Green-backed Flycatcher feeding on Bridelia tomentosa fruit

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

Observed a male Green-backed Flycatcher (Narcissus Flycatcher Ficedula narcissina elisae) feeding on Bridelia tomentosa fruit. Often after other birds have left and usually by using a snatch-past method. Close up you can appreciate the thin yellow eye-ring (above).


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

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

Habitat: Trail along primary jungle

Date: 6-9th March 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


New nectar source for Black-throated Sunbird  

posted in: birds, Feeding-plants | 0


Black-throated Sunbird taking nectar from Ipomoea indica.

Yesterday, 25th April 2022, at Cameron Highlands, I saw a female Black-throated Sunbird (Aethopyga saturata wrayi) feeding on the nectar of Ipomoea indica (Ocean-blue Morning Glory, an exotic) using nectar robbing technique. The images are poor as the bird is often hidden behind the large petals.

Previous nectar sources I have seen/documented for this species include:

  1. Abutilon pictum– commonly known as Redvein Abutilon, Red Vein Indian Mallow, Redvein Flowering Maple or Red vein Chinese lanterns (native to South America). Nectar robbing technique used.
  2. Abutilon megapotamicum– called the Trailing Abutilon (native to South America). Nectar robbing technique used.
  3. Canna– often called Canna Lily. Nectar robbing technique used.
  4. Numerous Hibiscusspp. Nectar robbing technique used.
  5. Euphorbiaspecies (very much like Euphorbia pulcherrima – Poinsettia). Conventional nectar feeding.
  6. Callistemonspp. – commonly known as Bottlebrush. Conventional nectar feeding.
  7. Poikilospermum suaveolens(family: Urticaceae) – seen feeding on the flowers (they eat the flowers to get to the nectar).
  8. Lantana camara. Conventional nectar feeding.
  9. Fuchsiaspp. Nectar robbing technique used.
  10. Pyrostegia venusta– commonly known as Flamevine or Orange Trumpetvine (originally from Brazil). Nectar robbing technique used.
  11. Thunbergia mysorensis– commonly called Lady’s Slipper Vine, Mysore Trumpet-vine or Indian Clock-vine (native to southern tropical India). Conventional nectar feeding.
  12. Malvaviscus arboreus – resembles a partially closed hibiscus flower. Nectar robbing technique used.
  13. Rhododendron malayanum. Nectar robbing technique used.
  14. Buttonbush – a flowering plant is in the family Rubiaceaecloser to the Cephalanthus occidentalis.

There are many other wildflowers where I am not able to ID the plant.


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




Pacific Swallow – social behaviour while nesting

posted in: birds, Nesting | 0

I saw a pair of nesting Pacific Swallows (Hirundo tahitica javanica) in an urban/public setting. One bird was incubating. The other was nearby and would intermittently visit the nesting site and appeared to feed the incubating bird. I saw this on 4 different occasions in an 8 minute observation. The bird would fly around to collect prey and after 5-7 were collected, it would come over to the nest and appeared to give them to the other bird (above and below). I am not aware of such behaviour previously and do not know if this is common behaviour. The bird on the nest is an adult to my observation and was not begging for food as juvenile usually do. I did not watch for too long as I did not want to bring attention to their nest.

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

Habitat: Urban environment

Date: 15th May 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


Images of the Spectacled Bulbul

posted in: birds, Miscellaneous | 0

1st January 2021.

The Spectacled Bulbul (Pycnonotus/Rubigula erythropthalmos erythropthalmos) is a personal favourite. All were photographed on various dates at the Kledang-Sayong Forest Reserve, a primary forest at Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.

15th October 2019.

14th January 2021.

14th January 2021.

14th January 2021.

14th January 2021.


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

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

Thick-billed Flowerpecker and the fruiting fig tree

posted in: birds, Feeding-plants | 0

Post 1.

I went back to the fruiting Ficus religiosa (Sacred Fig) that is situated at the forest fringe to continue observations. A large number of flowerpeckers come out to feed but assessing numbers is not easy due to some coming and going, the large size of this tree (spread out crown), the height and the rapid movement of these and other birds. I have attempted to determine numbers but have chosen to underestimate them.

Post 2.

The commonest flowerpecker present is the Thick-billed Flowerpecker (Dicaeum agile modestum), with 10-12 present at any one time. The birds have to be acrobatic to reach some ripe fruit (Post 3). The tongue of the Thick-billed Flowerpecker is orange-yellow (Post 2). Fruit is taken piecemeal (Post 1). Note the lighter lower mandible (best seen in Post 4).

Post 3.

Others flowerpeckers feeding there today included:

5-6 Yellow-vented Flowerpeckers Dicaeum chrysorrheum

3-4 Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker Prionochilus percussus

3-4 Orange-bellied Flowerpeckers Dicaeum trigonostigma

1 Plain Flowerpecker Dicaeum concolor

I did not see the Yellow-breasted and Scarlet-backed Flowerpeckers but it is possible to miss birds in the large numbers present.

Post 4.


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

Location: Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Habitat: Fringe of primary forest

Date: 28th 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


Rufous-bellied Eagle – juvenile

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

A juvenile I saw today.

I am often the recipient of the keen eyesight and sharp spotting skills of my wife. She often spots raptors from our magic kitchen window or while putting out the laundry. She saw this raptor high up catching the thermals in the mid-morning and I managed to snag some images to suggest it’s a juvenile Rufous-bellied Eagle (Lophotriorchis kienerii formosus). This raptor is uncommonly sighted and I looked through my recent records (photographic only). Date of recent sightings when the bird was observed including maturity (4 were seen at our home):

26th November 2006 (juvenile)

17th January 2010 (immature/sub-adult)

16th December 2011 (adult)

7th May 2014 (2/3rd year)

13th May 2014 (adult)

31st August 2014 (2/3rd year)

1st May 2019 (juvenile)

A composite to try and age birds, but I may have got it wrong. I do think bird 3 is more mature and possibly a 3rd year.

I arranged some of my images to try and provide a composite of aging, as best I can (happy for suggestion to change/edit). I am not sharp enough to distinguish adult males from female, let alone in juveniles, so have not discussed this. Juveniles largely have white underparts and brown upperparts with a black eye mask. Ferguson-Lees & Christie (2001) say that the “black hood may appear in second year, when underparts still white or with only few black streaks, but rufous abdomen probably does not show until third year, when  rest of upper parts start to become blacker”. Wells (1999) says that juveniles have a sandy rufous cap; Ferguson-Lees & Christie (2001) say ‘brown crown’ in juveniles. In all ages, except in the very young, the trailing edges of the wings (primaries and secondaries) and tip of tail feathers have a black edge/line.

An adult from an earlier encounter (May 2014) and I would appreciate any pointers on sexing.


James Ferguson-Lees, David A. Christie (2001). Raptors of the World,

Wells, D.R. (1999). The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula: Vol. 1 (Non-Passarines). Christopher Helm, London



Hans Peeters: #3 is, to my eye, without doubt a freshly minted hatch-year juvenile. Note the uniformity of all the feather tracts (as to symmetry, color, shape) — there is no indication of molt, either recent or ongoing (as there is in #2, which appears to be a second-year bird, and as is #1, post-molt). Interestingly, the adult(4) shows no signs of molting, unlike the adults of larger eagle species that cannot afford to molt all their rather slow-growing remiges in one year and therefore show some molt activity nearly year-round.
Lim Kim Chye: Thanks for sharing these interesting series of RBE images. As I commented in your FB post on the same, I think age wise, 3 is the youngest, followed by 1 (secondaries still new), 2 (moulting, with 2/3 new primaries) and 4.
Dave Bakewell: Nice set. Your bird numbered 3 is a juvenile. Notice that all the flight feathers are the same age.
I’d suggest that number 2 is next in age (juv underwing coverts but already midway through primary moult),
followed by number 1 (has some black, adult-like Greater underwing coverts, adult patterned tail and primaries),
followed by bird numbered 4 (adult).
Amar: Appreciate all the support/help. 

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

Habitat: Urban environment

Date: 1st May 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

Rufous-tailed Tailorbird

posted in: birds, Miscellaneous | 0

A male.

The Rufous-tailed Tailorbird (Orthotomus sericeus hesperius) is one of the hardest of the local Tailorbirds to see, as it is an undergrowth ‘specialist’. Its behaviour is more like a Bush Robin or Wren, calling from dense undergrowth and only flitting dashes seen.

Another male.

Locally near-threatened. I saw three pairs spread out over a 2 km stretch. Posts show images of males. I did see females and imaged them foraging but very poor resolution. Females having a variable black sub-apical bar, most marked on central feathers (Wells 2007). I recorded quite a number of different call types and hope to post them soon.

Yet another male.

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

Habitat: Broken primary forest with secondary growth

Date: 4th June 2020

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


Oriental Magpie Robin  – nesting material

posted in: birds, Nesting matarials | 0

Post 1.

I observed this pair of Oriental Magpie Robins (Copsychus saularis musicus) collecting nesting material. The location is about 1.5 km on a very large, open trail, with primary jungle on both sides. This was unexpected as usually see them nesting in urban or semi-urban sites. Both the female (Post 1) and male (Post 2) were collecting dead twigs for the nest.

Post 2.

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

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

Habitat: Trail along primary jungle

Date: 2nd July 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

Malayan Partridge calls – possible mating-ritual calls

posted in: birds, Vocalisation | 0

I occasionally come across Malayan Partridges (Arborophila campbelli) in the Cameron Highlands. On 18th April 2022 at 1.20pm at 1,800m ASL at Cameron Highlands I came across this group of at least 3 birds (possibly 5) using loud calls – the birds were more heard than seen (not seen well in the undergrowth). Calls made by one bird were answered by 2 other birds from different locations; not necessarily at the same time.

The calls I heard at this time were different from the ones I have heard in the past (see this older recording:; calls rendered “oii, oii, oii” by Wells).

Post 1.

This time there were two distinct calls made, often in unison, and by two different birds that seemed to be sided by side. One call is that as described by Wells (1999) as “pi-hor”. The second, louder call, is a strident “chip, chip”. These calls start very soft then rapidly get very loud. They last 17-22 seconds and comprise 50-60 notes. The “oii, oii, oii” calls can also be heard in one section of the recording.

Post 2.

A call record comprising 3 sets of these calls is found here:

I do not think these are advertising or contact calls but more likely mating-ritual calls.

Attached the waveform and sonogram – first of the “pi-hor” and “chip, chip” notes together (post 1); then of the “chip, chip” alone (post 2).

Despite their loudness they are low frequency calls.


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

Asplenium bulbiferum, Hen & chicken fern

posted in: Asplenium bulbiferum, Fern | 0

Asplenium bulbiferum is also known as the Hen & chicken fern. It is a native ground fern of New Zealand and is also known as Manamana or pikopiko. The large feathery fronds are bi- to tripinnate, green and very eye-catching. The plants can achieve a height of 1.2 m.

Plantlets (chickens) arise from the upper sides of mature fronds (hens) and grow into individual plants when the mature fronds dip to the ground. These little plantlets arise from bulbils on the leaves. The ferns also reproduce through spores formed on the underside of fronds.

The young curled fronds, also known as fiddleheads, of Manamana are known as pikopiko. They are a delicacy used in traditional Maori dishes.

Photo 1. The green feathery fronds display yellow-green plantlets on its upper surface.

Photo 2. A plantlet growing from a bulbil on the upper surface of a frond.

Photo 3. A closer view of the plantlet.

All photographs taken by Wong Kais at Zealandia, Wellington on 5 November 2014.

Article by Teo Lee Wei.





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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