Long-billed Spiderhunter – vocalisation

posted in: birds, Vocalisation | 0

The Long-billed Spiderhunter (Arachnothera robusta robusta) is a fairly vocal bird when feeding, when moving from tree to tree or at times calling out from a tall perch. I managed a number of recordings of calls. It is hard to say that any of these are ‘songs’ and most sound like territorial or contact calls. There were two main forms that I heard, both using the same vocalisation but in different ways.

  1. The first is a slower, intermittent single, short ‘chit’ or ‘chip’ note (at times 2 notes close together), repeated every 0.5 seconds (I counted 100 notes per minute) and can continue for long durations of a few minutes. A sonogram and waveform of a segment of calls is shown below.

A recording of this slow call type can be heard here: https://www.xeno-canto.org/606575

  1. The second is a faster ‘chit’ or ‘chip’ note that comes in rapid runs or bursts of 7-30 notes that is repeated frequently. I counted 300 notes per minute. This can also continue for long durations of a few minutes. I suspect this is territorial call type. A sonogram and waveform of a ‘burst’ is shown below.

A recording of this fast call type can be heard here: https://www.xeno-canto.org/606576


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

Location: Perak, Malaysia

Habitat: Secondary growth adjacent to limestone outcroppings

Date: 30th November 2020

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

Spotted wood owl (Strix seloputo) family at Pasir Ris Park, Singapore: Part 2

Spotted wood owls share the same parental behaviour as most owls.  Both parents perched on the same tree as the owlets, on the same perch or a distance away.  The parents closed their eyes to sleep during the day but opened their eyes periodically.  The parents had been seen to chase a juvenile goshawk that had wandered to their raintree home. In the evenings, the owlets engaged in a lot of auto-preening, wing stretching and walking on the tree branches while they explored their surroundings. The family frequently engaged each other in allopreening. The owlets engaged in more frequent head-bobbing (known as triangulation) as the weeks progressed.  Owlets triangulate to judge distances and positions of objects as owls do not move their eyes in the sockets.

In the evenings, the male parent flew off to hunt food while the female parent stayed with the owlets on the tree. The family had been seen feeding on rats. The owls carried out gular fluttering on hot days in order to cool down. The owlets increased in size very quickly.  The first owlet fledged on 19 February 2022 and the second owlet fledged on 21 February 2022 and they were about half the size of the parents.  By 13 March 2022, the owlets were about the size of the parents. The youngsters could be seen gaining confidence in their tree branch walking, strenghtening their flight muscles by flapping their wings more frequently and with greater force exertion. The flight feathers (remiges) also grew longer with the passing weeks but the tail feathers (rectrices) were still shorter than those of the parents. By 11 March 2022, the owlets were seen flying from branch to branch. The owlets had facial discs which were lighter in colour than the parents. The brown edges of the facial discs were also not well-defined in the owlets. The owlets were also less snow white in colour.

On 13 March 2022, the author observed the male parent fly off at about 6.30 pm. The female parent stayed on the tree with the two owlets. At about 7.00 pm, the female parent let out a very loud hoot (ventriloquial effect) and flew off at about 7.15 pm. One owlet followed her and 2 minutes later the second owlet followed.  The wing spans of the owlets were as long as the parents. The owls’ flights were silent and smooth, with very few flaps of the wings.

The owl family shifted to another tree within the park on 20 March 2022. On 24 March 2022, the owlets had feather patterns typical of spotted wood owls but down feathers were still discernible, especially on the heads.  On 31 March 2022, only one owlet was seen in the company of the female parent. It is surmised that one owlet had met an unfortunate end. The parent birds will continue to feed the juveniles for several months more.

Additional note: On 2 April 2022, Christian Hut shared that the whole owl family had been seen allo-preening and auto-preening on a tree near Sungei Api Api. The birding community rejoices in this update.  My conjecture is that the missing owlet missing (31 March 2022) is learning to hunt with the male parent. 


Photo 1. Owlet sitting pretty on tree branch. Fluffly white down feathers are very prominent. 23 February 2022


Photo 2. Another owlet sitting on another branch. 23 February 2022


Photo 3. Semi-plume feathers standing out from body coverings of an owlet. 23 February 2022


Photo 4. A semi-plume feather that fell off one of the owlets. These feathers keep the body warm. 23 February 2022


Video 1 shows owlet triangulating and walking on tree branch.  It maintained balance by flapping its wings. 23 February 2022

Video 2 shows owlet triangulating, walking on tree branch and then preening itself (auto-preening). 23 February 2022


Photo 5. A parent bird sleeping on a tree branch. 23 February 2022


Photo 6. Close-up of the sleeping parent bird. 23 February 2022


Photo 6. Owlet’s favourite perching pose. The strong legs are able to support the bird in this position. The head rests on the branch for extra support. 23 February 2022


Photo 7. Owlet stretches wings while still in favourite position. 23 February 2022


Photo 8. Parent and owlet silhouetted against the dusk sky. 23 February 2022


Photo 9. Parent keeping a close eye on owlet as the little one scrambled around. 25 February 2022


Photo 10. Parent bird stretches its wings while looking out for the owlet. 25 February 2022


Photo 11. The fluted trailing edge of the parent’s outstretched wing. 25 February 2022


Photo 12. Parent bird manipulating a twig. 25 February 2022


Video 3 shows the parent bird manipulating a twig. The owlet perched beside the parent bird, triangulated and was mesmerised by the huge crowd gathered below.  25 February 2022


Video 4 shows the owlet triangulating and then taking a short flight to perch beside its parent. 25 February 2022

Photo 13. Owlet siblings sitting near parent bird. 13 March 2022


Video 5 shows a lucky owlet getting a head preen from its parent and  its sibling perched beside it removing the downy feathers on its back. There is close bonding between the family members. 13 March 2022


All photographs and videos are attributed to Wong Kais.  All the photographs and videos are in the raw form and undertaken with a handheld camcorder.

The author of this post would like to register her thanks to the many true nature lovers who helped her locate and appreciate these wonderful creatures of the night:

  • a kind photographer who approached her and pointed out the locations of the different members of the family. He does not post his photographs online.
  • a Pasir Ris resident walking his dog in the park who pointed out the location of the goshawk feeding on a tree and the locations of the different spotted owl family members on the raintree.
  • some ladies of BICA who had rushed over from photographing the orange-headed thrush at the Botanical Gardens. They too approached the author and shared little snippets about the spotted wood owls.
  • Kevin Sim of BICA who warmly approached and welcomed her to view the spotted wood owl family. He shared a lot of snippets and answered my queries patiently.  Kevin is an expert and very humble. The author met Kevin on another occasion but did not get the opportunity to exchange pleasantries as it started to rain cats and dogs.

NOTES to readers: This pair-bonded spotted wood owls are wild birds which have resided in Pasir Ris Park, Singapore for about 11 years.  Photographers love to document them as the pair nests in the large trees within the park which is easily accessible by private and public transport. The park amenities (toilet facilities and drinks vending machines) are laudable and appreciated. The halal restaurant, Rasa Istimewa, which serves lip-smacking, freshly cooked food is also in the vicinity.

This much-loved and documented pair of owls have been noted to raise owlets every year.  In their earlier reproductive years, they raised one owlet a year.  In the last few years, these experienced parents have been raising two owlets a year. The parent birds are accustomed to photographers documenting them and their owlets and are not alarmed at the sight of the enormous camera lenses. Author noticed  the photographers leaving the nesting site once the natural light is insufficient for photography.

To the uninitiated, owls may incite superstitious fears  and the unknown. This pair has endeared themselves to the photographers who have followed their life journey through a decade.  It is hoped that this two part series on the milestones of the owlets will help people appreciate the hard work of parents in caring for their young. Nature works its mystery on its own terms : the photographers merely document this pair of spotted wood owls and do not interfere.  This pair is considered a very good natural pest controller amongst the photographic community.

Caution: Owl parents are very protective of their young and the parent owls use their beaks and talons to inflict serious injuries to people who handle the owlets. The owlets should also not be handled for the reason that  the owlets’ beaks and talons can cause injuries too when they are picked up. 

The spotted wood owl reproductive season lasts till August.  Will this pair of experienced owl parents raise a second brood this year?

Read this post  to see the earlier development milestones of these owlets.

Article by Teo Lee Wei.



  1. https://www.birdadvisors.com/baby-owls-all-the-facts-and-pictures/

Red-bearded Bee-eater – calls

posted in: birds, Vocalisation | 0

These are the hoarse calls of the Red-bearded Bee-eater (Nyctyornis amictus). Often described as “kar kar kah kah ka”, but with much variation (Wells 1999). HBW (2019) says “A fast, descending series of 5–10 hoarse notes….” My recording had 11 notes in 35 seconds and 12 in 45 seconds. Each note was 0.75-1 second long and look like sail-shaped structures on the sonogram. Call recording here: https://www.xeno-canto.org/514735

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

Habitat: Forest reserve

Date: 9th August 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



Purple-naped Sunbird/Spiderhunter – Food for Juveniles

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

Saw a number of birds feeding today, 31st March 2022, at a fruiting Macaranga bancana in a forest at the outskirts of Ipoh, Perak. A number of juveniles were fed this fruit including the Purple-naped Sunbird/Spiderhunter Kurochkinegramma hypogrammicum. I saw two juveniles present with the adults feeding them separately – i.e. male fed only one juvenile and female the other. The male would harvest a number of Macaranga bancana fruits and then regurgitate them to feed the juvenile. The juveniles used an extensive fluttering of wings to demand feeds. They also attempted to get fruit themselves but I did not see any success.

Birds seen feeding on the fruit Macaranga bancana today included the Cream-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus simplex, Red-eyed Bulbul Pycnonotus brunneus, Spectacled Bulbul Pycnonotus erythropthalmus, Buff-vented Bulbul Iole charlottae, Black-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus atriceps, Stripe-throated Bulbul Pycnonotus finlaysoni, Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus goiavier, Green-backed Flycatcher Ficedula elisae, Yellow-rumped Flycatcher Ficedula zanthopygia (new species), Hume’s White-eye Zosterops auriventer, Red-throated Sunbird Anthreptes rhodolaemus, Plain Sunbird Anthreptes simplex, Purple-naped Sunbird/Spiderhunter Kurochkinegramma hypogrammicum, other unidentified sunbirds.

List of birds seen feeding on the fruit Macaranga bancana over many years:

  1. Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot Loriculus galgulus
  2. Gold-whiskered Barbet Megalaima chrysopogon
  3. Sooty Barbet Caloramphus hayii (Brown Barbet Calorhamphus fuliginosus hayii)
  4. Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica
  5. Cream-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus simplex
  6. Red-eyed Bulbul Pycnonotus brunneus
  7. Spectacled Bulbul Pycnonotus erythropthalmus
  8. Hairy-backed Bulbul Tricholestes criniger
  9. Buff-vented Bulbul Iole charlottae
  10. Scaly-Breasted Bulbul Pycnonotus squamatus
  11. Black-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus atriceps
  12. Stripe-throated Bulbul Pycnonotus finlaysoni
  13. Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus goiavier
  14. Mugimaki Flycatcher Ficedula mugimaki
  15. Green-backed Flycatcher Ficedula elisae
  16. Yellow-rumped Flycatcher Ficedula zanthopygia
  17. Asian Brown Flycatcher Muscicapa dauurica
  18. Verditer Flycatcher Eumyias thalassinus
  19. Blue-and-white Flycatcher Cyanoptila cyanomelana
  20. Hume’s White-eye Zosterops auriventer
  21. Green Iora Aegithina viridissima
  22. Blue-winged Leafbird Chloropsis cochinchinensis
  23. Greater Green Leafbird Chloropsis sonnerati
  24. Lesser Green Leafbird Chloropsis cyanopogon
  25. Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker Prionochilus percussus
  26. Ruby-cheeked Sunbird Chalcoparia singalensis
  27. Red-throated Sunbird Anthreptes rhodolaemus
  28. Plain Sunbird Anthreptes simplex
  29. Ruby-cheeked Sunbird Chalcoparia singalensis
  30. Brown-throated (Plain-throated) Sunbird Anthreptes malacensis
  31. Purple-naped Sunbird/Spiderhunter Kurochkinegramma hypogrammicum
  32. Grey-breasted Spiderhunter Arachnothera modesta
  33. Yellow-eared Spiderhunter Arachnothera chrysogenys
  34. Spectacled Spiderhunter Arachnothera flavigaster
  35. Little Spiderhunter Arachnothera longirostra
  36. One Thrush, ID unknown


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


Making sense of Tiger Shrike – first winter vs adult winter

posted in: birds, Morphology-Develop. | 0

Some time ago (October 2017) when I posted a Tiger Shrike (Lanius tigrinus) that I assumed as a first winter bird, Dr David Wells (Wells, D.R. The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula: Vol. 2 (Passarines). Christopher Helm, London. 2007) commented that the bird was a winter-plumage adult. David says that the “discovery that adults alternate plumage-types (often completely but not always) came from recapture of ringed birds”. I am revisiting that comment and surmising David Well’s differentiating features for first winter vs adult winter birds. This applies to birds in autumn and not late winter or spring.


Feature First Winter

(Autumn Juvenile)

Winter-Plumage Adult
Bill Pink bill with black tip Blue bill
Crown Black barring on the crown (feather tips that wear off progressively), Crown is more or less plain from the start
Ear-covert feathers

(face-mask behind eye)

Pale-tipped Pale-tipped but more basal black than usual in juveniles (dark enough to create a shadow mask)
Primary coverts Always pale tipped Plain, only occasionally pale tipped


The top image shows a comparison between a first winter (autumn juvenile) on the left with a bird identified by Wells on the right as a winter-plumage adult. Note that there is glare on the bill of the juvenile on the left but other images of the same bird clearly show the pink bill with black tip. I have previously read blog posts by colleagues wondering why we see mainly juvenile Tiger Shrikes in Peninsular Malaysia & Singapore. The reason may be that we are mistakenly identifying some winter-plumage adults as juveniles

The above image is just for completeness, a bird I saw in my garden on 20th April 2011 which is moulting into summer adult plumage. Note the blue bill, dark face mask and grey developing on the nape.


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

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

Habitat: Fringe of primary jungle

Date: 16th December 2019

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



Blyth’s Paradise-Flycatcher

posted in: birds, Miscellaneous | 0

Spotted a female Blyth’s Paradise-Flycatcher (Terpsiphone affinis affin) that was part of a lowland mixed foraging party (bird wave).

The other birds in the mixed foraging party were:

Olive-winged Bulbul Pycnonotus plumosus, Red-eyed Bulbul Pycnonotus brunneus, Cream-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus simplex simplex, Asian Fairy Bluebird Irena puella malayensis, Greater Green Leafbird Chloropsis sonnerati zosterops, Lesser Green Leafbird Chloropsis cyanopogon, Ashy Minivet Pericrocotus divaricatus, Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker Prionochilus percussus, Eastern Crowned Warbler Phylloscopus coronatus and others not identified.


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

Location: Bubu Forest Reserve, Perak, Malaysia

Habitat: Fringe of primary forest

Date: 2nd November 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


Miscellaneous images of birds

posted in: birds, Miscellaneous | 0

Black-browed Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus bistrigiceps)

Location: Perak, Malaysia;

Habitat: Wetlands, Padi Fields

Date: 3rd December 2019

Ashy Minivet (Pericrocotus divaricatus) female

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

Habitat: Trail at edge of primary jungle

Date: 23rd January 2020

Orange-bellied Flowerpecker (Dicaeum trigonostigma trigonostigma) – female

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

Habitat: Trail along primary jungle

Date: 30th January 2020

Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus intermedius)

Location: Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Habitat: Overgrown Chinese graveyard in the city

Date: 1st February 2021


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

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


Oriental Honey-buzzard – possibly a male dark morph

posted in: birds, Miscellaneous, Raptors | 0

House bound for some days so some older, unposted images.

An Oriental Honey-buzzard (Pernis ptilorhyncus), possibly a dark morph…

…and a male (darker eye) but tail pattern a bit doubtful.


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

Location: Thoolakharka (also known as Australian Base Camp), Gandaki Zone, Western Region, Nepal, at 2050m ASL

Habitat: Secondary growth surrounded by primary forest

Date: 8th November 2017

Zappey’s Flycatcher 

posted in: birds, Identification | 0

The lack of a glossy black on throat, breast, ear-coverts and lores of this male supports Zappey’s Flycatcher (Cyanoptila cumatilis) over the Blue-and-white Flycatcher (Cyanoptila cyanomelana) (no contrast between these areas). For more information see:

Paul J. Leader & Geoff J. Carey. Zappey’s Flycatcher Cyanoptila cumatilis, a forgotten Chinese breeding endemic. Forktail 28 (2012): 121–128. Available online.


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

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

Habitat: Fringe of primary jungle

Date: 3rd December 2018

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


New species of birds feeding on fruits of the Giant Mahang

posted in: birds, Feeding-plants | 0

Three new species of birds were seen feeding on the fruit of the Giant Mahang (Macaranga gigantea) on this day. Verditer Flycatchers (Eumyias thalassinus thalassoides), Green-backed Flycatchers (Narcissus Flycatcher, Ficedula narcissina elisae) and Oriental Magpie Robins (Copsychus saularis musicus).

Verditer Flycatcher.

Birds that I have personally observed feeding on the Giant Mahang fruit include:

  1. Emerald Dove (Chalcophaps indica)
  2. Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot (Loriculus galgulus)
  3. Crimson-winged Woodpecker (Picus puniceus observandus)
  4. Banded Woodpecker (Picus miniaceus malaccense)
  5. Brown Barbet (Calorhamphus fuliginosus hayii)
  6. Red-throated Barbet (Megalaima mystacophanos mystacophanos)
  7. Gold-whiskered Barbet (Megalaima chrysopogon laeta)
  8. Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopaceus malayanus)
  9. Buff-vented Bulbul (Iole charlottae)
  10. Cream-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus simplex simplex)
  11. Olive-winged Bulbul (Pycnonotus plumosus plumosus)
  12. Red-eyed Bulbul (Pycnonotus brunneus)
  13. Spectacled Bulbul (Pycnonotus erythropthalmus)
  14. Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier gourdini)
  15. Asian Fairy Bluebird (Irena puella malayensis)
  16. Greater Green Leafbird (Chloropsis sonnerati zosterops)
  17. Blue-winged Leafbird (Chloropsis cochinchinensis moluccensis)
  18. Green Iora (Aegithina viridissima)
  19. Ashy Minivet (Pericrocotus divaricatus divaricatus)
  20. Oriental Magpie Robin (Copsychus saularis musicus)
  21. Orange-headed Thrush (Zoothera citrina)
  22. Asian Glossy Starling (Aplonis panayensis strigata)
  23. Lesser Cuckooshrike (Lalage fimbriata)
  24. Mugimaki Flycatcher (Ficedula mugimaki)
  25. Yellow-rumped Flycatcher (Ficedula zanthopygia)
  26. Asian Brown Flycatcher (Muscicapa dauurica)
  27. Green-backed Flycatcher (Narcissus Flycatcher, Ficedula narcissina elisae)
  28. Verditer Flycatcher (Eumyias thalassinus thalassoides)
  29. Everett’s White-eye (Zosterops everetti)
  30. Grey-breasted Spiderhunter (Arachnothera modesta)
  31. Spectacled Spiderhunter (Arachnothera flavigaster)
  32. Spectacled Bulbul (Pycnonotus erythropthalmus)
  33. Scaly-Breasted Bulbul (Pycnonotus squamatus)
  34. Purple-naped Sunbird (Hypogramma hypogrammicum)
  35. Ruby-cheeked Sunbird (Anthreptes singalensis interposita)
  36. Plain Sunbird (Anthreptes simplex)
  37. Orange-bellied Flowerpecker (Dicaeum trigonostigma)
  38. Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker (Prionochilus percussus)
  39. Other unidentified Sunbirds & Flowerpeckers


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

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

Habitat: Trail along primary jungle

Date: 17th January 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

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

Leave a Reply to David Thackray Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.

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