Update on the Diet of the Crimson Sunbird Aethopyga siparaja siparaja

posted in: bird, crimson sunbird | 0
Image 1: A self-feeding juvenile male taking nectar from Holmskioldia sanguinea (Chinese Top Hat plant). 30th May 2022.
Image 2: An adult male taking nectar from Callistemon sp. (Bottlebrush). 30th May 2022.

The Crimson Sunbird Aethopyga siparaja siparaja is a reasonably common sunbird and I often observe it at the fringes of Ipoh city and in ‘wilder’ gardens. I had an opportunity in the past week (last week of May 2022) to have some extended observations. This short note is to update the food sources for the species that I have observed with a brief review of the literature.

Food Items Personally Observed

  1. Callistemon species(Bottlebrush) – an exotic plant, nectar feeding, conventional technique.
  2. Acacia mangium– nectar feeding, conventional technique.
  3. A wild Ipomoea species – nectar feeding, conventional technique.
  4. Holmskioldia sanguinea(Chinese Top Hat plant) – an exotic plant, nectar feeding, conventional technique, a particular favourite of this sunbird.
  5. Bauhinia blakeana(Hong Kong Orchid Tree) – exotic plant, nectar feeding, conventional technique.
  6. Combretum constrictum (Powderpuff Combretum) – exotic plant, nectar feeding, conventional technique.
  7. Manihot esculenta Cassava Flower; local name Pokok Ubi Gajah) – native plant, nectar feeding, conventional technique.
  8. Malvaviscus arboreus(Wax Mallow or Ladies Teardrop) – exotic plant, nectar feeding, conventional technique.
  9. Hibiscus rosa-sinensis(Hibiscus ‘Brilliant’ cultivar) – native distribution is uncertain, nectar feeding, nectar robbing technique.
  10. Dendrophthoe pentandra(Malayan Mistletoe) – native plant, nectar & fruit feeding, conventional technique.
  11. Scurrula ferruginea(Rusty-leaf Mistletoe) – native plant, nectar feeding, conventional technique.
  12. Averrhoa carambola(Starfruit tree) – native plant, nectar feeding, conventional technique.
  13. Euphorbia tithymaloides(Devil’s Backbone) – exotic plant, nectar feeding, conventional technique.
  14. Cocos nucifera(Coconut) – native plant, nectar feeding, conventional technique.
  15. Feeding on spiders at spider web.
  16. Feeding on an invertebrate/larvae.

Food Items from the Literature, Online Databases and brief Internet Image Search

  1. Nectar of the Etlingera elatior (Torch Ginger or Bunga Kantan) (Wee 2009)
  2. Nectar of the Mimusops elengi (Tanjong Tree, Bunga Tanjung or Spanish Cherry) (Efloraofindia)
  3. Nectar of the Poikilospermum suaveolens– flowers eaten (Wee YC 2017)
  4. Wells (2007) notes that the “flowers commonly visited include gingers and the lily Canna indica, robbed of nectar by being punctured through the corolla-base”.
  5. Cheke and Mann (2001) note that food sources include “Nectar, insects and spiders. Known food plants include Butea monospermaCannasp., Caryopteris sp., Erythrina indicaGliricida sp., Hibiscus sp., Leucosceptrum sp., unidentified mistletoes LoranthaceaePrunus sp., Salmaria malabaricaWoodfordia sp. and unidentified Zingiberaceae”.
  6. Lantanaspecies. (DreamTime)
  7. Heliconia species (Lobster claws flower) (Macaulay Library 2022).
  8. Strelitzia species (Bird of Paradise flower) (Macaulay Library 2022).
  9. Passiflora coccinea(Red Passion Flower) (Macaulay Library 2022).

There are more nectar sources seen on an online image search and in the Macaulay Library but I am not able to identify the plants. I am sure the nectar sources are more diverse than listed here and often opportunistic.

In summary, the diet appears to be predominantly nectar. I suspect we will see more animal prey (insects) when observing feeding of juveniles.


  1. Wee YC (2009). A male Crimson Sunbird and the torch ginger flowers. Bird Ecology Study Group. <https://besgroup.org/2009/01/09/a-male-crimson-sunbird-and-the-torch-ginger-flowers/>.
  2. efloraofindia – Database of Plants of Indian Subcontinent- developed by the members of Efloraofindia Google Group <https://sites.google.com/site/efloraofindia/species/m—z/s/sapotaceae/mimusops/mimusops-elengi>
  3. Wee YC (2017). Plant-Bird Relationship (Version 3.0). Bird Ecology Study Group. <https://besgroup.org/2017/10/01/plant-bird-relationship-version-3-0-2/>
  4. Wells, D.R. (2007). The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula: Vol. 2 (Passarines). Christopher Helm, London.
  5. Robert A Cheke, Clive F Mann, Richard Allen (2001). Sunbirds: A Guide to the Sunbirds, Flowerpeckers, Spiderhunters and Sugarbirds of the World. Helm Identification Guides.
  6. DreamTime stock image search. <https://www.dreamstime.com/crimson-sunbird-crimson-sunbird-aethopyga-siparaja-species-bird-sunbird-family-which-feed-female-has-image142609139>
  7. Macaulay Library (images filters for foraging or feeding) <https://search.macaulaylibrary.org/catalog?taxonCode=eacsun1&mediaType=photo&sort=rating_rank_desc&tag=foraging_eating>


Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia


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Nepenthes gracilis

posted in: pitcher plant, Plants | 0

Soh Kam Yung expressed his pleasure at seeing a pitcher plant in the wild (as opposed to seeing them planted by garden shops). This is a Slender Pitcher-Plant (Nepenthes gracilis), spotted while walking along the boardwalk at MacRichie Reservoir Park on 27 May 2022.

Photo 1. A pitcher twined around a plant support. Soh Kam Yung.


Photo 2. Slender Pitcher-Plant (Nepenthes gracilis), MacRitchie Reservoir Park, 27 May 2022. Soh Kam Yung.

Interesting snippets:  Pitcher plants are carnivorous plants which trap insects inside the pitcher.  The insects slide down the slippery sides and are then digested by enzymes secreted inside the pitchers. This is a feeding strategy deployed by these plants which thrive in poor soil conditions. Nepenthes ampullaria and Nepenthes rafflesiana are more in demand as plant pets and thus are less often encountered. Well-informed readers always take away photographic memories and leave the pitchers to grow in their natural habitats.


  1. Pitcher plants at Tuas wetland https://besgroup.org/2007/08/04/tuas-another-wetland-reclaimed/
  2. Biodiversity of Singapore: An encyclopedia of the Natural Environment and Sustainable Development © 2011 Edited by: Peter KL Ng, Richard T. Corlett and Hugh T. W. Tan


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Java Sparrow Padda oryzivora Nesting

posted in: bird, Java sparrow | 0


Photo 1: Java sparrow nesting in a wall drainage pipe that is possibly blocked.

I have observed a number of Java Sparrows Padda oryzivora nesting in the past. Nests in Ipoh are usually located in the holes and crevices of the abundant limestone hills we have. One example can be found at this link (Amar 2016, https://besgroup.org/2016/04/20/java-sparrow-nesting/). I have on one occasion also observed a nest in a tree hole. The local Java Sparrow population appears to be thriving and I estimate more than 400 birds in the city based on mass roosting and feeding site observations.

 On 26th May 2022 I observed a pair building a nest in a less common site – a wall drainage pipe that is possibly blocked (see image 1). What was also unusual was that the hole was located only 0.75 meters above the ground. Most nests I have seen previously are much higher up in limestone holes.


Islam (2021) describes (not in their native location) nests in the “under eaves of buildings, in horizontal pipes, unused electrical outlets, and other artificial crannies. Also in tree cavities and in palm treesnests are built 1–18 m above ground”. Wells (2007) notes that nesting sites have included “under house roof tiles, in ventilation spaces, nooks and crannies of building masonry, among roof supports, cavities of a limestone cliff face, and in abandoned woodpecker holes; 4-17 meters up”.

Photo 2: Both male and female are involved in bringing nest materials.

The pair I observed was actively bringing nesting material, and the material I could be sure of was Geijera parviflora leaves (an Australian willow, commonly known as Wilga). Both partners were involved in collecting nesting material (see image 2 and 3).

Photo 3: Nesting material was Geijera parviflora leaves (an Australian willow, commonly known as Wilga).

In the past I have seen nesting material that includes:

  1. Bamboo leaves – a favourite nesting material.
  2. Geijera parviflora leaves (Wilga).
  3. Paspalum conjugatum (Buffalo/Hilo Grass).
  4. Other long trailing grasses.
  5. Discarded plastic strips.
  6. A colleague has seen them stealing material from Myna nests.

 I have not been able to see the shape or size of any nest as they are always deep in the cavity. In this case the height and width (but not the length) of the nest can be inferred from the pipe diameter; assuming no deeper cavity within.

On this occasion I only saw two birds involved in nest construction. In the past I have observed helpers.

 Nest Observation Disclosure:

I observed the nest twice on the same morning for brief periods of 20-30 minutes each. I kept 7-8 meters away and made sure the birds were comfortable with my presence (continued with nesting activities). I limited the number of images I took and no flash was used.


  1. Amar-Singh HSS (2016). Java Sparrow nesting. Bird Ecology Study Group. https://besgroup.org/2016/04/20/java-sparrow-nesting/
  2. Islam, K. (2021). Java Sparrow (Padda oryzivora), version 1.1. In Birds of the World (S. M. Billerman, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.javspa.01.1
  3. Wells, D.R. (2007). The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula: Vol. 2 (Passarines). Christopher Helm, London.
  4. Amar-Singh HSS (2018). Java Sparrow – nesting material. Bird Ecology Study Group. https://besgroup.org/2018/09/07/java-sparrow-nesting-material-2/
  5. Amar-Singh HSS (2017). Java Sparrow – nesting material. Bird Ecology Study Group. https://besgroup.org/2017/10/03/java-sparrow-nesting-material/

 Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia


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Long-tailed macaque feeds on durian

posted in: Feeding-plants, Mammals | 0

The spiky durian fruit is in season again.  While Homo sapiens residing in Singapore wait for shipments to arrive from Malaysia and happily pay more than S$40 per kg (whole fruit weight), the long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) forage for them in the nature reserves.  Below are facial expressions of two lucky monkeys.

Photo 1: A long-tailed macaque feeds on a durian (Durio zibethinus) at Dairy Farm Nature Reserve. 22 May 2022. Courtesy of Siew Mun
Photo 2 : Courtesy of Geri Lim. 22 May 2022.


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Sunbird removing faecal sacs

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Sunbirds have been building their nests on my bedroom balcony ceiling for 12 years . I think it’s because we have ginger flowers in the planter around the balcony. The first nest appeared soon after we planted the ginger flowers ( Heliconia sp.) .

We realized they build their nests from hanging plants and there is a corner of the balcony they favor so we put a money plant (Epipremnum sp.)there to entice them.

On 10 April 2022, the female started her building and the nest was completed around 20 April when I spotted her sitting inside the nest.

Not sure when the egg/s hatched as I can’t see inside the nest and don’t want to cause any disturbance.  All the photographs and videos were taken behind glass with an iphone in Tanglin.

Olive-backed sunbirds are known to complete the nest building one week before they lay their eggs. The 2 week incubation period is followed by nestling care for 2-3 weeks before they fledge. Egg incubation in this bird couple could have begun on 28 April 2022.

Photo 1: The female sunbird laying the first foundation.
Photo 2: The female sunbird hard at work.
Photo 3: The female sunbird sitting inside the completed nest.
Photo 4: The nestling protrudes its rear towards its mother and extrudes a faecal sac.
Photo 5: The mother bird removes the faecal sac from the nestling


Video 1 showing female parent bird removing faecal sac from a nestling. 19 May 2022.

Video 2 shows the female parent coaxing the hidden nestling to extrude a faecal sac and then flying off with it. 19 May 2022.


Jean Ho


19 May 2022.


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Plain Sunbird Anthreptes simplex Nesting

posted in: bird, Nesting | 0

A few of us observed a pair of Plain Sunbird Anthreptes simplex nesting today (19th May 2022) at the fringe of a forest reserve in Ipoh, Perak. There are limited reports of nesting of this species and this is a preliminary report on this nesting episode.

Nest Location

The nest was located approximately 11-12 meters, high up in a tree (species unknown, although the leaves did look like that of the Durio species). A prior nesting report (Wells 2007) described a nest suspended 3.5 meters up an Acacia mangium tree. This nest was hidden under a thin branch, sheltered by the leaves, on the outer part of the foliage.

Nest structure

The nest is globular and appeared to be made of grass and fibre; it was still green. It is possible that some moss is used. The nest has been described in the past (Cheke & Mann 2001) as untidy, with material sticking out in all directions. But this nest appears quite neat. As previously noted, there is no eave or ‘porch’.

Nesting Observations

The height made observations difficult. I used my Nikon P900 to get closer videos and longer observations. I have edited a lot of footage to give a few nest visits, so as to provide an idea of the behaviour of the birds. Note that the video shown here is at normal speed.

  1. Both the adult male and female visited the nest.
  2. No nesting material was brought by either partner, suggesting that nest building is completed.
  3. As the nest opening is on the side and not in view, we were not able to determine if there were any chicks.
  1. However we are not able to understand the behaviour of the birds. Most of the visits are extremely brief. Many were fluttering episodes that did not reach the nest (only a tiny fraction of these are shown on this video). Some appeared to be nest ‘observations’, where the bird looks at the nest. Some nest visits may have been feeding episodes but none of us saw any food in the beaks.
  2. This behaviour was occurring even at the start of our observation and the birds were not disturbed by observers (we were situated too far below). The behaviour went on intermittently for 2 hours of our observation.
  1. If you look at the video, at the end, I have included a segment to show that there are Oecophylla smaragdinaants (Weaver Ant, Tailor Ant, Kerengga) at the nest. I do not think this is a problem as I have observed Brown-throated Sunbirds Anthreptes malacensispreferentially nesting in trees with these ants (Amar 2016).

Could the birds have been feeding nectar that we could not see?

Perhaps Plain Sunbirds do not nest near Kerengga ants and the parents were showing distress behaviour due to the ants’ presence (? attacking juveniles).

We hope further observation will make this unusual behaviour clearer.

Photo 1: adult at nest.
Photo 2: adult fluttering below nest.
Photo 3: adult inspecting nest.


  1. Wells, D.R. (2007). The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula: Vol. 2 (Passarines). Christopher Helm, London.
  2. Robert A Cheke, Clive F Mann, Richard Allen (2001). Sunbirds: A Guide to the Sunbirds, Flowerpeckers, Spiderhunters and Sugarbirds of the World. Helm Identification Guides.
  3. Amar-Singh HSS (2016). Brown-throated Sunbird – nesting. Bird Ecology Study Group.


Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

David Wells Responded on 20th May 2022:

>C.J. Hopwood’s description of his Myanmar nest says that it did have an eave,

>but identification of the nest occupant (shot) may not have been correct.
>Also, from its low position I wonder if what appears to be a hole is actually a true nest entrance?

>Perhaps an interlude in building, or it might have been disturbed?

Amar replied to David Wells on 20th May 2022:

Dear David,

Thank you for the kind and quick response.

I had read your write up on Hopwood’s description.

  1. As the nest material is still green, this must be a fresh nest – in construction or just finished
  2. We were alerted to the nest’s presence by the fluttering behaviour of the adults.
  3. It could be that the Oecophylla smaragdinaants have attacked or threatened the juveniles in the nest and hence the parents are agitated.

One colleague’s video showed one episode where it is possible an adult is picking off an ant.

  1. I did not understand your comment about “from its low position”?

As I mentioned the nest is very, very high up 11-12 meters (~40 feet).

The Nikon P900 (and 1000) cameras are superb as to their optical reach.


Amar gave an update on these nesting Plain Sunbird Anthreptes simplex on 22nd May 2022:

A visit on 20th May 2022 by Poon Kuan Yaow and Cheaw Hon Ming who originally saw the nest with me showed that there was no more adult activity.

Another visit on 21st May 2022 by Chiu Sein Chiong also reported no nest activity.


Either the chicks have fledged, which is unlikely given the green nature of the nest,or more likely the nest has been abandoned due to the red ants.



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Straw-headed bulbul (Pycnonotus zeylanicus) at Rifle Range Road

posted in: bird | 0

Straw-headed bulbuls, Pycnonotus zeylanicus, are vulnerable passerines of the Malay Peninsula, Singapore, Sumatra and Borneo. Measuring 28 – 29 cm, they are rather large birds and their unique feather patterns make them stand out.  Their melodious water gurgling songs attract trappers who sell them as cage-birds. Their populations are dwindling and concerted conservation efforts are required to prevent the extinction of this attractive song bird.

Sexes are similar although females may be slightly smaller. Primarily frugivorous taking figs, mistletoe fruits, wild ‘cherries’ also known as ‘buah cherry’ in Malaysia and Singapore (Muntingia calabara),fruits of the Ptychosperma macarthurii palm; nectar and flower buds. They are known to take spiders, beetles, bees, caterpillars, stick-insects, snails and small vertebrates like lizards. Young nestlings are fed quite exclusively a diet of protein-rich soft-bodied insects and fruits added to the diet gradually as the little birds get ready to fledge.  The fledglings are fed by their parents for up to a month.

Video by Dr. Leslie Kuek, taken on 16-5-2022, along Rifle Range Road. A pair of straw-headed bulbuls foraging on a Madagascar almond tree (Terminalia mantaly ‘Tricolor’).


  1. Handbook of the Birds of the World Vol. 10 © 1996
  2. Possible association between plantain squirrels and straw-headed bulbul foraging https://besgroup.org/2014/11/26/straw-headed-bulbuls-foraging/
  3. Straw-headed bulbul feeding chick https://besgroup.org/2013/07/15/straw-headed-bulbul-feeding-chick/
  4. Poaching of straw-headed bulbuls https://besgroup.org/2006/12/11/poaching-of-straw-headed-bulbul-111206/

Dusky Langur eating leaves

posted in: Dusky Langur, Feeding-plants, Mammals | 0

Bee Choo Strange shared a video of this Dusky Langur (Trachypithecus obscurus) eating leaves, taken in February 2020 at Bukit Tinggi in Peninsular Malaysia. She finds the way it eats the leaves rather interesting.

The Dusky Langur is considered threatened due to destruction of its habitat and poaching. This langur is also known as dusky leaf monkey, spectacled langur or spectacled leaf monkey. It feeds on leaves and fruits. Inhabitant of Myanmar, Southern Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia and seen occasionally in Singapore.


Can anyone identify the plant this langur is feeding on?

Silver-eared Mesia – chattering calls

posted in: birds, Vocalisation | 0

This is an older call recording of a social group of Silver-eared Mesias (Leiothrix argentauris tahanensis), sitting in a ‘thicket’ and chattering away. The chattering calls were done simultaneously by a few birds (2-3) at the same time. They were fast calls and occurred at 15-20 notes per second and of varying intensity. They sounded like distress calls but I could not appreciate any threat.

Sonogram and waveform is shown below.

Call recording here: https://www.xeno-canto.org/506935

The Xeno-canto currently restricts recordings of this species due to bird trapping (can upload but not hear them).


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

Location: 1,700m ASL, Cameron Highlands, Pahang, Malaysia

Habitat: Primary montane forest

Date: 14th March 2019

Silver-eared Mesia  – food source

posted in: birds, Feeding-plants | 0

No visit to the Cameron Highlands is complete without watching the Silver-eared Mesia (Leiothrix argentauris tahanensis). Food for such a common bird is not well documented. Wells 2007 says “no animal prey as yet identified” for this species locally. They are a common participant of mixed foraging party (bird wave) and often call out while in a mixed group. Much of the foraging I have seen them do is scrambling about in the undergrowth, searching the vegetation. Hence I suspect prey that is taken is not easily seen. I have observed more episodes of fruit feeding than animal prey. The above image shows a female feeding on pink-white fruit on a large tree (unidentified plant).

Previous food sources I have observed include:

  1. Taking orange-red berries off a bush (unidentified plant).
  2. Fledged juveniles was fed purple berries (unidentified plant); did not seen any animal prey fed to young.
  3. Unidentified orange berries (a favourite of many species, not a ficus)
  4. Feeding on a large green caterpillar.
  5. Feeding on worm/larvae.
  6. Insect prey, possibly a spider.


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

Location: 1,700m ASL, Cameron Highlands, Pahang, Malaysia

Habitat: Primary montane forest

Date: 12th November 2019

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



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: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151125012234135&set=a.108191464134.96538.617499134&type=1&theater

  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 – https://www.wrs.com.sg/en/jurong-bird-park.html 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: https://besgroup.org/2012/06/28/laced-woodpecker-and-durians/

    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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