

    In the case of your bird, I suggest that you pour this lot into an ice-cube tray, freeze the mixture, and defrost one cube to feed it each day.

    Now, you said that this bird eats sunflower seeds. This is most unusual for a blue-crowned hanging parrot. Are you sure that this is actually the species you have? Could it be possible that you have actually got a pet lovebird that escaped? There are so many different artificially-created breeds of lovebirds in so many colours that you might have been mistaken.

    If you actually have a lovebird, feeding is much simpler. Just go to the nearest pet shop, buy a packet of budgerigar or cockatiel seed of a reputable international brand, and offer it to the bird. You can supplement this with a couple of slices of fruit each day, and that will be all. Plus of course fresh water and a piece of cuttlefish bone to nibble on.

  10. Lee Chiu San

    About nectar feeding birds. I forgot to add that feeding nectar is messy, and it goes rancid very quickly in our tropical weather. Feeding containers have to be removed and thoroughly cleaned at the end of each day. The birds also splatter the mixture and wipe their beaks on perches and the bars of the cage. All my lories and lorikeets used to be housed in outdoor aviaries which were hosed down daily.

    If Geam Liang does not think the bird will survive if released, I really hope that it is a case of mistaken identity, and that you have a lovebird, rather than a blue-crowned hanging parrot. In our part of the world, all available lovebirds are domestically bred, take to captivity readily, and are easy to feed with commercially available seed mixtures. Yes, and being domestic pets, they would not survive if released.

  11. Geam Liang

    Thank you Chiu San for your inputs. Thus far, bananas and papayas work well. I’m not sure why it did not take to grapes – will try again. Am I supposed to peel it? I didn’t the last time, basically skewered a couple of grapes to a satay stick and positioned it as I did for the sliced and skinned papaya and peeled bananas.
    I have yet to try rice and certainly not nectar but will try out your concoction – have half a mind to go to a pet shop to see if they carry nectar for birds. The ice-cube freeze method is a good one, will try that. I might be mistaken on the sunflower seeds… not touched but it did eat the much smaller roundish, mixed colored seeds. Will remove the sunflower seeds.
    I’m sure it’s a female blue crowned hanging parrot.. it sleeps like a bat every night.

  12. Lee Chiu San

    When feeding local birds which are unfamiliar with imported fruits such as grapes, it helps to split the fruits to expose the edible parts. As to your remark that the bird sleeps hanging upside down like a bat, yes, that is the way blue-crowned hanging parrots sleep.

  13. Geam Liang

    Thanks… I need to think like a bird – yup. She has probably not seen a grape much less know that it’s edible, unless the previous owner has fed her with grapes… even then… Today she’s done pretty well making the most of the banana and all of the papaya plus quite a bit of seeds. Will try the baby food + mashed rise + rose syrup.
    Will regular honey do instead of rose syrup?

  14. Lee Chiu San

    About making nectar to feed birds. Most aviculturalists do not use honey for two reasons: 1. It is expensive and does not seem to give any added benefits. 2. Honey is made by bees, and the composition varies wildly. Some honeys are also known to cause fungal infection in birds.

    If you do not want to buy a huge bottle of rose syrup just for one tiny bird, there are cheaper alternatives. The first is plain table sugar, though most don’t seem to like it very much.

    What many birds will accept quite readily as a sweetener is condensed milk – the type with sugar that coffee shop owners use.

    Many, many birds have a sweet tooth (or should I say sweet beak?) Besides the usual suspects of lories, lorikeets, sunbirds and hummingbirds, for whom it is an essential part of the diet, nectar mixture is readily consumed by mynahs, leafbirds, fairy bluebirds, barbets, doves, parrots of all kinds, and a whole host of other species.

  15. Geam Liang

    I tried the condensed mild, placed in in a small bottle cap.. only the ants showed interest. Am I supposed to dilute it? I didn’t =( I took you advice and refrained from honey. Have yet to find Rose Syrup from the shelves of TESCO… will try to mix the baby food + mashed rise + rose syrup/sugar syrup this week…

  16. David Thackray

    Can anyone help me identify a bird I saw in Singapore last week. Size of a smakll dove or thrush. Dark metallic back. Grey breast with red throat, chest.

  17. Emily Koh

    Lately I bought a bird feeder which I fill with 4parts water n 1 part white sugar. Sunbirds come regularly to drink and they are really lovely to watch. May I know if it is bad for them to feed on this? Previously they would sometimes pierce and drink from my potted flowers

  18. Emily Koh

    Lately I bought a bird feeder which I fill with 4parts water n 1 part white sugar. Sunbirds come regularly to drink and they are really lovely to watch. May I know if it is bad for them to feed on this? Previously they would sometimes pierce and drink from my potted flowers.

  19. Mahadevi Bhuti

    One of best souce for the bird watcher’s enjoying knowledge about ornithology

  20. Martin Nyffeler (PhD)

    Dear Sir / Dear Madame,

    I am a Senior Lecturer in Zoology at a University in Switzerland and I urgently need to get in touch with photographer Chan Yoke Meng, who takes beautiful photographs of birds near Singapore. Would you please mail me the email address of this photographer!


  21. Wee Ming

    Hello Besgroup,

    Trust this email finds you well. We chance upon your photograph on your website and found the amazing image of the Laced Woodpecker and durians. We would like to explore the possibility of getting permission to use them for a new Bird Park in Singapore.

    Spacelogic is a company based in Singapore and we have been contracted by Mandai Park Development to carry out design and build works relating to the exhibition interpretive displays in this new Bird Park.

    Some background of the new Mandai Bird Park project; it will build upon the legacy of the Jurong Bird Park – by retaining and building upon a world-reference bird collection and creating a place of colour and joy for all visitors. The new Bird Park will have a world-reference ornithological collection displayed in a highly immersive way with large walk-through habitats. To enhance visitors’ experience with storyline and narrative of the bird park, transition spaces are added to display exhibits that provide a varied type of fun, intuitive, interactive and educational experiences for all visitors. One of the habitats features the Laced Woodpecker on a flora panel It is in this flora panel that we are seeking your permission to feature the Laced Woodpecker. We are looking to use the first image on the link here.
    Link can be found here:

    We would like to ask if this is something that we can explore further and if yes, how can we go about with putting through a formal permission request. Thank you so much for considering our request and we look forward to hearing from you.

    Warmest Regards,
    Wee Ming
    SPACElogic Pte Ltd

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