Journey of a pair of Crested Goshawk siblings

The Crested Goshawk, Accipiter trivirgatus, has been established residents of Pasir Ris Park, Singapore for some years now.  They build their nests of twigs high  up in the trees. A regular visitor to the park, Derek Yeo has been documenting these bird denizens and  amassed plenty of video footages and photographs.  He has painstakingly pieced many of these digital treasures into captivating videos on You-tube. Derek documented the birds feeding on rodents like rats, squirrels, jungle fowl chicks, bats, coppersmith barbets, mynahs and changeable lizards. His awesome narration and informative tidbits will enthrall viewers.

View the You-tube videos below and learn more about the journey Mel and Ginger undertook from hatching to achieving  independence.

Screengrab of Mel(left) and Ginger(right) taken from You-tube video by Derek Yeo. Pasir Ris Park, Singapore. January 2022.

Video 1: Footages of the parents mating ( July 2021), egg incubation, processing preys to feed the hungry chicks, parent-chick bonding moments and tender moments shared by the parent birds.

Video 2: This video is a first person account by Mel relating to the juveniles learning to fly, dangers posed by crows and hornbills  and the varied diet the parents bring to the growing youngsters.

Video 3: Derek Yeo shows beautiful footages of the juvenile Crested Goshawks learning to be independent, including their comical failures and playful antics.

 

BESGroup thanks Derek Yeo for his generosity in sharing his work on our platform.

 

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Field Observations on the Rufous-fronted Babbler Cyanoderma rufifrons poliogaster

The Rufous-fronted Babbler (Cyanoderma rufifrons poliogaster) is aptly described as unobtrusive by Wells (2017) and there is limited information on the species in our region. Having observed a number of these babblers in 2022, especially in the past few weeks, I would like to add to what we know about C. r. poliogaster. 

The babbler has been observed by myself as a pair; no social groups seen. It has been seen as part of a lowland mixed foraging party with Chestnut-winged Babblers (Cyanoderma erythropterum) and Pin-striped Tit-Babblers (Mixornis gularis); other birds were present but not identified. 

The Rufous-fronted Babbler tends to forage fairly low down (1-3 meters) and there appears to be a preference for bamboo clumps. They look under leaves, occasionally acrobatically hanging upside down. I presume they are looking for invertebrate prey but have yet to observe feeding clearly. They are often in dark parts of the forest, which make observations challenging.  

I have observed nesting material being collected on 18th July 2022; on both occasions dried bamboo leaves (see Image 1 and 2). Breeding is as yet undescribed in our region (Wells 2017).

Image 1: Rufous-fronted Babbler collecting dried bamboo leaves as nesting materials. Kledang Sayong Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia. 18 July 2022.
Image 2: Another image of a Rufous-fronted Babbler collecting dried bamboo leaves as nesting materials. Kledang Sayong Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia. 18 July 2022. 

 

These babblers tend to be better heard than seen. I often hear the classical “hu hu hu hu…” calls (Wells 2017) in the later parts of the mornings; although I have occasionally heard them earlier. Wells (2017) only describes this one type call, although the duration and speed can vary. I have heard the “hu hu hu hu…” being given in a slow, measured pace as well as a fast pace. Most times I have heard 5-10 notes; more often on the higher end of the range of notes. These types of call are often initiated by a single note before the burst of notes. 

A second call I have heard is a responsive call from the ‘partner’. These calls are given at the tail end of the “hu hu hu hu…” calls and are a rough, dragged our “she-she-she” notes. They can be brief or extended. A call recordings of this mixed type of call can be heard here: https://xeno-canto.org/736798 and here https://xeno-canto.org/736797. Two sonograms and waveforms showing these mixed or responsive calls are attached (see Image 3 and 4). Observe the introductory note, followed by a varying number of the classical notes and then the responsive notes which are also variable in length. In the field these responsive notes by the second bird are very soft and easily missed (call recordings have been amplified). 

Image 3: Sonogram and waveform of Rufous-fronted Babbler. Kledang Sayong Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia. 18 July 2022.
Image 4: A second sonogram and waveform of the Rufous-fronted Babbler. Kledang Sayong Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia. 18 July 2022.

 

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

 

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Update on Diet and Foraging Behaviour of the White-bellied Erpornis Erpornis zantholeuca

posted in: bird, White-bellied Erpornis | 0
Image 1: White-bellied Erpornis. Kledang Saiong Forest Reserve, Ipoh, perak, Malaysia. 21st July 2022.

The White-bellied Erpornis (Erpornis zantholeuca) is not commonly seen and Wells (2017) lists it as “near-threatened bordering on vulnerable” in the peninsular. I see the bird occasionally in the lowland jungle, often with other birds in a mix foraging party. I had an opportunity on 21st July 2022 at the Kledang Saiong Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia, to observe additional foraging activities. This is a brief note to summarise its diet and foraging behaviour. 

Participant in lowland mixed foraging parties (bird waves)

As mentioned, often seen as part of a lowland mixed foraging party (bird wave). The composition of these bird waves I have seen include: 

  • 21st July 2022: 4 birds foraging with 4 Hume’s White-eyes (Zosterops auriventer), 1 Cream-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus simplex) and others.
  • 3rd February 2022: 4-5 birds foraging with 4 Grey-headed Canary-Flycatchers (Culicicapa ceylonensis) and a number of bulbul species.
  • 18th July 2018: 5-7 birds foraging with 1 Purple-naped Sunbird/Spiderhunter (Kurochkinegramma hypogrammicum), mixed-species leafbirds, a number of bulbul species, and others. There were self-feeding juvenile White-bellied Erpornis in the group.
  • 31st July 2014: A number of birds foraging with Green Ioras (Aegithina viridissima), Plain Sunbirds (Anthreptes simplex), Ruby-cheeked Sunbirds (Anthreptes singalensis), various bulbul species, flowerpeckers, and others.
  • 30th April 2012: A number of birds foraging with Velvet-fronted Nuthatchs (Sitta frontalis), Blue-winged Leafbirds (Chloropsis cochinchinensis), Arctic Warbler (Phylloscopus borealis), Spectacled Bulbuls (Pycnonotus erythropthalmos), Red-eyed Bulbuls (Pycnonotus brunneus), a Tailorbird (possibly Dark-necked) and others not identified.

Foraging Technique

Their foraging is often ‘acrobatic’, hanging upside down, looking under leaves or slender branches and exploring closed leaves for invertebrate prey. The beak is used to open the curled-up leaves (Amar-Singh HSS 2022a).

Animal / invertebrate is often taken to a branch for processing before eating. The prey is held in one foot and the beak used to manipulate the prey (see Image 1 of a green caterpillar being ‘processed’). 

Diet Personally Observed

Image 2: White-bellied Erpornis with a caterpillar in beak. Kledang Saiong Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia. 21st July 2022.
Image 3: White-bellied Erpornis with an unidentified moth in beak. Kledang Saiong Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia. 21st July 2022.
Image 4: White-bellied Erpornis with a lacewing(?) in beak. Kledang Saiong Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia. 21st July 2022.

Spider (possibly a female Wolf spider) and silk egg sac (Amar-Singh HSS 2022a)

Green caterpillar (see Image 2)

Unidentified Moth (see Image 3)

Unidentified small flying insect (see Image 4, possibly a Lacewing Chrysopa spp.)

Fruit of the Giant Mahang (Macaranga gigantea) (Amar-Singh HSS 2022b)

Other small fruit not identified. 

 

References:

  1. Wells, D.R. (2007). The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula: Vol. 2 (Passerines). Christopher Helm, London.
  2. Amar-Singh HSS (2022a). White-bellied Erpornis – spider prey. Bird Ecology Study Group. <https://besgroup.org/2022/03/20/white-bellied-erpornis-spider-prey/>
  3. Amar-Singh HSS (2022b). New species observed feeding on Giant Mahang fruit. Bird Ecology Study Group. <https://besgroup.org/2022/01/20/new-species-observed-feeding-on-giant-mahang-fruit/>

 

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

21st July 2022

 

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Less Common Calls of the Black-and-yellow Broadbill (Eurylaimus ochromalus)

posted in: bird, Black-and-yellow Broadbill, Calls | 0
Black-and-yellow Broadbill at Kledang-Sayong Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia. 18th July 2022.

Many of us would be familiar with the classical calls of the Black-and-yellow Broadbill (Eurylaimus ochromalus). Wells (2007) describes this call as “the loud advertising call, given by both sexes, is a sustained, rattling trill, accelerating up to scale to a sharp cut off”. I have heard this advertising call often; one juvenile I have heard made a shorter, softer version.

I do not have access to the definitive work by Lambert and Woodcock (1996) where they describe many other vocalisations for this species. Wells (2007) states that “not all of the rest of the vocabulary described by Lambert and Woodcock has been reported from the review area”.

One additional call that is occasionally heard and also reported by Wells (2007) is a curious drawn-out mewing-like call. I have heard it on a very few occasions; once during what appeared to be a courtship event with wing displays. I have also heard and reported these unusual calls by a pair of birds as being made before the ascending advertising calls; there was a rapid transition from the mewing to the advertising calls.

Gulson-Castillo and colleagues (2019) describe “higher pitched and squeakier” soft vocalisations associated with wing displays. These could be the same unusual calls we are discussing here.

Black-and-yellow Broadbill calls, Sono. Kledang-Sayong Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia-18th July 2022.

On 18th July 2022 at the Kledang Saiong Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia, I observed an adult male, at 7.50am, making these less common “screeching mew” (Wells 2007) calls again. I only saw a single bird that was moving from branch to branch, high in the canopy, only making the screeching mew calls (no advertising calls). The bird was very vocal for about 5 minutes. There were no wing displays or feeding behaviour seen. Calls were made 3-5 seconds apart (often 2-3 seconds apart), lasting 0.75 seconds and had both high and low frequency components. An image of the male bird making the calls and a sonogram / waveform are attached.

A call recording can be heard herehttps://xeno-canto.org/738088

At present I would suggest that these calls seem to have some social interaction role, possibly a part of courtship. But more observation is required.

References:

  1. Wells, D.R. (2007). The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula: Vol. 2 (Passerines). Christopher Helm, London.
  2. Frank Lambert, Martin Woodcock (1996). Pittas, Broadbills and Asities. Pica Press
  3. Gulson-Castillo, Pegan, Greig, et al (2019). Notes on nesting, territoriality and behaviour of broadbills (Eurylaimidae, Calyptomenidae) and pittas (Pittidae) in Tawau Hills Park, Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 139(1): 8-27.

 

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

 

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Common Iora juvenile calling to be fed

posted in: bird, Common Iora, Feeding chicks | 0
A Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia) spotted at Bukit Gombak Park on 18 June 2022. Soh Kam Yung thinks it is a juvenile, as he heard it constantly calling, until another (adult) bird came along and fed it.
Photo 1: The juvenile Common Iora calling.
Photo 2: The juvenile Common Iora faced another direction and continued calling.
Photo 3: An adult bird hopped to the juvenile bird and fed it.

 

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Nesting of the Chestnut-winged Babbler Cyanoderma erythropterum

posted in: bird, Chestnut-winged babbler, Nesting | 0

This short note is to summarise observations of the Chestnut-winged Babbler (Cyanoderma erythropterum) nesting. Understanding regarding the breeding biology of this babbler is limited. 

Wells (2007) offers the most detailed account and describes nests as “sited in a tangle of scrambling ferns, in creepers, between a creeper and pair of sapling stems, in a sapling fork, or lodged in the frond-axil of a rattan, 0.3-8m up, mainly towards the lower end of this range. Nests (easily mistaken for trapped litter) are more or less globular with a dorso-lateral entrance, built of dead leaves and leaf skeletons, often large, including palm- or bamboo leaflets, and lined loosely with fine stems and fibre.” Wells (2007) also reports that although most records of nest-building involved just a pair of birds, in two instances a group of 3–5 individuals participated. 

Sheldon, Moyle, and Kennard (2001) report two nests in Sabah and state “nest building was observed twice …. once in two small, adjacent trees about 2 m from the ground in primary forest (Oct 1981) …. and again 4 m up in a Macaranga tree (June 1982) ….. more than two birds were involved in nest building and the nest was not completed”; one “nest was comprised of lacy dead leaves woven with leaf stems and caulked with moss. It was domed, 18 cm high, with a side entrance”. 

There are two other nest reports; one by myself in April 2017 at Perak (see references) and another by Laurence Eu and Alan OwYong in May 2018 at Singapore (see references). The Singapore report describes nest building adjacent to a forest track that was then abandoned and a second nest then constructed about 2 metres from the walking track. Alan OwYong (2018) describes the second nest as “about 20 cm wide, made out of a cluster of dry leaves and twigs, attached to an intertwined mass of leaves and thin branches; the entrance is just a small hole by the front side of the nest; the nest was at mid storey”. This second nest was also abandoned.

To date I have observed three nests at the Kledang Saiong Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia, all spotted during the construction phase. The nest construction was seen in April 2017, October 2021 and July 2022. The first nest (April 2017, see Image 1 and 2) was built about 2.5 meters above the ground in a bamboo thicket, immediately adjacent to a trail in primary jungle. The birds were using a large dead Macaranga gigantea (Giant Macaranga) leaf that had fallen and lodged on the bamboo, as the ‘base’ for the nest.  

Image 1. Kledang Sayong Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak. 30 April 2017.
Image 2: Kledang Sayong Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak. 30 April 2017.

The second nest (October 2021, see Image 3) was also close to a trail in primary jungle (2 meters) and located in dense undergrowth on a slope leading to a stream, possibly 0.3-0.4 metres above the ground (not easy to estimate due to density of vegetation and slope of terrain). This second nest was not possible to approach.

Image 3: Kledang Sayong Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak. 21 October 2021.

The third nest (July 2022, see Image 4, 5, and 6) was approximately 3.5 meters above the forest floor and located in a tangle of creepers in front of a large tree; again it was near a jungle path (5 meters in). 

Image 4: Kledang Sayong Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak. 12 July 2022.
Image 5: Kledang Sayong Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak. 12 July 2022.
Image 6: Kledang Sayong Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak. 12 July 2022.

All three nests could easily be confused for some leaf litter that is collected or trapped in the vegetation. They are globular in shape with a front entrance. Nesting material used in all three nests was dried leaves, especially dead bamboo leaves. Leaf skeletons/spines of leaves and fragments of leaves were also used. Nesting material was often collected some distance from the nest site. No calls were made when near the nest. In all three nesting observations I only saw one pair, and both were actively involved in nest building. 

On all three occasions, the birds seemed comfortable with me watching from about 5-6 meters distance and continued with nest building activities. However, I am aware that Chestnut-winged Babblers abandon nesting sites very easily and kept my observations brief (15 min first nest, 5 min subsequent two nests). However, in the first nest observation, as expected due to proximity to the trail and fragile siting of the nest, it was abandoned when visited a week later. The second nest was successful but very limited follow up observations were possible (due to terrain difficulties in watching the nest) – no data on food for young or incubation and fledging periods. This third nest appears to be just completed and I hope it offers an opportunity to watch breeding activities.

 

References:

  1. Wells, D.R. (2007). The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula: Vol. 2 (Passerines). Christopher Helm, London.
  2. Sheldon, F. H., R. G. Moyle, and J. Kennard (2001). Ornithology of Sabah: History, Gazetteer, Annotated Checklist, and Bibliography. Ornithological Monographs 52. American Ornithologists’ Union, Washington, D.C., USA.
  3. Amar-Singh HSS (2017). Chestnut-winged Babbler – nest building. Bird Ecology Study Group. <https://besgroup.org/2017/05/22/chestnut-winged-babbler-nest-building/>
  4. Laurence Eu and Alan OwYong (2018). Nest building by a pair of Chestnut-winged Babblers in Singapore. Singapore Bird Group. <https://singaporebirdgroup.wordpress.com/2019/07/21/nest-building-by-a-pair-of-chestnut-winged-babblers-in-singapore/>

 

 Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

 

 

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This short note is to summarise observations of the Chestnut-winged Babbler (Cyanoderma erythropterum) nesting. Understanding regarding the breeding biology of this babbler is limited.

 

Wells (2007) offers the most detailed account and describes nests as “sited in a tangle of scrambling ferns, in creepers, between a creeper and pair of sapling stems, in a sapling fork, or lodged in the frond-axil of a rattan, 0.3-8m up, mainly towards the lower end of this range. Nests (easily mistaken for trapped litter) are more or less globular with a dorso-lateral entrance, built of dead leaves and leaf skeletons, often large, including palm- or bamboo leaflets, and lined loosely with fine stems and fibre.” Wells (2007) also reports that although most records of nest-building involved just a pair of birds, in two instances a group of 3–5 individuals participated.

 

Sheldon, Moyle, and Kennard (2001) report two nests in Sabah and state “nest building was observed twice …. once in two small, adjacent trees about 2 m from the ground in primary forest (Oct 1981) …. and again 4 m up in a Macaranga tree (June 1982) ….. more than two birds were involved in nest building and the nest was not completed”; one “nest was comprised of lacy dead leaves woven with leaf stems and caulked with moss. It

was domed, 18 cm high, with a side entrance”.

 

There are two other nest reports; one by myself in April 2017 at Perak (see references) and another by Laurence Eu and Alan OwYong in May 2018 at Singapore (see references). The Singapore report describes nest building adjacent to a forest track that was then abandoned and a second nest then constructed about 2 metres from the walking track. Alan OwYong (2018) describes the second nest as “about 20 cm wide, made out of a cluster of dry leaves and twigs, attached to an intertwined mass of leaves and thin branches; the entrance is just a small hole by the front side of the nest; the nest was at mid storey”. This second nest was also abandoned.

 

To date I have observed three nests at the Kledang Saiong Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia, all spotted during the construction phase. The nest construction was seen in April 2017, October 2021 and July 2022. The first nest (April 2017, see Image 1 and 2) was built about 2.5 meters above the ground in a bamboo thicket, immediately adjacent to a trail in primary jungle. The birds were using a large dead Macaranga gigantea (Giant Macaranga) leaf that had fallen and lodged on the bamboo, as the ‘base’ for the nest. The second nest (October 2021, see Image 3) was also close to a trail in primary jungle (2 meters) and located in dense undergrowth on a slope leading to a stream, possibly 0.3-0.4 metres above the ground (not easy to estimate due to density of vegetation and slope of terrain). This second nest was not possible to approach. The third nest (July 2022, see Image 4, 5, and 6) was approximately 3.5 meters above the forest floor and located in a tangle of creepers in front of a large tree; again it was near a jungle path (5 meters in).

 

All three nests could easily be confused for some leaf litter that is collected or trapped in the vegetation. They are globular in shape with a front entrance. Nesting material used in all three nests was dried leaves, especially dead bamboo leaves. Leaf skeletons/spines of leaves and fragments of leaves were also used. Nesting material was often collected some distance from the nest site. No calls were made when near the nest. In all three nesting observations I only saw one pair, and both were actively involved in nest building.

 

On all three occasions, the birds seemed comfortable with me watching from about 5-6 meters distance and continued with nest building activities. However, I am aware that Chestnut-winged Babblers abandon nesting sites very easily and kept my observations brief (15 min first nest, 5 min subsequent two nests). However, in the first nest observation, as expected due to proximity to the trail and fragile siting of the nest, it was abandoned when visited a week later. The second nest was successful but very limited follow up observations were possible (due to terrain difficulties in watching the nest) – no data on food for young or incubation and fledging periods. This third nest appears to be just completed and I hope it offers an opportunity to watch breeding activities.

 

References:

  1. Wells, D.R. (2007). The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula: Vol. 2 (Passerines). Christopher Helm, London.
  2. Sheldon, F. H., R. G. Moyle, and J. Kennard (2001). Ornithology of Sabah: History, Gazetteer, Annotated Checklist, and Bibliography. Ornithological Monographs 52. American Ornithologists’ Union, Washington, D.C., USA.
  3. Amar-Singh HSS (2017). Chestnut-winged Babbler – nest building. Bird Ecology Study Group. <https://besgroup.org/2017/05/22/chestnut-winged-babbler-nest-building/>
  4. Laurence Eu and Alan OwYong (2018). Nest building by a pair of Chestnut-winged Babblers in Singapore. Singapore Bird Group. <https://singaporebirdgroup.wordpress.com/2019/07/21/nest-building-by-a-pair-of-chestnut-winged-babblers-in-singapore/>

 

 

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

 

 

Black and Golden Cicada, Huechys fusca mating

Soh Kam Yung spotted the seldom seen Black and Golden Cicada (Huechys fusca) at Upper Seletar Reservoir Park on 11 July 2022. He was delighted to have encountered a mating pair too.
Photo 1: Rear to rear mating position in Black and Golden Cicada.
Photo 2: Top view of mating pair.
Photo 3: Dorsal view of a Black and Golden cicada, Huechys fusca.
Photo 4: Dorso-lateral view of a Huechys fusca.
Photo 5: Side view of a Black and Golden Cicada clinging to a dried leaf.
References:
1. Male Black and Golden Cicada calling by Leong Tzi Ming https://youtu.be/JdD1qjuSWBA
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A Sample of Malayan Fauna

posted in: Amphibians-Reptiles, birds, Mammals | 0

The gallery below showcases a small sample of the fauna that the intrepid and talented nature photographer Gan Lee Hsia encountered.   She travelled through the length of the Malayan Peninsula and visited nature areas to capture these images digitally.

Photo 1: Peninsular Horned Tree Lizard, Acanthosaura armata. Bukit Bendera, Penang. 18 June 2022.
Photo 2: Dusky Langur baby, Trachipithecus obscurus. Bukit Bendera, Penang. 15 June 2022.
Photo 3: Dusky Langur baby scrambling on tree branch. Bukit Bendera, Penang. 15 June 2022.
Photo 4: Grey-bellied Bulbul, Ixodia cyaniventris. Taman Rimba, Teluk Bahang, Penang. 15 June 2022.
Photo 5: Indochinese Blue Flycatcher, Cyornis sumatrensis. Penang National Park. 11 June 2022.
Photo 6: Rufous-backed Dwarf Kingfisher, Ceyx rufidorsa. Sungai Congkak, Selangor, Malaysia. 1 June 2022.
Photo 7: Hairy-backed Bulbul, Tricholestes criniger. Johor. 31 May 2022.
Photo 8: Rufous piculet, Sasia abnormis. Johor. 7 June 2022.
Photo 9: Scaly-crowned babbler, Malacopteron cinereum. Johor. 3 June 2022.
Photo 10: Banded Broadbill, Eurylaimus javanicus. Panti Forest, Kota Tinggi, Johor. 9 June 2022.
Photo 11: Male Red-naped Trogon, Harpactes kasumba. Panti Forest, Johor. 30 May 2022.
Photo 12: Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker male, Prionochillus percussus. Panti, Johor. 29 May 2022.
Photo 13: Scarlet-rumped Trogon male, Harpactes duvaucelii. Panti, Johor. 27 May 2022.
Photo 14: Scarlet-rumped Trogon female, Harpactes duvaucelii. Panti, Johor. 27 May 2022.
Photo 15: Red-bearded Bee-eater male, Nyctyornis amictus. Panti, Johor. 26 May 2022.

 

All photographs are attributed to Gan Lee Hsia.

 

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Bird galore at Sungei Congkak, Selangor

posted in: birds | 0

Art Toh and his birding friends travelled to Sungai Congkak Recreational Forest, Selangor, Malaysia on 15 June 2022 when the borders opened. He had an exhilarating time sighting and photographing birds he was seeing for the first time. Photographer parlance for this is ‘lifers’. Below is a gallery of some of the birds that captivated Art and made this trip so unforgettable.

Photo 1: Silver-breasted Broadbill, Serilophus lunatus.
Photo 2: Rufous-collared Kingfisher, Actenoides concretus.
Photo 3: Scaly-breasted Bulbul, Ixodia squamata.
Photo 4: Grey-breasted Spiderhunter, Arachnothera modesta.
Photo 5: Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher, Culicicapa ceylonensis.
Photo 6: White-chested Babbler, Pellorneum rostratum.
Photo 7: Verditer Flycatcher, Eumyias thalassinus.
Photo 8: Spectacled Bulbul, Ixodia erythropthalmos.
Photo 9: Golden-whiskered Barbet, Psilopogon chrysopogon.
Photo 10: Purple-naped Sunbird, Kurochkinegramma hypogrammicum.
Photo 11: Striped-throated Bulbul, Pycnonotus finlaysoni.
Photo 12: Sooty Barbet, Caloramphus hayii.
Photo 13: Pig-tailed macaque, Macaca nemestrina.

Art also visited Panti Forest, Kota Tinggi, Johor on 19.6.22 and captured the portrait of a handsome creature, the Pig-tailed macaque which is also known as berok to the locals. This is a vulnerable species. Its common name is an allusion to its short tail that bears resemblance to that of pigs. They are known to disperse seeds of forest plants like the commercially important rattans. The animals found in Singapore are believed to be escaped pets.

 

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_pig-tailed_macaque

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Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker (Prionochilus percussus ignicapilla) with animal prey

The Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker (Prionochilus percussus ignicapilla) is considered an “obligate frugivore” (Wells 2007). Cheke and Mann (2001) describe the diet as fruit and possibly nectar and pollen of mistletoes (Loranthaceae). Food items identified by Wells (2007) includes the fruit of Melastoma malabathricumFicus aurantiacea and Syzygium aqueum (Eugenia aquea). 

On 13th June 2022, at the Kledang Saiong Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak, I observed an adult female Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker searching for prey in a tree which had no fruit or flowers (Image 1). I then saw it acquire a caterpillar (Image 2). Once it had caught the caterpillar, the bird flew off immediately without consuming the prey. I assume this was to bring the prey to its juvenile(s); nest and juveniles were not seen. Identity of the flowerpecker can be seen better in the third image, which was taken moments earlier in a brighter location.

Photo 1: An adult female Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker searching for prey in a tree which had no fruit or flowers.
Photo 2: The bird later emerged from the foliage with a caterpillar in its beak.
Photo 3: The bird came into full view and Amar was able to establish its identity.

In the past I have seen it rob spider webs and take spiders; presumably again as food for juveniles. It is possible that many bird species, where adults predominantly feed on fruits or nectar, will feed their juveniles animal prey (insects) as a protein source for early growth and development. 

A Summary of Food Items I have Personally Observed

Piper aduncum (Tree Pepper or Spiked Pepper) – feed on the fruiting stalks

Clidemia hirta (Hairy Clidemia) – feed on fruit; a favourite food

Melastoma malabathricum (Straits Rhododendron) – feed on fruit

Bridelia tomentosa – feed on fruit; fruit is 4.5-6.5mm in diameter

Ficus villosa – feed on fruit

Ficus consociate – feed on fruit 

Ficus benjamina – feed on fruit

Psidium guajava (Guava) – feed on fruit

Syzygium samarangense (Eugenia aquea, Water Jambu) – feed on fruit

Muntingia calabura (Village Cherry) – feed on fruit

Trema tomentosa (Rough Trema) – feed on fruit

Mistletoe species (unknown) – feed on fruit

Also 4 other small jungle berries (one a creeper) of unknown identity. 

An online image search, including the Macaulay Library, shows this species feeding on many types of Ficus fruit, other types of berries, and open ripe Mango and Averrhoa carambola (Star Fruit). 

This species is an occasional participant of lowland mixed foraging parties (bird waves).

 

References:

  1. Wells, D.R. (2007). The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula: Vol. 2 (Passarines). Christopher Helm, London.
  2. Robert A Cheke, Clive F Mann, Richard Allen (2001). Sunbirds: A Guide to the Sunbirds, Flowerpeckers, Spiderhunters and Sugarbirds of the World. Helm Identification Guides.

  

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Read the post https://besgroup.org/2021/10/14/crimson-breasted-flowerpecker-diet/ about Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker foraging behaviour and this post https://besgroup.org/2008/12/19/the-male-crimson-breasted-flowerpecker/ about the difficulty in photographing this species.

 

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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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