Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker – Juvenile to Adult Progression

posted in: birds, Morphology-Develop. | 0

I saw this young (immature) self-feeding Flowerpecker at the forest edge in Ipoh on 22nd July 2021 (below). It had a white malar stripe developing with some yellow in the breast. There was a thick orange bill tipped with black. There was no orange or scarlet patch on the crown (had more images to see this well).

This is a juvenile/immature Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker (Prionochilus percussus ignicapilla). At present it is hard to say a male or female.

Having seen many juveniles over the years I thought I would extract a few images and show the progression from a young juvenile to adulthood in the composite image (below):

Birds 1 and 2 are a younger and older juvenile.

One of the first signs of change is the bill tip becoming black (No 2) with some yellow in the breast & an early malar flash. By this time they are self-feeding.

Bird 3 is an immature female – it had an orange crown patch, a darker bill and more yellow in the breast.

Bird 4 is an immature male – it had a darker bill, deeper yellow in the breast and blue appearing above.

Bird 5 is an adult female.

Bird 6 is an adult male.

 

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

22 July 2021

 

Location: Dasyueshan National Forest Recreation Area, Taichung City County, Taiwan

Habitat: 2400 meter ASL, forested region.

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

 

Amar’s observations… many new to ornithology… but why so many?

posted in: Travel-Personality | 0

Those who frequent this site must surely be aware that there has been an unusual flood of posts by Dato’ Dr. Amar-Singh HSS or Amar as he prefers to be addressed, during these few months.

Dato’ Dr. Amar Singh HSS with Datin Dr. Swee-Im Lim during a recent trip to Sikkim.

Amar’s first contribution was way back in August 2009 on the Raffles’ Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus chlorophaeus chlorophaeus) building a nest HERE. From there on his contributions poured in regularly until December 2019 when BESG discontinued postings HERE. After 19 months of inactivity, Teo Lee Wei and K came forward and volunteered to take over the running of the website. The site was resurrected in July 2021 and we began posting again HERE. There were limited contributions then as earlier contributors were yet to be aware of the revival of this website.

However, we had plentiful contributions from Amar in storage. Since we stopped posting, Amar continued with his regular birding forays. At the same time, he continued to send me his observations. By the time the BESG website was restarted, I had accumulated maybe more than a hundred observations, or is there more?

Although the website is now under new management, I have taken the responsibility to post all of Amar’s contributions. This is the least I can do. These are valuable observations and many are new to ornithology. After all, observations not recorded and shared, cannot be taken as contributing to the advancement of our ornithological knowledge.

As of now, 32 have been posted – either one, two or even three per day. And there will be many more to come. So please bear with us if you continue to see more and more of Amar’s observations during the coming months. In addition to the backlog, Amar is still sending his current observations.

Amar is a bird-watcher ahead of his time. At a time when birdwatchers moved around with only a pair of binoculars, he had a camera to record bird behaviour. When cameras became fashionable, Amar had already added a videocam to his birding equipment, not to mention a shotgun microphone for audio recordings. He is still going out regularly, sending us his observations, for after all, bird watching is in his blood.

 

YC Wee

19 September. 2021

 

Changeable hawk-eagle (Nisaetus cirrhatus) bitten by Paradise Tree Snake ( Chrysopelea paradisi) in a life and death duel Part 2

Tan Ghim Pin was at Pasir Ris Park and documented an eagle bitten in the right eye by a paradise tree snake. However, the eagle was unharmed.  The snake managed to slither away and the eagle searched for the snake amongst the bushes nearby but was unable to find it.  The eagle then flew up to a tree and left the area.

The picture gallery below documents the sequence of events before and after the bird was bitten by the snake.

Eagle with snake at lower right of picture before the attack.
Snake bit eagle once on the lower part of the body.
Snake rearing its head up for another attack.
Eagle was attacked in the eye.
The attack viewed from another angle.
Eagle’s right leg releasing its grip on the snake.
The snake slithered away after the attack.
Eagle stood up and watched the snake make its get away.
Eagle searching high and low for the snake. The eye is unharmed.
The eagle still wants its lunch.
Could the snake be here?
Not amongst the bougainvillea?
Eagle still keeping a sharp eye out for the snake amongst the bougainvillea thorns.
Eagle gave up its search for the snake and flew up to this tree, then flew off to another area.

 

All photos © Tan Ghim Pin.

This post is a cooperative effort between Birds, Insects N Creatures Of Asia and BESG to bring the study of birds and their behaviour through photography and videography to a wider audience.

Nesting of spotted doves (Spilopelia chinensis) Part 3: From nest to chicks

posted in: birds, Feeding chicks, Nesting | 0

In Part 3 of Spotted dove nesting, Wei Siong documented the parents feeding the very hungry chicks which have grown bigger.  The chicks are able to obtain crop milk from parent bird simultaneously.  Chicks have grown stronger and are beginning to stand on their legs and flap their tiny wings. The parents continue to tidy the nest and shield the chicks from the hot afternoon sun.

Towards the later part of the video, the mother bird adopted a defensive stance and the intruder appeared in view.  Mother and chick predator stared at each other.  All the while the chicks were tugged safely under her body. The tense situation when the predator flew off.

Chestnut-naped Forktail – female

posted in: birds, Species | 0

The Chestnut-naped Forktail (Enicurus ruficapillus) is not an easy bird to see (very shy) or images are in dark stream locations.

Above is a female seen foraging along the river bank. Will often raise or lower her tail and use the white tail-flash at the observer.

A video-gif of this behaviour is shown here: https://youtu.be/pmejUPAaV3Q

 

Amar-Singh HSS (Dato’ Dr)

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

30th January 2020

 

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

Habitat: Trail along primary jungle

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

 

Nesting of spotted doves (Spilopelia chinensis) Part 2: From nest to chicks

posted in: birds, Feeding chicks, Nesting | 0

Below is Chua Wei Siong and Wenyi’s continuing documentation of the chicks’ development. The parent birds can be seen shading the chicks from the hot sun beating down on them, tidying the nest, grooming the chicks and feeding the chicks by regurgitating food from the crop. The parents engage in calls and a dance while changing shift.

 

Nesting of spotted doves (Spilopelia chinensis) Part 1

posted in: birds, Nests | 0

Spotted doves are also known as long-tailed pigeons. It was formerly known as Streptopelia chinensis. 

Chua Wei Siong and Wenyi live in Paya Lebar, Singapore and managed to document a pair of these pigeons nesting on their window sill. The apartment is below the 5th level of the building.  Here is Wei Siong and Wenyi’s account of their observations:

We didn’t notice the dove building a nest as it was behind the window with curtain. When we first noticed it, we saw the dove with eggs. The birds took turns to be at the nest and there were some moments when we witnessed the change of guards. We also saw the hatchlings getting fed from their parents. 

Watch their excellent video below:

 

Common Myna – fruit feeding (new food source)

posted in: birds, Feeding-plants | 0

Although the Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis tristis) is an omnivore with a wide range of diet, I have predominantly seen it take insects and invertebrates, with the occasional small vertebrate (frog or lizard). Its generic name ‘Acridotheres’ mean ‘grasshopper hunter’. Nectar and fruit feeding, although reported, are less commonly observed. I have seen it at fruiting Ficus benjamina in the past but not seen actual fruit feeding. At my home I have seen it take the fruit of the Azadirachta indica (Neem Tree). Today I saw 4 birds feeding actively on a fruiting Ficus (see below). Fruit was taken whole and not processed. It will also feed on/drink the nectar of Spathodea campanulata (African Tulip Tree) held in the flower-cups.

For my region, Wells (2009) notes that it takes the following fruits: Berries of GlochidionVitex pinnata (also called V. pubescens) and the flesh of Jambu & Papaya.

Internationally, Handbook of Birds of the World 2019 adds the following fruit items: Figs, Dates, Apples, Pears, Tomatoes, Strawberries, Grapes, Guava, Mango, Breadfruit and Jackfruit.

An image search offered 2 images (one in OBI) of it eating a Ficus but piece-meal, a few images (same bird) at a fruiting Glochidion, 3 images of it eating some fruit (possibly papaya) either discarded or offered by man.

 

Amar-Singh HSS (Dato’ Dr)

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

28th January 2019

 

Location: Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Habitat: Urban environment

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

 

Cuckoo for ID (Indian vs Oriental)

posted in: birds, Identification | 0

Saw this adult male Cuckoo today and I am trying to determine the identification. Using terminology, distribution and features from: Johannes Erritzøe, Clive F. Mann, Frederik P. Brammer and Richard A. Fuller. Cuckoos of the World, Helm, 2012. Also using Wells 1999, HBW 2019, and other references for identification.

2…

For Cuculus Cuckoos the possibilities are:

Oriental Cuckoo (Cuculus saturatus)

Indian Cuckoo (Cuculus micropterus)

Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) – does not reach far south enough

Sunda Cuckoo (Cuculus lepidus) – confined to the highlands in Peninsular Malaysia

So I am trying to differentiate between Oriental & Indian Cuckoos.

I have seen the Indian Cuckoo well in the past and this bird overall did not look like one (jizz). I think it is an Oriental Cuckoo. Appreciate any opinions and clarification.

 

Amar-Singh HSS (Dato’ Dr)

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

28th February 2019

 

Location: Ulu Kinta Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Habitat: Previously logged forest with secondary growth and some residual primary forest

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

 

Cattle Egret – Pectinate Claw

posted in: birds, Morphology-Develop. | 0

A local veterinarian friend contacted me for some advice on a Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis coromundus) that was brought in with a broken wing (fractured femur). I took the opportunity to further my interest in the pectinate claws of birds. Watching or imaging a pectinate claw/toe in the wild is quite difficult and I have only imaged three species so far, including the Large-tailed Nightjar who has been resident in our home garden for 2 years.

There are differing opinions as to the function of the pectinate claws in birds. Gill (2007) states: “Herons, nightjars, and barn owls have miniature combs on their middle toe claws that are used in grooming”. McKilligan (2005) says in describing herons, egrets and bitterns “A characteristic of the heron family is the serrated edge of the claw of each third (middle) toe. This claw is described a ‘pectinate’ and is used as a comb by the bird in feather maintenance”. Many other sites and literature repeat this opinion and that pectinate claw combs out ectoparasites. Some also point out variation is size and shape of the pectinate claws among different birds.

The most comprehensive work is by Clayton et al (2010). They describe a review of 118 bird families and found that only 17 possessed pectinate claws; these included herons, nightjars, owls, frigatebirds, terns, grebes, and cormorants. They state that “The efficiency of scratching for ectoparasite control may be enhanced by the presence of a comb-like pectinate claw on the middle toes of some birds”. “The removal of ectoparasites is most widely believed to be the function of pectinate claws, but alternative hypotheses include roles in feeding, removing powder down, or straightening rictal bristles of the face”.

My personal observations of birds grooming have not revealed any bird actually using the pectinate claws for parasite removal or for actual “combing” of the feathers but this activity is not easy to document.

Our home-resident Large-tailed Nightjar’s preening episodes have been extensively watched with video recording and not revealed any such behaviour. Most times the claw is used for scratching and the beak for preening.

The pectinate claws on the Cattle Egret that I observed up close were located on the middle toes. They are not easy to see in some directions and look different from different perspectives. The images show the pectinate claws from different angles and lighting. Claws are small and I used a macro lens for imaging. The serrated edge component is situated on the proximal part of the middle claw/toe. The claws are both 18 mm in length and the serrated edge component occupies 14 mm. The serrations vary in height but are ~1.3 mm (largest) and curved inwards.

References:
1. Frank B. Gill. Ornithology. 3rd Edition 2007.
2. Neil McKilligan 2005. Herons, egrets and bitterns: Their Biology and Conservation in Australia. Csiro Publishing.
3. Clayton, Koop, Harbison, Moyer, Bush. 2010. How Birds Combat Ectoparasites. The Open Ornithology Journal 3: 41–71.

Amar-Singh HSS (Dato’ Dr)
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
6th February 2020

Location: Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Habitat: Urban envirment
Equipment: Equipment: Nikon D500 SLR with Nikon AF-S 105mm f/2.8G VR IF-ED

26 Responses

  1. kris

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

  2. Iwan

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

  3. Khng Eu Meng

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

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

  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?
    Thanks.

  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!

    Thanks,
    Martin

  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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