Yellow-vented Flowerpecker  – new food source

posted in: birds, Feeding-plants | 0

Update my personal observation of food sources for the Yellow-vented Flowerpecker (Dicaeum chrysorrheum chrysorrheum). Observed a new food source, the Clidemia hirta (Hairy Clidemia), which is not unexpected as it is a favourite of many Flowerpeckers.

Fruit Sources (for bigger fruit it takes the flesh piece meal or squeezes the cherry for the juice):

Dendrophthoe pentandra (Malayan Mistletoe)

Bridelia tomentosa (a favourite of many flowerpeckers)

Buchanania arborescens (Gooseberry Tree or Sparrow’s Mango)

Melastoma malabathricum (Straits rhododendron) (also seen fed to juveniles; a favourite of many flowerpeckers)

Clidemia hirta (Hairy Clidemia) (a favourite of many flowerpeckers)

Muntingia calabura (Village Cherry) (a favourite of many flowerpeckers; also given to juveniles)

Scurrula ferruginea (Rusty-leaf Mistletoe) (swallow the fruit whole)

Ficus benjamina

Ficus villosa


Nectar source:

Scurrula ferruginea (Rusty-leaf Mistletoe)



Also seen investigating spider webs


Amar-Singh HSS (Dato’ Dr)

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia


Habitat: Secondary growth adjacent to limestone outcroppings

Date: 7th December 2020

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



Currawong regurgitates seeds into birdbath in Redcliffe, Queensland

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

On 9 October 2021, Ruth Lister from Redcliffe, Queensland, Australia shared her observations and a photograph of regurgitated seeds in the birdbath and another picture of a bluetongue skink (Tiliqua scincoides) drinking from a water bowl. She was commenting in our post  


Not sure what these seeds are. We live in Redcliffe, Qld. I posted a comment on this morning about our resident Currawong who has recently started spitting these seeds on to the top of the fence rail and into the birdbath. It’s only relatively new to our neighbourhood, started hearing it in late autumn and through winter.

I’ve been removing the seeds, as I don’t want ‘something’ possibly  huge, springing up in the tiny side yard beside our unit.

Anyway, here’s a picture of the seeds. The water turns green, then  black after a day.

Here’s also a picture of one of our resident ‘Blueys’ having a drink from the shallow bowl I placed near the birdbath until I cleaned and refilled it.

Have a great day.
Ruth Lister

Seeds regurgitated by currawong in Ruth Lister’s birdbath in Redcliffe, Queensland, Australia.
Eastern bluetongue skink drinking from water bowl in Ruth Lister’s garden, Redcliffe, Queensland, Australia.                                               


Can anyone familiar with Queensland flora identify the seeds in the birdbath of Ruth’s garden?


Banded Broadbill – juvenile or subadult

I was able to observe a number of Banded Broadbills (Eurylaimus javanicus pallidus) today (above).

One of them had immature plumage and was self-feeding. I was deciding if it was a juvenile or subadult. The breast was pale with a central dark stripe all the way up but the upper parts were reasonable well developed as was the face (above, below). This coupled with the self-feeding suggests a subadult.

Prey seen taken was some type of Stag beetle (family Lucanidae) – see below.


Amar-Singh HSS (Dato’ Dr)

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia


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

Habitat: Trail along primary jungle

Date: 23rd December 2019

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


Bay Woodpecker – family unit

posted in: birds, Miscellaneous | 0

These were near impossible images to get, high up in thick foliage and observed in overcast weather with light rain, but worth reporting. Bay Woodpeckers (Blythipicus pyrrhotis cameroni) are noted to forage singly and partners do not forage close to each other (Handbook of the Birds of the World 2018, Wells 1999). We spotted 3 birds together in the same tree. I suspect this is a family unit as one bird was waiting expectantly (not foraging), possibly to be fed.

The female (seen in both images) was very industriously hammering into a trunk of a live tree for a long period of time and created a deep hole. The presumed juvenile and male who was foraging nearby came to join her.


Amar-Singh HSS (Dato’ Dr)

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia


Location: Fraser’s Hill, Pahang, Malaysia

Habitat: 1300 m ASL, primary montane jungle

Date: 190th November 2018

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


Baya Weaver – less common nesting sites

posted in: birds, Nesting | 0

Baya Weaver (Ploceus philippinus infortunatus) nesting is familiar to all of us. From my experience it is usually over water or other sites with difficult access to humans and in tress with Oecophylla ants (Weaver Ant or locally called Keranga Ant). At times they build, in large communities, in very tall Coconut Palms with nests attached to the fronds. Less commonly I have seen them use reeds. I once saw a young adult male do this but the nest episode failed (Amar 2010). Quader 2006 studied ‘What makes a good nest?’ and concluded that “nest location is a slightly better predictor of success than nest architecture”. “Although nesting success increases with nest height, thickness of the supporting branch, building in thorny trees and woven with fine fibre” … however female choice of nests is influenced more by location than by architecture”.

Baya Weaver nest anchored around a pair of reeds.

They are a number of threats to Baya Weaver nests including lizards, snakes, crows, etc. But as Oschadleus 2014 states (and I fully agree) “Nest destruction by humans is probably the most important source of loss”.

Baya Weaver nests built among reeds.

Ulu Dedap in Perak is a large rice growing region where there is a sizable population of Baya Weavers. I suspect the Weaver ants like the site due to plentiful supply of food – one of their favourite grains, the Pennisetum purpureum (Elephant Grass), is abundant here (planted as a wind breaker along ditches). But tree nesting sites are limited. There are few trees which are scattered at the edges of some of the padi fields but all are easily accessible to man and very visible. All the birds I saw nesting, on this occasion, were building their nests on reeds (2 images above) or tall grass (2 images below).

Baya Weaver nests among tall grasses.

Building on reeds requires special skills on how to anchor the nest (top image). Unlike a tree or frond where they can have one attachment point, here the attachment is spread out or lengthened. What I found really unusual was the few birds that were building their nests among tall grasses (above, below). This was grass 2-2.5 meters high and they had somehow anchored the nests to a number of grass leaves at about 1.5 meters. Contrary to Quader 2006 work on female acceptance influenced by location, one of these nests was already approved and the female was assisting in the building (below – note two birds building the nest). Unlike my previous experience, these birds would not fly elsewhere to get nesting material but just harvest it adjacent to the nest. I suspect the birds use the tall grass and reeds to nest in this location as they offer protection from animal prey – the grass or reeds are too soft to hold the weight of many of the predators.

Baya Weaver nests among tall grasses. Note the two birds building the nest.

I have concerns with this nesting site. The tall grass is not as hardy as a tree branch and may not last the nesting period. Being low down, it is also fairly accessible to humans. With grass all over, even in front of the nest, I also wonder how easy it will be for birds to enter the nest, especially when feeding young.


  1. Amar-Singh HSS. 2010. Baya Weaver’s failed attempt at nest building. Bird Ecology Study Group. Available here:
  2. Suhel Quader. 2006. What makes a good nest? Benefits of nest choice to female Baya weavers (Ploceus philippinus). The Auk. 123 (2): 475–486. Available here:
  3. Dieter Oschadleus. 2014. Weaver Watch: Baya Weaver Ploceus philippinus. Available here:
  4. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: Baya weaver. Available here:


Amar-Singh HSS (Dato’ Dr)

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia


Location: Ulu Dedap, Perak, Malaysia

Habitat: Extensive Rice Growing region, providing wetlands

Date: 7th February 2019

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

Yellow-bellied Prinia – prey and plumage

Saw a number of pairs of Yellow-bellied Prinia (Prinia flaviventris rafflesi) breeding. This male had an unusual prey for the young (above). At first glance it looked like a bee but reviewed all my images and the eyes are too large. Possibly fly that is a ‘bee-mimic’, the Eristalis tenax (Hoverfly or Drone fly).

Note again the breeding plumage changes in males (top and above) – an indistinct, brownish (or buff) upper breast or lower neck band. In some birds this extends lower down and almost confluent with the yellow belly.

Despite breeding the male was in moult in the face and tail – above image focuses on the tail moult.


Amar-Singh HSS (Dato’ Dr)

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia


Location: Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Habitat: Urban environment

Date: 7th September 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



Jungle Crow/Large-billed Crow

posted in: birds, Feeding strategy, Reports | 0

A flock of Large-billed Crows (Corvus macrorhynchos macrorhynchos) fly over our home daily to and from their feeding sites. In recent weeks some of them have changed their routine and taken to doing this very early in the morning, at 4.45-5.15am. Unsure why they need to do this so early?

The image above shows a crow feeding on road kill; once it saw me watching, the food was moved to ensure I did not pinch it.


Amar-Singh HSS (Dato’ Dr)

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia


Location: Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Habitat: Semi-Urban environment

Date: 15th April 2019

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


Ashy Tailorbird – plumage/ID issues

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

Making an ID of an Ashy Tailorbird (Orthotomus ruficeps cineraceus) is not difficult but it is not always easy to differentiate a female from an immature male. Some of the sexing on OBI may require a revision (including ones I have posted). The first two images below are composites of birds that were together as a family unit (two different sets of birds, one from an earlier time). In both instances/composites the bird on the lower half of the composite is an adult male – the full orange-rufous face mask (including chin) and dark breast make that certain.

In the first composite (above) the bird on the upper half of the composite appears to be an adult female – the less extensive and intense orange-rufous face mask and pale white chin. Note also that Wells (2007) states that the iris in adult males is amber and in adult females it is yellowish-brown. Despite the different lighting you can note there is a different in iris colours of the adult male and female.

In the second composite (above) the bird on the upper half is less clear. There an ‘incomplete’ orange-rufous face mask that is less intense in colour suggesting a female but the chin has some orange-rufous suggesting a male. The iris is paler and more yellowish-brown suggesting a female. My opinion is that it is possibly a sub-adult male. Having seen many juveniles, their iris is muddy brown, and hence the iris in this bird could be in transition. All this is assuming that females will never have any orange-rufous on the chin – I am not entirely convinced this is always true. Appreciate opinions from experience with these birds.

Above shows a full image of the bird described in second composite (possible immature male). Below shows an adult male in all his breeding glory with a lovely dark chest.


Amar-Singh HSS (Dato’ Dr)

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia


Location: Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Habitat: Secondary growth at city fringe

Date: 23rd April 2019

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



Asian Brown Flycatcher (Muscicapa dauurica)

posted in: birds, Feeding-invertebrates | 0

Dr Pary Sivaraman shared his beautiful photograph of an Asian Brown Flycatcher ( Muscicapa dauurica) at Jurong Lake Gardens on 4 October 2021, 6.47 pm.  It had a decapitated dragonfly in its beak.  Below is a description of his chance encounter that resulted in this documentation of the flycatcher’s prey.

Asian Brown Flycatcher Jurong Lake Gardens 041021

Have been avoiding some of these birding hot-spots with the anticipated crowds. Decided to do a quick walk to one of the hot-spots during lunch time to assess the ground situation. It wasn’t crowded and not unexpectedly there weren’t any ‘star-birds’. The Asian Brown Flycatcher was active at that time and managed to get this photo against strong back light.

Pary Sivaraman

4 October 2021, 6.47 pm

Many thanks to Leong Tzi Ming for help in identifying the insect in the flycatcher’s beak.

Bat Hawk

posted in: eyes, Interspecific, Raptors | 0

This was a totally unexpected find this morning in our neighbourhood. We had just returned from cycling when my wife spotted the Bat Hawk (Macheiramphus alcinus alcinus) in our neighbourhood raptor-snagging-tree. It was unexpected as it was already 7.50am.

I have seen these birds at the outskirts of the city, near limestone hills, but usually an early morning fly by. Unfortunately, no flight images but still a great treat to see it in some light. The bird was harassed by one of our local Dollarbird (Eurystomus orientalis) that uses this perch. It made 6 fast swoops with harsh cries to try and dislodge the raptor. But was sadly ignored and the Dollarbird left.

Of interest was that the Bat Hawk used its nictitating membranes much of the time (many images) to cover the eyes. I wondered whether the strong morning light was disturbing it? Or that it was planning to roost there and this was a sleep behaviour? The nictitating membranes looked unusually thick and white, and looked almost opaque as in some owls.

I had a busy day with errands and so had to limit observations, but noted that the bird had left by 8.25am.


Amar-Singh HSS (Dato’ Dr)

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia


Location: Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Habitat: Urban city environment

Date: 18th November 2018

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


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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