Milky Stork 

posted in: birds, Miscellaneous | 0

Some left over observation from wetlands at the Johore coast, Malaysia and Sungei Buloh, Singapore. I saw quite a number of Milky Stork (Mycteria cinerea) at both locations.

The above is a Milky Stork from Johore, Malaysia.

The above is a Milky Stork hybrid with Painted Stork – note the pink in its plumage (tertials), and that the white upper wing coverts are not pure white.

The above is a juvenile Milky Stork from Singapore.

The above shows part of the Milk Stork flock at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Singapore.

The above is a close-up of an adult Milky Stork from Johore, Malaysia.

The above shows a pair of Milky Storks in flight in Johore, Malaysia.

An article by the National University of Singapore 2019 ( states that “… global population numbers about 1,500 individuals in the wild. The region around Singapore and Johor, Malaysia may hold up to about 7-10% of the global wild population”. Sadly some of the Milky Stork are being hybridized with Painted Stork (Mycteria leucocephala); see:

Baveja P, Tang Q, Lee JGH, Rheindt FE. Impact of genomic leakage on the conservation of the endangered Milky Stork. Biological Conservation 2018 Vol: 229 Pages: 59-66.


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

Location: Johore Costal Wetlands and Sungei Buloh Wetlands, Singapore

Habitat: Mangrove forest wetlands

Date: 28-29th October 2018

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

Little Cuckoo-Dove – courtship

posted in: birds, Courtship-Mating, Vocalisation | 0

There were more than 20 Little Cuckoo-Doves (Macropygia ruficeps malayana) in a dense clump of trees and bushes. I watched the courtship chase and calls of the group.

The above bird is a female.

The above is a sonogram and wave form of two types of calls. The second group of three calls are the ‘woo’ courtship calls (see Wells 1999).

Call recording here. I am sure there is some admixture of Barred Cuckoo-Dove calls:


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

Location: 1,700m ASL, Cameron Highlands, Pahang, Malaysia

Habitat: Trail through primary jungle

Date: 6th 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


Ashy Minivet

posted in: birds, Miscellaneous | 0

Ashy Minivets (Pericrocotus divaricatus) are generally found in wild urban gardens as well as along trails at the edge of primary jungle. Occasionally they are garden visitors during the migratory period.

Post 1. Female bird along a trail at the edge of the jungle.

On 9th February 2021, 9-10 birds stopped by our garden during the migratory period to leaf bathe. Obviously, my wife’s garden watering routine is getting well known to the birds. On hot days she will spray all the trees and bushes and many birds relish the opportunity to cool down.

Post 2. In our urban garden.

I initially missed these Minivets as they were at the crown of one of the trees and I was preoccupied with the singing Oriental Magpie Robin. But I spotted them when they called out to leave.


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

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

Habitat: Trail at edge of primary jungle and wild urban garden

Date: 23rd January 2020 and 9th February 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



Barred Cuckoo-Dove – female

posted in: birds, Sex | 0

I was watching the courtship chase and listening to the calls of a group of Little Cuckoo-Dove (Macropygia ruficeps malayana) (more than 20) when I spotted this female Barred Cuckoo-Dove (Macropygia unchall unchall). I am sure there were more in the thicket. Their social use of the same roosting sites as  Little Cuckoo-Doves had previously been observed in the highlands.


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

Location: 1,700m ASL, Cameron Highlands, Pahang, Malaysia

Habitat: Trail through primary jungle

Date: 6th 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


Giant Mudskipper in Pasir Ris mangrove swamp

posted in: Fishes, Mangrove, Mudskipper, Mudskipper | 0

The giant mudskipper Periophthalmodon schlosseri belongs to the Gobiidae family of fish.  The mudskippers have eyes placed at the top of their heads.  They also prefer to crawl about on land with the help of muscular pectoral fins. The fish breathe air through their moist skins as well as extracting oxygen from water they keep sealed tightly within the gill chambers.  Every so often the fish plop into water puddles to change the water  in the gill chambers. The giant mudskippers can grow to 27 cm in length.  They feed on crabs and worms in mangrove swamps.

Cultured mudskippers are sold as table-fish in Taiwan.

Photo 1 by Soh Kam Yung. 27 February 2022. Pasir Ris mangroves, Singapore.
Photo 2 by Soh Kam Yung. 27 February 2022. Pasir Ris mangroves, Singapore.


Photos 1 & 2 on iNaturalist [ ]

Read this post and  this post by Leong Tzi Ming. In the first post, Leong TM described the mudskipper being harassed by pesky mosquitoes.  In the second post, a mudskipper gobbled up a crab.
1. A guide to Mangroves of Singapore by Peter K.L. Ng & N. Sivasothy © 2001
2.Biodiversity of Singapore: An encyclopedia of the Natural Environment and Sustainable Development © 2011 Edited by:
  Peter KL Ng, Richard T. Corlett and Hugh T. W. Tan
Article by Teo Lee Wei

Brown Shrike – immature birds

posted in: birds, Morphology-Develop. | 0

Some of the immature Brown Shrikes (Lanius cristatus) I saw yesterday.

One key distinguishing feature, pointed out to me by a colleague, that supports immature birds from adult females is the scaling on the crown – seen in all birds. Suspect it’s the best feature for differentiation.

Also note only tip of beak is black, rest pale ivory-blue. Underpart barring intense. Variable eye strip (ear coverts & lores) colour and intensity.

Note the supercilium in most birds runs behind the eye; the exception being the bird second from the top where it extends anteriorly.


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

Habitat: Urban Gardens

Date: 12th October 2018

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


Brown-throated Sunbird – moulting

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

Post 1. Unsure of the sex of this juvenile.

I have not been paying enough attention to two Brown-throated Sunbirds (Anthreptes malacensis malacensis) in the garden who have been enjoying the nectar from our Callistemon spp (Bottlebrush tree) and Albizia spp (Mimosa Tree).

Post 2.

Some images of the self-feeding male, moulting. This could be a juvenile/immature moulting into adult plumage, but there hardly any ‘convincing’ gape present and bare parts look adult.

Post 3.

There is no data on eclipse plumage phase for adults but it may be possible. I am uncertain why the tail in this bird is so short. The calls the bird made were like those of an adult. Note that juvenile bills are usually lighter with some pale pink/orange.

Post 4. A composite image of 4 different birds showing the transition from juvenile to adult plumage.

Post 5. This is a juvenile female. Note the lighter, orange lower, proximal mandible and gape.

I cannot be sure of the sex of the first juvenile in Post 1. After reviewing all my observations of immatures moulting, the first metallic plumage to appear are usually some feathers in the face/neck giving the appearance of a moustachial steak, and a few feathers in the scalp. This is followed by changes at the nape. Mantel changes are late.

Post 6. This is a male in strong light with a blood-red iris.

Post 7. A sonogram of the calls of this male.

The above is the sonogram of the calls of the male, common calls made by this species and usually repeated in varying frequency – can be rapid in sequence (every second) or 3-5 seconds apart. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (2020) describes these 2-3 note calls as the ‘song’ and translates them as “sweet-sweet”, or “swit-swit-sweet”. The sonogram is fascinating in its structure, showing far more complexity to the ‘song’ than what we hear with our ears.


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

Habitat: Urban environment

Date: 25th July 2020

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



Brown Shrikes around Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

posted in: birds, Miscellaneous | 0

On 7th February 2019 I saw a number of Brown Shrikes (Lanius cristatus) that were moulting. This was at an extensive Rice Growing region that provided wetlands at Ulu Dedap, Perak. Managed to get near this one for images (above). Both tail and wing moult.

On 29th April 2019, at a secondary growth around the city fringe, there were still quite a number of Brown Shrikes, like this adult female above.

On 1st October 2019 at a semi-urban part of the city, Brown Shrikes have descended upon the city and made their presence very palpable this last week as they jostle (verbally) for territorial space. An adult female, possibly L. c. cristatus, that was atypical in allowing me to get within minimum focusing distance and tolerated my presence (above).

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

Location: Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Habitat: various, see above

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

Brown Shrike – male and female

posted in: birds, Sex | 0

An adult male Brown Shrike, possibly L. c. cristatus.

An adult female Brown Shrike, possibly L. c. cristatus.


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

Habitat: Urban environment

Date: 12th February 2021 (male) and 25th January 2021 (female)

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

Brown-throated Sunbird – nectar feeding

posted in: birds, Feeding-plants | 0

Above is an adult male Brown-throated Sunbird (Anthreptes malacensis malacensis)  feeding on the nectar of the Callistemon species (Bottlebrush) in our garden. A common nectar source.

Above is also a male Brown-throated Sunbird feeding on Scurrula ferruginea (Rusty-leaf Mistletoe) nectar. This again, is a common nectar source. I am not certain if the Brown-throated Sunbird has a definite eclipse plumage phase (a plumage phase between one breeding season to the other). I have seen birds in this stage of plumage occasionally and they are all self-feeding and behave as I expect adult to (calls, aggressiveness, etc). This could be a juvenile moulting into an adult male plumage if no eclipse plumage phase exists for this species.

Cheke and Mann (2001) and Wells (2007) do not mention an eclipse plumage phase.

  1. Cheke, R.A. and Mann, C.F. (2001) Sunbirds; a guide to the sunbirds, flowerpeckers, spiderhunters and sugarbirds of the world. Christopher Helm, London.
  2. Wells, D.R. (2007) The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula: Vol. 2 (Passerines). Christopher Helm, London.


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

Habitat: Urban environment

Date: 12th and 28th May 2020

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:

  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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