Copper-throated Sunbird – mangrove forest

posted in: birds, Sex | 0


Copper-throated Sunbirds (Leptocoma calcostetha) are fairly common at this site and I saw them 5-6 times over a 4+ hour period.

But imaging this beautiful, fast moving and activity feeding bird under the mangrove canopy is difficult.

Some images of the male – all three above…

…and female (above).


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

Location: Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve, Perak, Malaysia

Habitat: Mangrove forest

Date: 20th August 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

Chestnut-winged Babbler – forage and calls

posted in: birds, Feeding, Vocalisation | 0

A pair of Chestnut-winged Babbler (Stachyris erythroptera erythroptera) was foraging in dense undergrowth for animal prey; I have often encountered them as a pair. In my experience they often look for prey in bamboo clumps, exploring bamboo sheaths and junctions between stems. They call out frequently while foraging.

A call recording can be heard here:

Calls are a haunting ‘hooting-like call’ described as ‘po-po-po’, ‘pu-pu-pu’ or ‘hu-hu-hu’ by various authors. Calls are of low frequency (4 kHz), consist of 8-14 evenly spaced notes, lasting ~ 2 seconds and repeated after 2-8 seconds. The partner may make the same call or offer a response towards the end of the call by uttering a coarse rattle described best as ‘churrchurr’ or ‘chirrherr’ (Wells 2007). In the sonogram and waveform below, you can see this response from the partner in the first and 3rd call.

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

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

Habitat: Road through primary forest

Date: 1st January 2021

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


Three Buff-vented Bulbuls 

posted in: birds, Miscellaneous | 0

I observed 3 Buff-vented Bulbuls (Iole crypta) feeding on two types of berries (plant IDs not known). I am not sure why one bird had the crest raised (3 images below); there was no apparent danger I could see.

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

Location: Perak, Malaysia

Habitat: Secondary growth adjacent to primary forest

Date: 14th December 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


Chestnut-bellied Malkoha – forage

posted in: birds, Feeding-invertebrates | 0

Observed a single Chestnut-bellied Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus sumatranus) foraging in the trees, as it often does scampering and hopping from branch to branch.

I saw it dislodged a large flying insect and, to my surprise, it did an aerial sally to chase after and obtain its prey; with wings and tail all spread out. Not seen this behaviour previously.

Although called ‘Chestnut-bellied’, I think ‘Chestnut-vented’ might be more apt.


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

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

Habitat: Trail along primary jungle

Date: 12th October 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

Chestnut-breasted Malkoha – male

posted in: birds, Sex | 0


A pair of Chestnut-breasted Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus curvirostris singularis) foraging for animal prey – the female has orange-yellow iris.


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

Habitat: Secondary growth adjacent to limestone outcroppings

Date: 10th December 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


Sterculia colorata (Bonfire Tree) – Nectar Feeders

posted in: birds, Feeding-plants | 0

The Sterculia colorata (Scarlet Sterculia or Bonfire Tree) originates from the forests of the Western Ghats and the Deccan in India. A few trees have been planted in Ipoh in the 1960s. It flowers once a year and sheds all its leaves at the same time. Brilliant orange flowers, hanging downwards, are produced in dense panicles at the ends of branches. I observed a number of birds feeding on the nectar, including:

  1. Black-naped Orioles (Oriolus chinensis maculatus)
  2. Brown-throated Sunbirds (Anthreptes malacensis malacensis)
  3. Yellow-vented Bulbuls (Pycnonotus goiavier analis)

As well as the Plantain Squirrels (Callosciurus notatus).

Post 1. Black-naped Oriole.

The flowers are 30 mm long. The Black-naped Orioles (Post 1) and Yellow-vented Bulbuls take nectar the conventional way, through the front. The Brown-throated Sunbirds use both nectar robbing and conventional nectar feeding techniques (Post 2-3).

Post 2. Brown-throated Sunbird.

The Plantain Squirrels eat the flowers to acquire the nectar. I am sure many other bird species visit these flowers. A good article on bird-pollination of this tree is: Solomon Raju, Purnachandra Rao, Ezradanam. Bird-pollination in Sterculia colorata Roxb. (Sterculiaceae), a rare tree species in the Eastern Ghats of Visakhapatnam and East Godavari Districts of Andhra Pradesh. Current Science, Vol. 87, No. 1, 10 July 2004. The authors found that the flowers on average secrete 15 ul of nectar. They record a number of bird species visiting the flowers including: Bulbuls, Tits, Flowerpeckers, Sunbirds, White-eyes and Rosefinch. While the majority come for the nectar, the authors note that Bulbuls and Tits come for the larvae in flowers and buds; and the Rosefinch ate flower buds.

Post 3. Brown-throated Sunbird.

I cannot be sure that same does not apply to the Black-naped Orioles and Yellow-vented Bulbuls I observed, however they appeared to be taking the nectar. The Brown-throated Sunbirds I saw were definitely nectar feeding and some were heavily pollen stained.

Post 4. Plantain Squirrel.

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

Habitat: Urban environment

Date: 12th April 2019

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


Grey-rumped Treeswift – foraging and nesting

posted in: birds, Miscellaneous | 0

Four to five Grey-rumped Treeswifts (Hemiprocne longipennis harterti) were seen foraging in the morning sky together. This was on 28th February 2019, above the previously logged forest with secondary growth and some residual primary forest at the Ulu Kinta Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.

Grey-rumped Treeswift high above the ground.

On the ground below, this time on 8th August 2019 and along a trail through the Kledang-Sayong Forest Reserve, also in Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia, I saw this Grey-rumped Treeswift nesting high up on bare branch (~12-14 meters up) with good all round views for the bird.

Grey-rumped Treeswift nesting high up in the tree.

A pair of Whiskered Treeswift (Hemiprocne comata comate) were also using this tree as a foraging perch with no conflict. There was limited access to get good images and an edited series of video using the Nikon P900 is here:  The long zoom on the P900 meant the bird could be observed from quite some distance, limiting disturbance. The female was incubating a single white egg throughout my intermittent observation period. She frequently looked around for threats. At 3.30 minutes into the edited video you can see her checking the egg and ‘rolling’ (turning) it over.


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


Whiskered Treeswift  – calls, social behaviour

posted in: birds, Miscellaneous, Vocalisation | 0

I was surprised to see five Whiskered Treeswifts (Hemiprocne comata comata) together in one location. I have almost always seen them in pairs. I have seen three before, where there was a courtship ‘battle’ for a female. But on this occasion 5 birds were amicably together on a bare tree, foraging intermittently and extremely vocal; at least 2 were female and 2 males.

Wells (1999), on social organisation, states “Nearly always a territorial pair .… or at most a pair plus recent offspring …. A no stage do Grey-rumped Treeswift-type gatherings form ….” Chantler (Chantler P. 1995. Swifts: A Guide to the Swifts and Treeswifts of the World) says “Usually seen alone, or in pairs, although can be seen in groups of up to six”. The group of five birds showed no conflict and even sat of the same branch.

Sonogram and waveform.

As I mentioned, they were very vocal together. Both males and females vocalised and often at the same time. I took the opportunity to get call recordings. Calls made were the high pitched, up to 16 kHz and of the ‘kwi-kwi-kwi’ or ‘shi-shi-shi’ variety. One recording is here: and the sonogram and waveform is shown.


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

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

Habitat: Trail along primary jungle

Date: 2nd 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

Spotted Dove – egg

posted in: birds, Nesting-failed | 0

During this Covid 19 lockdown period we had noticed a pair of Pink-necked Green Pigeons building a nest in the garden; I observed the male a number of times bringing nesting material to the female. It was a precarious location chosen, an abutment of 3 shrubs/trees (one being a Curry Leaf Tree Murraya koenigii), and we were concerned with success. We had have been having a series of rain storms. As expect they abandoned the nest after one of these strong storms.

Much of the nest was intact and we were surprised to find a pair of Spotted Doves (Stigmatopelia chinensis tigrina) occupying it a few days later. They were soon incubating the eggs. Sadly more violent rain storms damaged the nest further and they lost both eggs and the nest. My wife found one egg cracked but intact on the ground below the nest.

The intact egg was glossy white (discoloured in the image), elliptical and measured 26.0mm by 21.0mm (see images above). Measurements in Wells 1999 of 2 local eggs was 26.4-27.2 by 21.1-22.5. Data from Birds of the World (2020) was more variable in size (range 25–35mm by 19–23mm) but could reflect the different geographical locations.


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

Location: Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Habitat: Urban environment

Date: 6th May 2020

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

Little Ringed Plover

posted in: birds, Morphology-Develop. | 0

Most likely this is a Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius curonicus), other subspecies very rare in region.

It is moving from a breeding to a non-breeding plumage.


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

Location: Malim Nawar, Perak, Malaysia

Habitat: Ex-mining pools, fish farming, extensive wetlands

Date: 7th January 2021

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:

  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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