Anatomy of a nest: Yellow-vented Bulbul II

posted in: Nests | 0

Tan Teo Seng brought me a nest of the Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier) from his fruit farm in Kota Tinggi, Johor, Malaysia (left). The chicks had just fledged and he collected the nest that was built attached to the slender stems of his hibiscus bush (Hibsicus rosa-sinensis). The plant is less than a metre tall but very bushy, such that the birds built the nest near to the ground.

The nest is a typical cup-shaped structure that the Yellow-vented Bulbul builds: 11 cm diameter and 8 cm high. The nest cavity is of 6cm diameter. It sits on a bed of dried leaves held in place by the fern stems.

The nesting material is mainly the pliable branched stems of the Dragon’s Scale Fern (Pyrrosia piloselloides) (left). These stems make up the outer layer of the nest, the longest being 32 cm. They are also used to attach the nest to the three slender main stems of the hibiscus.

Inner to the fern stems are a layer of dried leaves, including grass and bamboo leaves. Plant fibres line the inside of the nest cup, with a few strands of slender, herb stems.

The nesting materials consist of: 22 dried leaves, of which 3 are of durian (Durio zibethinus); 83 pieces of fern stems (Pyrrosia piloselloides); 24 bamboo leaves; and 118 fibre strands.

Blue-winged Minla catching a moth

posted in: Feeding-invertebrates | 2


In May 2008 Adrian Lim a.k.a. wmw998 photographed a Blue-winged Minla (Minla cyanouroptera) catching and eating a moth in the highland of Peninsular Malaysia. He wrote that these minlas “behave very much like Mountain Fulvettas in their eating habit, but they move faster and most of the time, are at a higher level. They are also seen more often in the open than the Fulvettas. These shots were taken early in the morning.”


The bird held the moth in its foot (top) and used its bill to bash as well as rub it against the branch to stun and get rid of most of the scales, if not the wings themselves, before swallowing it (above, below).

This shy forest babbler is little known. Wells (2007), who calls it Blue-winged Minla, gives its food as a variety of berries, stating that no animal food has been identified.

Collars & Robson (2007) place it as a Siva. They believe that it is markedly different vocally from Minla and there is no evidence for a close relationship – thus Blue-winged Siva (Minla cyanouroptera). The food is recorded as “Insects, berries and seeds.”

Adrian has obviously uncovered a new food record for this babbler – a moth.

Collar, N. J. & Robson, C. (2007). Family Timaliidae (Babblers). Pp. 70-291 in: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. & Sargatal, J. eds. Handbook of the birds of the world. Vol. 12. Picathartes to Tits and Chikadees. Barcelona: Lynx Editions.
2. Wells, D.R. (2007). The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsular. Vol. II, Passerines. Christopher Helm, London.

This post is a cooperative effort between and BESG to bring the study of bird behaviour through photography to a wider audience.

Bee-eaters and comfort behaviour

Bee-eaters are known to spend up to 10% of daylight hours in comfort behaviour of some kind or other (above). These are mainly aimed at keeping their plumage in top condition.

During rest, these birds can usually be seen going through some of their stretching activities. A common posture is the raising of both forewings above the back with the wrists nearly touching (below left).


The bird then stretches one wing at a time – downwards and backwards (above right). This spreads out the primary flight feathers and possibly air them. At the same time as it stretches a wing, it fans out the tail feathers, more towards the side of the stretching wing (below).


Stretching activities are often accompanied by a bout of active preening.

These activities are believed to help prepare muscles and stimulate blood circulation for subsequent activities. They may also have something to do with feather maintenance.

When indulged with other birds of the same species, such comfort behaviour plays an important role in group social activity.

Johnny Wee, YC Wee & Dr WK Cheah
June 2008

Images from top to bottom: Blue-throated Bee-eater (Merops viridis) by Dr Jonathan Cheah Weng Kwong, Blue-tailed Bee-eaters (Merops philippinus) by YC and Blue-throated Bee-eater by Johnny Wee.

Fry, C.H. (2001). Family Meropidae (Bee-eaters). Pp. 286-341 in: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. & Sargatal, J. eds. (2001). Handbook of the birds of the world. Vol. 6. Mousebirds to Hornbills. Barcelona: Lynx Editions.

Spectacled Spiderhunter collecting nectar

posted in: Feeding-plants | 3

Spidethunters, as the name implies, is supposed to feed on spiders. However, there has been “no record of web-robbing” (Wells, 2007) as its animal diet is not known.

Dr. Redzlan Abdul Rahman managed to photograph a Spectacled Spiderhunter (Arachnothera flavigaster) hovering in front of a bunch of banana flowers collecting nectar from the flowers.

As Dr Redzian writes, “This picture describes very well why Malays call it ‘Kelicap Jantung’ meaning bird that feeds on ‘jantung pisang’ (banana heart).”

It is well known that this spiderhunter feeds on nectar from flowers of banana (Musa), coconut (Cocos nucifera), African tulip (Spathodea campanulata), durian (Durio zibethinus) and Jacaranda filicifolia. What is not known is its animal food.

Wells, D.R. (2007). The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsular. Vol. II, Passerines. Christopher Helm, London.

White-throated Kingfisher: Non-iridescent colours

posted in: Morphology-Develop. | 0


bklim photographed an adult White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis) showing its brilliant colourful plumage – dark chestnut, blue and white. In addition, it has a red bill, dark brown iris, red orbital skin and legs. The female may have a slightly paler head and belly while the juvenile’s plumage is slightly duller. Whatever the sex or age, the bird is a spectacular specimen, guaranteed to impress anyone.

There is a popular misconception that the brilliance of the kingfishers’ colours is dependent on the angle of light, a result of iridescence. But iridescence does not come into play here, nor are the colours a direct result of the pigments.


What are responsible are the microscopic structures of the feather.

The mature feather covering is made up of a hard protein sheath of keratin. Just below this sheath is a layer of keratin cells filled with tiny pockets of air. As white light strikes the feather, the short wavelengths are scattered by the air pockets. As shades of blue (blue, indigo and violet) have the shortest wavelengths, they are scattered the most and in all direction. Thus we see the blue from any angle.

Just below the layer of cells containing the light scattering air pockets are melanin, pigments that absorb most of the longer wavelengths of light. This creates a dark background, thus intensifying the blue we see.

Other non-iridescent colours besides blue are also produced structurally. When the light-scattering air pockets are a bit bigger (bigger than the wavelength of blue light), the result is green (since blue is no longer scattered, and green wavelengths are now scattered the most), as in some parrots.

With even larger air pockets, no wavelengths are scattered, but all are reflected, producing white light and thus plumage that we perceive as white; white does not exist as a pigment in birds.

All images by bklim.

Clark, G. A. Jr. (2004). [‘Form and function: The external bird.’]. Pp. 3.1-3.70 in Podulka, S., Rohrbaugh, R.W. Jr & Bonney, R. (eds.) Handbook of bird biology. Ithaca, NY: The Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

This post is a cooperative effort between and BESG to bring the study of bird behaviour through photography to a wider audience.

To handle or not to handle young birds?

posted in: Miscellaneous | 0

Meibao was taking a stroll in the Singapore Botanical Gardens one day in June 2008 when…

“I came across what seemed to be a stranded Yellow-vented Bulbul chick (Pycnonotus goiavier)… I only noticed it as its parent was trying to feed the chick which was on the ground and was chirping loudly to warn me to stay away… (left).

“There was a family a few feet away… having a picnic and their dog (on lease) was trying to get to the chick though they didn’t notice.

“I ended up not daring to touch the chick as I have read somewhere chicks may get abandoned by the parent if human scent is left on chick.

“Now, I keep thinking should I have tried to rescue it or at least place it on a branch or something so it would have been safer.

“What would be the correct thing to do?”

It is an old wife’s tale that once we handle a young chick, the parent birds would abandon it. Yes, it would be helpful if the chick was placed somewhere safe from the dog… not that the dog would get at it, considering that it was on a lease.

Should we “rescue” a helpless chick and bring it home to look after it? Check out our earlier post HERE.

Chasing Rainbows

posted in: Parrots | 1

“The red, iron bird engaged its landing gears, sending her wheelie feet to hang. Her wings retracted leaving reminges of the ‘bird’ flapping in the wind as the aircraft was guided to a descent onto the airfield tarmac.

“A ‘boomp’ followed, confirming a touch down. My constant travels have taught me well to judge the skills and experience of pilots by how smooth and soft the ‘boomp’ they made. Sometimes, I would whisper into the air-hostess’s ear, turning dimpled smiles into laughters as I made to the exit doorway. I knew only too well my soft whispers would eventually get to the Captain’s ears.

“‘G-DAY! Welcome to the sunshine state of Australia-Queensland’.

“Peering through the glass-cabin hole, I thought it was strange there wasn’t a feathered bird in the airport vicinity to greet me.

“It was later brought to my knowledge that Coolangatta airport authorities actually have field marshals to skirt-drive around the airfield to hoot off birds that fly too near their iron cousins for comfort!

“It has been known that birds do get sucked into propellers, causing kamikaze bird deaths, bad accidents and expensive repairs and maintenance.

“Have I arrived at the other end of the rainbow? Yes!

“It wasn’t long into my birding session that a small party of gregarious Rainbow Lorikeets (Trichoglossus haematodus) appeared and made a bee-line for the native blooms of Queensland Umbrella trees Schefflera actinophylla.

“What resulted was a circus like display of acrobatic skills these musical screechers so well known for, as they trapezed amongst sprays of colourful, red flowers amongst spoke-like umbrella stems of their foliages. | Image 1, 2, 3 4|.


“They wasted no time to dig in and relished the blooms, buds, seeds, nectar and all, pollinating along the way as they carried their hooked pollen-dusted beaks to the next fresh floral sprays. |Image 5, 6|


“The eastern seaboard area, skirting from Cape York to right down South Australia like a crescent, is prolific with this moluccanus race species identified by their greenish yellow collars.

“Rainforests, woodlands, eucalypt forests, open forests, gardens, heaths and urban areas with trees are their favourite areas of habitat. While there are 3 more subspecies or race to contend with, those of the rubritorquis variation in northern part of the Australian continent have red collars.

“In certain field guide books, it is categorised as a separate species called, Red-collared Lorikeet (Trichoglossus rubritorquatus.).

“Surprisingly, all races are vagrants to Tasmania… Not distant flyers?

“Rainbow Lorikeets are mainly frugivores. They have brush like tongues to lap up nectar and pollens. Blossoms, seeds and also berries are their favourites and Australia’s native Bottlebrush species, especially the red Callistemon citrinus is one of their favourite raiding haunts whom they share with their Scaly Breasted Lorikeet (Trichoglossus chlorolepidotus) cousins. |Image 7|

“One can only imagine during the fruit and flowering seasons, how noisy these birds do get and non-birders detesting them for being deprived of peace and quiet…

“However, despite their continuous screeching and chattering, these gregarious birds continued to be treated fondly by residents and bird lovers with generous food handouts in their garden homes.

“Conservationists would say that it is never proper to be feeding wild birds especially with processed foods for fear of overly food dependence. It is also unknowingly introducing bacteria via feeders’ hands and contaminated food itself.
However having said that, some hardy species especially the urban dwellers have showed no adverse effects to such and have multiplied instead.

“So too the ugly word , ecotourism that hangs on the other end of the balancing scale to balance the upkeep of Nature Parks and Wild Bird Sanctuaries with tourist dollars.

“A little commercial corner is not uncommonly set aside these days for tourists to feed birds especially lorikeets. It is a compromised situation hopefully under controlled conditions and everyone goes home happy.

“How could any person ignore such a colourful bird of rainbow colours? While many residents would see just a colourful bird zoomed passed, how many would actually get close enough to admire the mosaic of plumage, this species presents to live up it’s name or be models to the likes of Vincent Van Gogh?

“I was taught memory pegs during school days to remember the colours and reciting them in correct sequence order, counting from the outer bow inwards. The ‘ROYAL OF YORK GAINS BATTLE IN VAIN’.

“Readers taking the first alphabet of each word to represent the colours would get – Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet. See if you can seek out the 7 splendours of the ubiquitous Rainbow Lorikeet attached. Image 8

“Join me to enjoy some quality birds of the sunshine state in the next few articles and why Australians and emigrants simply love it there despite the presence of a hole in the depleted ozone, layered sky above.”


Whiskered Treeswift: Courtship and mating

posted in: Courtship-Mating | 1


The Whiskered Treeswift (Hemiprocne comata) is distinctive in its white facial stripes. It is a forest species and resident in Malaysia. In Singapore it is a rare, non-breeding visitor, although it used to be a fairly common resident before.

Mark Chua a.k.a cajuka managed to document the intimate moments of a pair of Whiskered Treeswifts that ended in copulation.

The image on the left shows the male with his chestnut ear-coverts that is lacking in the female on his left.

It appears that very little is known of the breeding behaviour of this species and every little observation helps to increase our knowledge of this bird.

The nest is a half-saucer of feathers and saliva attached to a thin branch. A single egg is laid. Both the adults incubate the egg and tend to the young.


The images above and below show the male in the process of mounting the female to effect cloacal contact that lasts only a few seconds.


An earlier post gives the nesting behaviour of the Grey-rumped Treeswift (Hemiprocne longipennis).

All images by Mark Chua.

This post is a cooperative effort between and BESG to bring the study of bird behaviour through photography to a wider audience.

Bee-eaters catching insects

posted in: Bee-eaters, Feeding-invertebrates | 0

Bee-eaters hunt from an exposed perch, waiting for insects to fly by. Once an insect is spotted, it flies after it and simply picks it out of the air. The pair of slender and sharp pointed mandibles that make up the bill function like a pair of highly efficient forceps.


The images above show the Blue-tailed Bee-eater (Merops philippinus) manipulating a dragonfly after catching and thrashing it. Clamped at the tip of its bill (left), the bird deftly tossed the subdued insect to reposition it for swallowing (right).


In the case of the Blue-throated Bee-eater (M. viridis) that has caught what looks like a wasp and a moth, the prey is similarly treated (above).


When a venomous bee is caught, as in the case of the Rainbow Bee-eater (M. ornatus) of Australia, the prey needs to be rubbed against the perch to remove the sting and the venom (above).


The images above show the Rainbow Bee-eater with a beetle (left) and a cicada (right) in its bill. Again, these insects need to be subdued before swallowing.

This post is a cooperative effort between and BESG to bring the study of bird behaviour through photography to a wider audience.

Dr Eric Tan
June 2008

Blue-eared Barbet and its black gular sac

According to the literature, the prominent black sac seen in the Blue-eared Barbet (Megalaima australis) is a gular sac, also called vocal sac. See earlier posts 1, 2 and 3.


Birds produce most of their sounds with their syrinx, the sound producing organ sited where the windpipe divides into two. What is less known is that there are secondary acoustic structures that modify the sounds produced by the syrinx – whether to spread, amplify or reverberate. One of these is the vocal sac, prominent and exaggerated in some species.

According to Dantzker & Bradbury (2006), the bare vocal or gular sacs seen in the North American grouse and the Neotropical cotingas are inflated only in acoustic display. As most of these sacs are brightly coloured, they are probably also involved in visual signaling. The pan-tropical frigatebirds (below left) and two storks, the Old World Marabou (Leptoptilos crumeniferus) (below right) and New World Jabiru (Jabiru mycteria), also inflate their necks and vocalise, but not always at the same time.


In the above species, the sacs are often held fully inflated for lengthy periods in a strictly visual display and only used occasionally in sound production.

Three other groups have vocal sacs that are equally impressive but not devoid of feathers. Perhaps the most striking is the kakapo (Strigops habroptilus), an endangered flightless parrot from New Zealand that seems to inflate its whole body when booming. Many medium to large bustards, like the Kori Bustard (Ardeotis kori) (below left) inflate sacs that are often covered in elaborate feathering; and some but not all inflating bustard species vocalise while inflated (Collar, 1996; Dantzker & Bradbury, 2006).


According to Johnsgard (1983), certain calls among yearling crowned cranes involve the inflation of the gular sac. This is thought to serve as a resonator that may provide increased carrying power. In the Australian Crane (Grus rubicundus), the gular sac of the male is inflated during display and possibly helps to resonate low-frequency sounds. The Grey Crowned Crane (Balearica gegulorum) of Africa is shown above (right).

Strangely, there is no mention of barbets having gular sacs, not even in the most recent monographs of these birds. It is now obvious that the Blue-eared Barbet’s black sac plays a role in vocalisation, possibly also in fruit storage. And according to Adrian, other species of barbets also have these sacs. Obviously, there is much to be learnt about gular sacs and barbets. Happily, bird photographers like Adrian are currently at the forefront of this investigation.

YC Wee & Adrian Lim
June 2008

Collar, N. J. (1996). Family Otididae (Bustards). Pp. 240-275 in: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. & Sargatal, J. eds. Handbook of the birds of the world. Vol. 3. Hoatzin to Auks. Barcelona: Lynx Editions.
2. Dantzker, M. S. & Bradbury, J. W. (2006). Vocal sacs and their role in avian acoustic display. Acta Zoologica Sinica (Suppl.) 52:486-488.
3. Johnsgard, P. J. (1983). The cranes of the world. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
4. Short, L. L. & Horne, J. F. M. (2001). Toucans, barbets and honeyguides: Ramphastidaer, Capitonidae and Indicatoridae. Oxford University Press.
5. Short, L. L. & Horne, J. F. M. (2002). Family Capitonidae (Barbets). Pp. 140-219 in: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. & Sargatal, J. eds. Handbook of the birds of the world. Vol. 7. Jacamars to Woodpeckers. Barcelona: Lynx Editions.

Image of barbet by Adrian Lim, others by YC.

An account of this barbet’s gular sac has now been published:
Lim, A. T. H., L. K. Wang & Y. C. Wee, 2009. The Blue-eared Barbet Megalaima australis and its gular sac. BirdingASIA 11: 98-101.

This post is a cooperative effort between and BESG to bring the study of bird behaviour through photography to a wider audience.

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

Leave a Reply to Lee Chiu San Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.