Buffy Fish Owl: The big yawn

posted in: Owls | 0

Connie Khoo of Ipoh, Malaysia came across a juvenile Buffy Fish Owl (Ketupa ketupu) at Kek Lok Tong in Ipoh, Perak recently. She was fascinated by the “yawning” behaviour of the bird and sent in this account to KC Tsang. Through the good office of KC, we got permission for this posting – on condition we include one of Connie’s cats.

“This morning I went to check on the juvenile Buffy Fish Owl and saw that it was still on the same tree after fledging between 24-28 June 2006. By now it should be about 10-11 weeks old.

“…the juvenile started to show some ‘action’ by cleaning its face, stretching and flapping its wings and also stretching its long neck. It was yawning a bit, and a bit, and a bit again. That was at 8.30 am. I decided to stay a bit longer and ended up staying about 4 hours.

“By 9.15 am I noticed something different in the yawning, because if we yawn, it lasts not more than 10 or maybe 15 seconds and we don’t open our mouth that long. The juvenile bird kept yawning and yawning for long durations and at times held its mouth open for 10-15 seconds, then closed its mouth and yawned again and again. I then realized that it was not yawning but probably strengthen its ‘jaws’. Just like birds flapping its wings to strengthen them as well as the body.

“Finally I made notes of the number of seconds each yawn took and how long the bird held its mouth open. It could hold it open for as long as 20 seconds, showing off its tongue. Can you imagine, the bird was yawning (exercising) from 9.15 am and at the time I left the place at 11.30 am it was still yawning.

Note: Yes, birds do yawn, as do other animals, includingh fish. Now why do they yawn? Maybe to clear their ears as we do during descent on jet flights. Maybe their throat or ears are itchy. Or do they yawn for the same reason we do – to get extra oxygen?

PS from Connie: “Doesn’t Angel look like the owl? The first time I saw the Buffy Fish Owl, I thought it looked like my Angel… Just look at her eyes and forehead, don’t you see the similarity?”

Thank you Connie and KC for making this yawning post possible.

Encounters with the Red Junglefowl

posted in: Miscellaneous, Species | 0

In the 1990s I was a frequent visitor to Pulau Ubin, cycling around the island almost every weekend. There I had my first glimpse of the Red Jungle Fowl (Gallus gallus). Back then I had thought nothing more of it than a mere chicken that looked ‘more kampung’ than those kampung chicken our Malay neighbours kept.

It was not until 1997 when I was there on an outward bound course that I saw a cock roosting on a tree that was about 30m high. I was wondering how the hell did it get up there, especially with all that fancy feathers that would surely ground a domestic chicken.

As if to prove a point, a few days later at a disused quarry, I saw a cock fly across the entire breadth of the lake. As it reached the other end, it actually demonstrated a graceful climb and ended up on top of a tree.

I initially mistook it for a crow that was trailing a snake it caught and having problems climbing higher and crossing the lake. But on closer observation, the chicken shape was obvious. And of course, to round it all off, the cock crowed, more than three times from its perch on the tree top.

My next encounter with the jungle fowl was in 2002. This time it was just outside my bedroom in my Loyang Valley Condo in Changi. My window overlooked Selarang camp. The old camp area in the 1980s had large patches of lallang, and lots of old trees and some dead trees as well. When the new camp was constructed, most of the birds that were there before were gone. Only recently I did I see Hill Mynas (Gracula religiosa) and parrots making a comeback.

On the fringe of the new camp, there are grassy slopes where people seldom wander. These slopes are on the boundary between the condo and the camp. I was woken up one morning by the loud crowing of a chicken. I immediately assumed it was one of the males from the kampung chicken that were kept by the people staying at the prison warden’s quarters next to the camp.

This cock was definitely not lost. I was back there again the same time the next day. From the sound of its crow, I thought it must be quite a specimen to behold. So I sneaked out to have a look. And there it was majestically patrolling the no man’s land between the camp and the condo. Again it first struck me as ‘more kampung’ than the average kampung chicken. I also did not discount the fact that it might be a ‘fighting cock’ that someone had let loose. But then it occurred to me that it might be a red jungle fowl. One of the last few that managed to survive the rapid destruction of habitat in the Changi industrial area.

So I went back to the books. The white patch on the cheek was unmistakable. But I was no jungle fowl expert. The bird disappeared for a week and then was back again at the same spot. One evening I decided to try and get real close to it by hiding below its line of sight and creeping ahead of it. And hopefully pop my head up as it strode by.

I got more than I bargained for. As I popped up my head and walked to the fence, I startled the hen and a brood of chicks. The hen made hell of a raucous and surprised me by flying vertically up 7m or more to a high branch on a tree. The cock flew straight out to the open, and made a circling climb to the top of a tree further away. The chicks really surprised me. They were no more than the size of tennis balls and they shot up to a height of about 50cm to a metre before dashing for cover. All this while the hen was making hell of a scene distracting my attention. While the chicks stayed frozen away from view.

I only managed to see the family twice more before they moved on to another part of the camp. As for myself I was too busy learning to fly and so could not investigate the surprise appearance of this family of fowl that I suspected could be the red jungle fowl (or someone’s pet fighting cock).

Contributed by Jeremy Lee, images by Jacqueline Lau and Timothy Pwee; additional comments below by bird specialist R Subaraj.

Interesting account of the Red Junglefowl from Jeremy and a good record of breeding of the species on the main island of Singapore, at Loyang. This bird is believed to have colonised Pulau Ubin by flying across the Straits of Johor. And there have been a couple of villagers who actually observed them doing just that. Ubin proved an ideal habitat for these birds. As the human population on the island shrank and poaching declined, these birds have multiplied successfully and today it is found throughout the island and even on the satellite isle of Ketam.

On Tekong, it has surprisingly not been successful and apart from a couple of records, the species is absent. Habitat may be the reason though it is still a mystery.

In the early 1990s, there was a report of a flock of junglefowl at Selarang Camp in Changi and the species continues to try and colonise the main island from Ubin. I have personally recorded the species from the Loyang Camp at Cranwell Road, Changi Coastal Road and Naval Base Road at Tanah Merah.

Another recent colonisation seems to be happening on the western side of Singapore with records east to Ama Keng.

An albino Collared Kingfisher

posted in: Feathers-maintenance, Kingfishers | 2

An earlier posting about albino birds and the pair of juvenile albino Javan Mynas (Acridotheres javanicus) seen at the Visitors Centre of the Singapore Botanic Gardens around May-June 2006 got the attention of Serene Tang who e-mailed me saying that her friend actually had an image of the bird. Peter Cheong then generously sent in his image that it is now incorporated into the original blog posting.

And now, James Heng has written in with his encounter in Johor, Malaysia:

“Thanks for the good read on albino birds. About two years ago, I was at Parit Jawa and saw this solitary albino Collared Kingfisher (Todiramphus chloris). The other few Collared Kingfishers would perch together and interact but whenever this albino flew over, the rest would quickly fly away.

“It must have been very lonely. Wonder if it is still alive today?”

Thank you James Heng, for this exciting note and the images. Image of the normal Collared Kingfisher is by Chan Yoke Meng.

Albino birds

posted in: Morphology-Develop. | 5

Albino birds are rare but they do exist. This condition is the result of genetic mutation, whereby the pigment melanin is absent. And the absence of melanin means that the feathers are always white. In cases where some of the feathers are colored by a pigment other than melanin, areas of yellow or red are apparent.

Where all the normal feathers are replaced by white feathers, we have a totally albino bird. In this case the eyes, legs and bill will have a pinkish tinge as the colour of the blood shows through in the absence of the pigment in the tissues. But most albino birds we encounter are partial albino, where only some of the normal feathers are replaced by white feathers.

A totally albino bird is extremely rare in the wild. The conspicuousness of the all-white plumage and the weak eyesight make it an easy victims to predators. Also, the lack of pigments makes the feathers brittle. And such feathers often wear out before the next moult and the bird may not be able to fly well

An albino bird may have problems of being recognised by its prospective mate and thus will not be able to mate. Or it may not be recognised by others of its own kind and thus chased off from the group. There is a report of a pure albino female Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) that was chased away repeatedly from the flock by its companions. It always returned to the flock to be chased again.

Around May-June 2006 a pair of juvenile albino Javan Mynas (Acridotheres javanicus) was spotted around the Visitor Centre of the Singapore Botanic Gardens together with their parents. What happened to them subsequently is anybody’s guess.

Top image courtesy of Ashley Ng. Bottom image by Peter Cheong, obtained after Serene Tang read the blog and informed us about Peter’s encounter with the birds in the SGB. Thank you Serene and Peter.

Little Terns: Courtship behaviour

posted in: Courtship-Mating | 1

The breeding season of Little Terns (Sterna albifrons) in Singapore starts from May to end in July. The first step involves pairing, after which courtship begins. Typical courtship behaviour involves the male bird bringing fish to his mate. How the birds forage for fish has been posted earlier.

Not all offer of fish by the male is accepted by the female of his choice. The female may turn her back as the male approaches with his gift but suddenly turn around to accept a gift from another male flying in. At the same time a male flying in with a fish in his beak may not offer it to an eager female but to another of his choice.

The offer of fish continues for some time before the pair actually bonds. After all, the female has to be convinced of the male’s ability to provide for her and her brood during the period of egg incubation and after.

The pair may fly off together whereby the male catches the fish. Both then fly back to land where the male offers it to the female. Immediately after handing over the fish to the female, the male cocks his head high and make a loud cry, as if in triumph.

During this period of courtship feeding there are always other birds ready to zoom in for a free meal. Piracy is rampant during this period and a courting male has to be extra vigilant least his gift ends in the beak of another male.

Observations were made by Meng and Melinda Chan in 2005. All images by them.

Malaysian Plover 2: Nesting

posted in: Nesting, Waders | 1

Philip Tang has been stalking the elusive Malaysian Plover (Charadrius peronii) for the second year now. His mission is to record the nesting behaviour of this beautiful tiny bird. Originally designated locally as a rare resident, the bird is now considered by our bird specialist R. Subaraj, as an uncommon resident, but vulnerable, because of the transient nature of its habitat. That it is not so rare has been confirmed by Philip who managed to locate a breeding pair during each of his two years of study.

(The image above shows the male bird in the nest incubating the two eggs while that below shows the bird with the two eggs in the nest.)

According to Philip: “The Malaysian Plover is found on sandy beaches, usually in remote areas with little human activity. They feed close to the water’s edge, usually in pairs. The nest is just a simple depression on the ground, which is usually further up from the beach area. The two nests from both 2005 & 2006 were found in the oddest area, by the dirt road. The nest is usually very well hidden, away from views of predators. By using a vehicle as a hide and with lots of patience, I was able to spot (with lots of luck) the pair roosting and feeding near their nest. Spotting a nest with eggs or chicks among the grass and sand can really put a strain on your eyes.

(Above image shows the female bird with the first-hatched chick and the unhatched egg; the two below, without the parent bird)

“These birds nest on sandy grounds very close to vehicle tracks within the area. There are lots of wild dogs and raptors around. Human activities are plentiful with the ramp up of construction there. For my first sighting, I once almost stepped onto a nest with two eggs, so perfect was the camouflage. From then on, I walked with utmost care. Similarly, eggs and newborn chicks blend in very well with the surroundings.

(Above, nest with two eggs, note that the the chick is pecking out from the egg on the right. Below, male bird with chick under her wing)

“It takes me quite a while to be able to spot them each time I return to the area.

“The parents (especially the female) will always move around the nesting area, bringing the chick(s) along, by calling out for them. When the parents sense any danger/threat, they will show the broken wing routine to distract the predator away, and the chick will receive a signal to lie low and stay very still without moving, until the parents call out for them when there is no more danger. I have spent many times looking for them once I lost focus when they moved into the grass area.

“One of the parents will also fly around and away from the nesting/chick so as to lure the predator away as far as possible.”

Input and images by Philip Tang. Part 1 on the birds can be viewed here.

Pecking order at the tree stump

posted in: Interspecific, Miscellaneous | 1

“Deep in a fruit orchard at the foothill of Bukit Mertajam, next to Berapit village and opposite the Mengkuang Dam, stands a 4-storey tall tree-stump of great prominence to a variety of bird species. I counted a minimum of 20 cavities bored by birds along the length of the trunk. What caught my attention was the pecking order in which these bird species behaved and practiced the art of warfare.

“Several Common Mynas (Acridotheres trisitis) and Crested Mynas (Acridotheres cristatellus) appear to be custodians of the tree stump, perching and performing random inspections of these cavities with ease and helping themselves to grubs.

“A seemingly pair of resident Black-thighed Falconets (Microbierax fringillarius), at times with juvenile takes up position at the top, hollow edge of the stump – I suspect it to be their old nest. They are never far away and often would circle around the orchard area. When all is ‘clear’ they would return to perch discreetly a little distant away from the mynas.

“The Dollarbird (Eurystomus orientalis) is usually seen perched quietly and solitary on dead tree tops and occasionally in pairs during the breeding season in February-June. On this morning of 18 February 2006, they made their presence felt and decided to stake a claim of the stump only to be harassed and chased off by the mynas. Dollarbirds are known to nest in old tree-holes made by woodpeckers or barbets.

“Their loud, hoarse and sharp rasping screeches summoned the third and fourth Dollarbird as they took to their wings with mynas aggressively trailing them. The gang of four Dollarbirds regrouped and boldly perched on the stump as though to drum up a strategy of attack. The noisy aerial assault soon began and this time the mynas were seen to ‘come under attack’.

“Another Malaysian Nature Society birder was with me. We were both surprised to witness this unusual display of aggression by Dollarbirds, known to us as placid birds.

“The aerial assault lasted about 5 minutes. It came to an abrupt halt upon the arrival of the Gold-whiskered barbets (Megalaima chrysopogon) – the ‘condominium’ owners of the stump. The Dollarbirds took to perch on nearby fruit trees, the Black-thighed Falconets were nowhere to be seen and the mynas resumed sentry positions on the stump.

“The ‘big boys’ are back!

“The Gold whiskered-barbet flew in and disappeared into one of the cavities. A couple of minutes later, the head was seen peeping from it. It then flew off only to see another Gold- whiskered barbet appeared with grub in its beak.

“This sighting was documented on 18 February 2006 at 1030 hours under good weather conditions. Location: Berapit foothills Bukit Mertajam Penang Malaysia.”

Postscript: The durian tree (Durio zibethinus) stump crashed to the ground as the result of a thunder storm in April 2006 (left).

Submitted by DAISY O’NEILL (Avian Writer), Bukit Mertajam, Penang, Malaysia.

Malaysian Plover: The birds

posted in: Waders | 0

Philip Tang, an avid nature photographer, spent two years stalking the Malaysian Plover (Charadrius peronii), also known as Malaysian/Malayan Sandplover. He has successfully documented the birds’ breeding behaviour and is sharing his images and observations that will be posted here during the next few days.

“The Malaysian Plover is a smallish coastal bird that is found exclusively on sandy beaches and coastal sand-fill in Singapore. Although designated a rare resident locally, it is not globally threatened but near-threatened. The population worldwide has been estimated to be less than 10,000 birds, this number probably declining with the years.

“Plovers are small wading birds that are widely distributed throughout the world. They belong to the Family Charadriidae that comprises three Subfamilies: Charadriinae or plovers (41 spp.), Vanellinae or lapwings (25 spp.) and Pluvianellinae or Magellanic Plover (1 sp.).

“These birds are characterised by their relatively short bill. They feed in pairs on remote sandy beaches, hunting by sight rather than by feel as longer-billed waders like snipe do. They feed on worms, especially polychaetes and other invertebrates like small crustaceans, shrimps, amphipods and isopods. They have a typical run-and-pause technique of hunting, rather than the steady probing of some other wader groups. The birds wait for prey to reveal itself, then run towards it. They then wait quietly for another opportunity. If no more prey is detected, they move on to a new site.

“The plumage of brown, grey, black and white provides excellent camouflage for the birds in the uniform sandy shore they congregate. The sexes lack size dimorphism but show plumage differences. The male is easily recognized from the thin black band round its neck while the female has a rufous brown band.

Input and images (top, male; bottom, female) by Philip Tang.

Red-crowned Barbet : Feeding of nestlings

Barbets are hole nesters. They are capable of excavating cavities for their nests from dead and rotting trees. Thus they do not nest in cavities previously used by other birds. These birds are frugivores, feeding mainly on fruits that include figs, oil fruit (Elaeocarpus), Singapore rhododendron (Melastome malabathricum) and mistletoes. They are also opportunistic feeders, able to shift to feeding insects when the opportunity arises. Their young, especially immediately after hatching from the eggs, need a diet of animal protein, necessary for growth and development. But with development these nestlings are fed mainly with fruits.

In a series of observations made recently by Melinda Chan on a nesting pair of Red-crowned Barbets (Megalaima rafflesii), she found that the parents were kept constantly busy bringing food to feed the hungry nestling. Every few minutes a parent would fly to a nearby branch before flying straight to the nest with a variety of fruits and insects. Invariably the nestling would pop its head out, beak agape, to receive the food. Fruits would be brought in twos and threes in the beak of the parent bird.

Those fruits that were properly identified include the oval and bluish Elaeocarpus and the smaller round and reddish salam (Syzygium polyanthum). Animal food included a praying mantis.

Feeding was frequent, averaging ten per hour. These feeds may be at intervals of a few minutes to as long as ten minutes or more. Fruits were regularly brought, occasional some form of animal food or other.

With such frequent feeding, the nest obviously got dirty fast. Once every few feeds the parent bird would enter the nest to do house cleaning. Sometimes cleaning would only be done after a series of feedings. Conspicuous among the wastes were regurgitated fruits of Elaeocapus with the thin fleshy layer and skin intact, probably indigestible to the nestling. The messy portions of the waste consisted of partially digested fruits as well as excreted matters. Barbets are supposed to remove wastes via faecal sacs but in this case wastes were removed by the beakfuls. With the waste in its beak, the bird flew to a nearby branch, shook its head to release the wastes. These collected on the ground below. After wiping its beak clean against the branch six to eight times, it then flew in the opposite direction to collect more fruits.

Input by Melinda Chan and images by Chan Yoke Meng.

Breeding Distraction: Lapwing and waterhen

posted in: Nesting | 0

“During the breeding season, eggs, chicks and fledlgings are vulnerable to many predators, including man. In many species, parent birds will go to all lengths to protect their brood. The female drongo will pluck off her long racket-like feathers to be less conspicuous when sitting in her nest; cisticolas will land several metres from the nest and run on the ground through thick grass to where the nest is located; many normally mild-mannered species will viciously chase away much larger would-be predators with great gusto.

“Some birds, like certain shorebirds will pretend to have a broken wing to distract the predator from the retreating chick. A couple of years ago, I observed a Red-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus indicus) run towards our vehicle, screaming loudly and feigning a broken wing as her young chick retreated quietly into the long grass adjacent to the dirt track that we were driving along.

“On May 5th this year, I had the pleasure of witnessing two more such displays. First, at Serangoon, as Anthony Mercer, Shamla Subaraj and I were in our car driving slowly down a rough road, we stopped to observe a couple of White-breasted Waterhens (Amaurornis phoenicurus) (above and below) ahead of us. Immediately, one waterhen started running towards the car with wings held outstretched and above its head. While appearing in mock surrender, it also appeared to be charging our vehicle. It moved to the right of our vehicle and the reason for its display became apparent. We had inadvertently stopped right next to her small black chick, which was at the edge of a grass tussock. The adult carried a caterpillar and fed the chick upon reaching it, while shepherding it further into the vegetation. Later, we were to see a total of four small black chicks at the spot.

“Later that day, as the three of us drove around the reclamation area at Changi Central, we came across a strangely bold male Malaysian Plover (Charadrius peronii). This vulnerable resident is a sandy shore specialist and is highly localised in its local distribution. The male stood right in front of our car and seemed quite unafraid, providing excellent views. It literally tried to block us from turning our car into another track! Yet, this is a species that is normally fairly shy and would run quickly away from observers who moved too close. It did not dawn on me that it was trying to distract us, by making us focus on him, until the female materialised on the left of the vehicle. It too appeared quite unafraid and my conclusion was that they must have a nest nearby, though we did not look for it as we did not want to further disturb this threatened resident.

“The breeding season is upon us and lots of species are deeply involved in nesting. It would be most interesting to keep an eye out for other protective parents and their interesting methods of distraction.”

Account by R. Subaraj and images by YC.

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…

  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 – 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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