Hadada Ibis foraging in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur

posted in: bird, Feeding strategy, Hadada ibis | 1

The Hadada Ibis, Bostrychia hagedash, is native to sub-Saharan Africa. The pair of birds can be positively identified by the iridescent green wing feathers and the white stripe across its cheeks. Also the down-curved bill is  greyish and the legs are black. The birds are monogamous and pair for life. The hadada ibises love open grasslands, urban parks and gardens. They feed on insects, spiders, millipedes, earthworms, garden snails and small lizards.  Vaneezha Muniandi shared her photographs of the birds on the campus grounds of the Methodist College Kuala Lumpur. The college is located in Brickfields in the city, adjacent to the Klang River. The birds are in breeding plumage.

Photo 1: The hadada ibis silhouetted against a tall building. 6 July 2022. 2.30 pm
Photo 2: A hadada ibis foraging on the campus grounds of Methodist College Kuala Lumpur. 6 July 2022 2.30 pm
Photo 3: A bird foraging on another part of the campus grounds on another day. 8 July 2022 9.24 am
Photo 4: Two hadada ibises foraging together on the campus grounds. The iridescent wing feathers stand out against the dull coloured feathers. 8 July 2022 9.25 am
Photo 5: The grass on the campus grounds harbours a lot of grubs suitable for the dietary needs of the ibises. 8 July 2022 9.25 am
Photo 6: One of the ibises wanders close to the campus area with human activities. 8 July 2022 9.25 am
Photo 7: Both birds forage in area where human traffic can be frequent and intense at periodic intervals. 8 July 2022. 9.26 am
Photo 8: One of the ibises flew up to rest on a tree branch ( Raintree, Samanea saman). 8 July 2022. 9.26 am

 

Read this post about the presence of Hadada ibises in Malaysia https://besgroup.org/2018/10/03/hadada-ibis/

 

View this You-tube Shorts which Vaneezha recorded with her handphone camera.

  https://youtube.com/shorts/SRj3I1pRBhw  

Also view Ng Di Lin’s You-tube Shorts of a Hadada Ibis calling.

https://youtube.com/shorts/rPSk2lF82vY?feature=share

 

Article shared by Vaneezha Muniandy and Ng Di Lin.

8 July 2022.

 

Read this post which shows a vagrant glossy ibis that looks similar to the Hadada ibis in some small measures.  https://besgroup.org/2017/01/20/glossy-ibis-a-vagrant-in-malaysia/ .

 

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Vocal Mimicry: Why do some birds mimic the calls of other birds?

posted in: bird, Mimicry | 0
Photo 1: A pair of Common Hill Mynah, Gracula religiosa.

 

Photo 2: A common mynah, Acridotheres tristis. Ipoh, Perak. 28 Jan 2019

 

I have often heard some birds mimic the calls of others. When I was a child, I was fascinated by a Common Hill Myna (Gracula religiosa) held captive by a neighbour that had been trained to vocalise some human words. In our garden the Common Myna (Acridotheres tristisand Oriental Magpie Robin (Copsychus saularis) will produce the occasional interesting variation in calls or songs borrowed from other species. 

Photo 3: A male jungle fowl, Gallus gallus. Ipoh, Perak. 11 April 2020.

 

Photo 4: A Black and Yellow Broadbill, Eurylaimus ochromalus. Ulu Kinta, Ipoh, Perak. 8 June 2020.

However, in my experience, the vocal mimic master in the lowland forest is the Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus paradiseus). On many occasions I have been misled and searched long for a babbler or rare sounding bird, only to discover that it is the mimicry of a Greater Racket-tailed Drongo. I have heard them imitate the crowing of a Red Junglefowl (Gallus gallus), the sound of a motorbike engine, and even parts of the call of Black-and-yellow Broadbill (Eurylaimus ochromalus). The video recording (link here: https://youtu.be/nm-8BWqQnaQ, calls start at 15 seconds into the video), taken in January 2020, shows a Greater Racket-tailed Drongo imitating the song of a Pin-striped Tit-Babbler (Mixornis gularis). 

Wells (2007) notes that they can mimic various raptors, cuckoos, pittas, waders and a laughingthrush. There is a longer list of bird calls that they mimic in the Birds of the World (Rocamora et al 2020), including woodpeckers, hornbills, babblers, etc. 

Hence the question is why do they perform this mimicry of other birds or even of environmental sounds? I have not conducted any study on this and can only rely on personal field observations and the excellent work of others. 

The possible reasons for mimicry suggested include (not exhaustive): 

  1. Sexual selection

It is possible that the ability to mimic the song of other bird species makes the male more attractive to the female and enhances the possibility of attracting and getting a mate. This has been postulated for the great mimic, the Australian Superb Lyrebird. Recent work by Dalziell and colleagues (2021) show that Lyrebirds may mimic the sound of ‘mobbing’ flock of birds to ‘trick’ females into mating. 

  1. Improve foraging and feeding efficiency

Goodale and Kotagama (2006) offer data that the Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, mimics the songs and contact calls of other participants of a mixed foraging party to “increase their foraging efficiency”; “overall a mutualistic relationship”. My recording of the Greater Racket-tailed Drongo imitating the song of a Pin-striped Tit-Babbler may be associated with this type of behaviour.

Follows (2021) quotes the use of imitating raptor calls by the Greater Racket-tailed Drongo as means to make other bird fly-off and abandon their food to them.

It is said that some shrikes mimic the calls / songs of some songbirds to attract and feed on them (Atkinson 1997).

Brood parasite juveniles are able to imitate the calls of their host species to encourage feeding. 

  1. Territorial and threat function

There is suggestion that mimicry of calls and environmental sounds may serve a function to establish and maintain territory (Mayntz 2019; The Cornell Lab 2009). The “imitation of the alarm calls of other species … may get the attention of other species to help in the attack of a predator” (The Cornell Lab 2009). 

The most comprehensive, recent work on vocal mimicry is by Kelley and colleagues (2008), which attempts to use an evidence-based approach to understanding vocal mimicry. They state that “true vocal mimicry is typically considered to be the acquisition of sounds within an individual’s lifetime” as opposed to “mimicry caused by convergence over generations”. The authors state in their conclusion “we are no closer to determining even a single function for vocal mimicry…. this may, in part, be because of the relative paucity of work…”. “We conclude that there is no compelling evidence to support any of the functional hypotheses but, rather, that almost all of the data concerning song mimicry are consistent with the learning mistakes hypothesis, whereby birds learn simple and common sounds, frequently using them in inappropriate contexts. …. It is plausible that many examples of call mimicry are, in fact, due to evolutionary convergence. 

Much detailed work is still required to understand this interesting behaviour.

 

References:

  1. Wells, D.R. (2007). The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula: Vol. 2 (Passarines). Christopher Helm, London.
  2. Rocamora, G., D. Yeatman-Berthelot, and E. de Juana (2020). Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus paradiseus), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (J. del Hoyo, A. Elliott, J. Sargatal, D. A. Christie, and E. de Juana, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.
  3. Anastasia H. Dalziell, Alex C. Maisey, Robert D. Magrath and Justin A. Welbergen (2021). Male lyrebirds create a complex acoustic illusion of a mobbing flock during courtship and copulation. Current Biology. Volume 31, Issue 9, page 1970-1976. <https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2021.02.003>
  4. Eben Goodale and Sarath W. Kotagama (2006). Vocal mimicry by a passerine bird attracts other species involved in mixed-species flocks. Animal Behaviour. Volume 72, Issue 2, pages 471-477.
  5. Mike Follows (2021). What is the evolutionary advantage of birds’ ability to mimic sounds? New Scientist. Magazine issue 3324, 6 March 2021. <https://www.newscientist.com/lastword/mg24933241-400-what-is-the-evolutionary-advantage-of-birds-ability-to-mimic-sounds/>
  6. Eric C. Atkinson (1997). Singing for Your Supper: Acoustical Luring of Avian Prey by Northern Shrikes. The Condor. Vol. 99, No. 1. <https://www.researchgate.net/publication/242276103_Singing_for_Your_Supper_Acoustical_Luring_of_Avian_Prey_by_Northern_Shrikes>
  7. Melissa Mayntz (2019). Bird Mimics and Mimicry: Why Do Birds Use Vocal Mimicry? The Spruce <https://www.thespruce.com/bird-mimics-and-mimicry-386219>
  8. The Cornell Lab (2009). Why Do Some Birds Mimic The Sounds Of Other Species? <https://www.allaboutbirds.org/news/why-do-some-birds-mimic-the-sounds-of-other-species/#:~:text=The%20female%20Thick%2Dbilled%20Euphonia,predator%20or%20other%20perceived%20threat>
  9. Laura A. Kelley, Rebecca L. Coe, Joah R. Madden and Susan D. Healy (2008). Vocal mimicry in songbirds. Animal Behaviour. Vol 76, Issue 3, pgs 521-528. <http://cognitioninthewild.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk/files/2013/05/Kelly-2008-Vocal-mimicry-in-songbirds-.pdf>

  

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

 

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House Crow gathering undeveloped fruits?

posted in: bird, Corvus splendens, Feeding strategy | 0

On 07 Jul 2022, I observed from my balcony, a House crow (Corvus splendens) flying to a Footstool palm (Saribus rotundifolius) searching for food. The tree was fruiting but the fruits were still green and therefore not ripe. The fruit will eventually change to bright orange and then turn dark, before ripening to a dark colour and eaten by birds.

Photos 1 and 2 show the crow immersing its head into the big bunch of fruits, diligently seeking for its target.

Photo 1: House crow searching for ripe fruits.
Photo 2: House crow searching for ripe fruits amongst the big bunch of fruits.

Photo 3 shows the bird successfully gathering the desired fruit which is dark but smaller than the green fruits that were still developing. The size differences between the green and dark fruits are very obvious in this photo. Could the smaller dark fruit be a fruit that may have stopped growing or even died?

Photo 3: The house crow found a dark coloured fruit. The fruit is much smaller in size than the unripe green fruits.

Photo 4 shows the bird gathering a few dark coloured fruits in its beak, in similar fashion to a barbet bird (Megalaimidae). It then flew off.

Photo 4: The house crow has gathered a few dark coloured fruits in its beak, in barbet (Family: Megalaimidae) style.

 

House crows are highly opportunistic birds and their diet consists of: refuse around human habitations, small reptiles, mammals, insects, other small invertebrates, eggs, nestlings, grain and fruits.

However, this observation made me wonder why a House crow would gather unripe and undeveloped fruits.

 

Thong Chow Ngian

7 July 2022

All photographs are copyrighted to Thong Chow Ngian.

 

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Diet of the Grey-breasted Spiderhunter (Arachnothera modesta)

posted in: bird, Grey-breasted Spiderhunter | 0
An adult Grey-breasted Spiderhunter feeding on the nectar of the Zingiber spectabile (Beehive Ginger; Malaysian Ginger).

I previously reported on the food sources I had observed for the Grey-breasted Spiderhunter (Arachnothera modesta) – see reference. It compromises a predominance of nectar sources with some fruit and the occasional insect. In that list I omitted to mention personal observations of feeding on the nectar of Spathodea campanulata (African Tulip Trees) that is a favourite of many Spiderhunters.

On 4th July 2022 I saw an adult Grey-breasted Spiderhunter feeding on the nectar of the Zingiber spectabile (Beehive Ginger; Malaysian Ginger). The Zingiber spectabile inflorescences have been sprouting for many weeks in various parts of the forest but it is only in recent days that I have seen the small flowers emerge. I also spotted a female sunbird at the plant but missed getting images and identifying it.

 

Reference:

Amar-Singh HSS (2020). Grey-breasted Spiderhunter – food sources. Bird Ecology Study Group. <https://besgroup.org/2022/04/17/grey-breasted-spiderhunter-food-sources/

 

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

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Barn Owl controlling Fruit Bats roosting on eaves of houses

posted in: barn owl, Bats | 0

I was recently informed by Prof. Tan Teck Koon that the eaves of his house were once infested with roosting Common Fruit Bats (Cynopterus brachyotis). The colony numbered about 15 bats and there was one with a baby bat clinging onto the mother.

The bats would fly in and out of the roosting site in the evenings to cling onto the wooden eves, to sleep during the day. Once in a while one or more may end up inside the house. Often the bats brought with them fruits too large to manipulate in flight. This was at level three of the house, just outside his daughter’s room. Once, a young was found dead in the pond below, apparently it fell into it and drowned. Every morning the ground below had to be cleaned of bats’ droppings as well as bits and pieces of fruits. He tried to discourage the bats by various means but without success.

An image of the Barn Owl taken by a surprised Prof. Tan Teck Koon when it came to feed on the bats at his house.

One morning he heard a ruckus around where the bats were roosting. Rushing out to check, he was surprised when he came face to face with a large brown owl with a white face. It was causing panic among the roosting bats. He managed to take a few photos but unfortunately they were not very clear. However, he clearly remembers the face of the owl in the glare of his hand phone and identified the owl as a Barn Owl (Tyto alba) when shown an image of it (below).

An image of the Barn Owl by David Tan

Apparently the Barn Owl had been feasting on the roosting bats. The house is now free of bats.

 

Common Fruit Bats roosting on the eves of houses is common in Singapore HERE.

 

YC Wee

Singapore

3rd July 2022

 

 

Grey-rumped Treeswifts incubate single egg in a tiny nest

posted in: bird, Grey-rumped Treeswift | 0

Shahrul Kamal learnt from other photographers that a pair of Grey-rumped Treeswift (Hemiprocne longipennis, Family: Hemiprocnidae) was incubating an egg in a tiny nest.  He spent 2 hours at the location in Queenstown, Singapore.

The male (red ear coverts)  and female parent took turns to care for the lone egg, defending it from predators and keeping it warm. Estimated time of changeover shift – 50 mins to an hour. He waited out 2 shifts.
These photos capture some of the actions that took place during the switch and the incubation process. At one point it was drizzling.
The nest is very teeny weeny and attached to a branch.
Local Status – Uncommon resident.
This treeswift belongs to a different Family from the true swifts (Apodidae).

 

Photo 1: The male parent turning the egg in the tiny nest.
Photo 2: The male getting into position to warm and shield the egg with its feathers. The fragile nest is made from feathers, moss, plant materials glued together by saliva.
Photo 3: The female bird sits next to its partner.
Photo 4: The male moves away from the nest.
Photo 5: The male flies backward away from the nest.
Photo 6: The female now incubates the egg by perching on the tree branch and broods the egg with its breast feathers.
Photo 7: The female adjusting its position over the nest.
Photo 8: The female covering the egg with its breast feathers.
Photo 9: The female grooming its head feathers while incubating the egg.
Shahrul Kamal
25 June 2022
Margaret Drive, Queenstown, Singapore.

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Rufous-browed Flycatcher (Anthipes solitaris malayana) Nesting

posted in: bird, Rufous-browed Flycatcher | 0
Photo 1: One Rufous-browed Flycatcher flew very close to Amar and landed on the road. It then did a number of wing-flicks and tried to lead him away.

Disclosure of nest observation:

I observed the nest for less than 5 minutes and then left the location; just sufficient time to use a hand phone camera to take some overview and zoomed in images for perspective. The birds appeared concerned with my presence (probably had juveniles) and the location does not allow (not suitable) for distant viewing. 

I observed a Rufous-browed Flycatcher (Anthipes solitaris malayana) nesting in Cameron Highlands at ~1,700m ASL on 30th June 2022. I was walking along a mountain road, with primary vegetation on both sides, when a pair of Rufous-browed Flycatchers flew off (startled) from an embankment. I stood watching them (taking some images) and one bird then flew very close. It landed on the road and approached close to me. It then did a number of wing-flicks and tried to lead me away. I recognised they were nesting and looked closely at the embankment.

Photo 2: The nest was located 0.4-0.5 meters above the road, built into the embankment (see overview, nest in centre of the image).
Photo 3: The nest was built of a variety of different dead leaves and vegetation. It had an oval opening and was buried in extensive leaf litter; the nest was not touched or measured to avoid disturbance. There is minimal protrusion of the nest on the side view. 

The behaviour of the birds suggested that nest building was complete and juveniles were present. 

This is the third time in five years that I have observed a nest at almost the same location.  

 

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

 

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Slaty-backed Forktail (Enicurus schistaceus) Juvenile

posted in: bird, Slaty-backed Forktail | 0

I observed an adult Slaty-backed Forktail with a juvenile in Cameron Highlands at ~1,600m ASL on 30th June 2022. They were foraging along a small road adjacent to primary forest; the nearest stream was about 100-120 meters away. 

To offer some context to this observation:

It had been a very misty, wet and cold morning. Visibility had been poor with a constant steady downpour. Streams were overflowing and rushing. It took some time for the sun to come out and warm the area. There were many puddles of water on the road edge. I suspect some insects may have come onto the tar road for warmth and the streams were too overflowing for easy foraging.

The adult and juvenile were foraging exclusively on the road surface. They appeared to be feeding on small insects (image 1 of prey in juvenile’s beak); prey was too small for me to identify.

Photo 1: Juvenile Slaty-backed Forktail (Enicurus schistaceus) with prey in beak.

The juvenile was being fed by the adult (image 2), as well as at times self-feeding. They would walk/run or occasionally hop along the road looking for prey, with the adult in the lead. At times, when I got too close (~5-6 meters) they would fly a little further or run forward to continue feeding. While foraging, the adult bird would call out almost continually; I wonder if these were contact calls with the mate? I did not see the other adult and wondered if it was feeding another juvenile (brood division for post-fledging care). 

Engilis, et al (2021) have shown that the diet of Slaty-backed Forktails can be very diverse, comprising aquatic insects, terrestrial insects (including butterfly, moths, dragonflies, arachnids), fish and mollusks. Prior opinions that the birds forage exclusively along streams needs to be revised.

Photo 2: The juvenile being fed by the adult.

 I had an opportunity to observe the juvenile’s plumage and compare it with the adult’s. Some observations on the juvenile cf adult (see composite image 3):

  1. Lacks the frontal/forehead white patch.
  2. The lores are white; black in adults.
  3. The throat is grey-white; black in adults.
  4. The breast is grey-white fringed with black (almost like scales); white in adults.
  5. Juvenile’s head and mantle are lighter than the adult’s slaty grey.
  6. The juvenile had a small gape.
Photo 3: Comparison of juvenile and adult plumage.

I tried to obtain some flight images to see tail plumage differences (see images 4 of juvenile in flight and in image 5 the adult is ahead/in front in the composite image). The juvenile tail length appeared shorter, was whiter at the rump, and the white bars were more prominent. Note that the adult’s tail was in moult.

Photo 4: The juvenile in flight.
Photo 5: The adult bird is ahead in flight.

I also saw another juvenile, self-feeding on insects found on the roof of a house. See photo 6.

Photo 6: A juvenile self-feeding on insects on a roof.

References:

  1. Wells, D.R. (2007). The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula: Vol. 2 (Passarines). Christopher Helm, London.
  2. Andrew Engilis, Jr., Punit S. Lalbhai, Irene E. Engilis & Vivek Rawat (2021). Diet and foraging behaviour of three Forktail Enicurus species, including fish in the diet of the Slaty-backed Forktail E. schistaceus. Indian BIRDS <https://www.researchgate.net/publication/353934967_Diet_and_foraging_behaviour_of_three_Forktail_Enicurus_species_including_fish_in_the_diet_of_the_Slaty-backed_Forktail_E_schistaceus

 

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

 

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White-bellied sea eagle nest

posted in: bird, white-bellied sea eagle | 0
Photo 1: Parent bird tearing off tiny morsels to feed the chicks. Courtesy Andy Chew. 14 June 2022.

 

Photo 2: The two chicks waiting patiently and expectantly for parent bird to feed them. Courtesy Andy Chew. 14 June 2022.

 

Photo 3: One of the white-bellied sea eagle chicks calling to be fed. Courtesy Andy Chew. 14 June 2022.

 

Photo 4: One of the chicks exercising and strengthening its flight muscles. Courtesy Andy Chew. 14 June 2022.

 

I brought some students to Fort Canning Park to have a look at the White-bellied Sea Eagle’s (Haliaeetus leucogaster) nest. There are two chicks in there and here are some photos of them with one of their parents.
They were feasting on this fish which the parent brought back. Big and yummy, I suppose!
Andy Chew
14 June 2022

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Plain Sunbird Anthreptes simplex – male’s role with fledglings

posted in: bird, Feeding chicks, Plain sunbird | 0
Photo 1: Juvenile plain sunbird begging male parent for food. 27 June 2022. Perak, Malaysia.

 

Photo 2: Juvenile plain sunbird following male parent from perch to perch. 27 June 2022. Perak, Malaysia.

 

Regarding the parental role of the male Plain Sunbird Anthreptes simplex, Wells (2007) notes that “Females nest-build and attend fledglings; male role undescribed.” Cheke and Mann (2001) make no mention of parental roles. 

I recently reported on Plain Sunbirds nesting, and that observation suggested that males defend the nest from threats.

Today (27th June 2022) at a forest reserve in Ipoh, Perak, I observed an adult male Plain Sunbird feeding a dependent juvenile. I saw the adult male collect and feed Macaranga bancana fruit to the juvenile a number of times. The single juvenile would follow the adult around, from perch to perch, and demand food with calls and the usual fluttering of wings. Two images of the juvenile are shown; note orange bill and feet. 

I did not see any adult female or other juveniles around. It is possible that adults split responsibilities and the female was nearby feeding another juvenile (brood division for post-fledging care).

The observation today suggests that adult males are involved in feeding fledglings. Further observations are required to better understand this species breeding behaviour.

 

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.
  3. Amar-Singh HSS (2022). Plain Sunbird Anthreptes simplex Nesting. Bird Ecology Study Group. <https://besgroup.org/2022/05/22/plain-sunbird-anthreptes-simplex-nesting/

 

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

 

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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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