Chestnut-bellied Malkohas sunning

posted in: Feathers-maintenance | 7


“Chestnut-bellied Malkohas (Phaenicophaeus sumatranus) are considered uncommon, nationally near threatened, and globally near-threatened species, so it is with great luck that I was able to come across two birds in the same morning. I believe one of them was a female, however based on my fleeting observations of the two I am not able to tell.


“The morning was blessed with bright sunlight, and the two birds were obviously enjoying having a sunbath. And with their dark coloured feathers, they would be able to gather heat from the sun with greater efficiency. It also was suggested that they may be anting, however on examining my pictures, could not see any evidence of it.”


Sunning is another method of feather maintenance, besides water and dust bathing, preening and anting. In sunning, birds adopt varied postures. Both or one wing may be extended and the tail feathers spread out. The bird usually lies on the hot ground with its head lowered and tipped to one side. It may remain motionless for some time, but not in the case of these malkohas.

There are two earlier posts: One shows a malkoha sunning on the ground but the observer was not able to get near for a close-up shot, unlike the present encounter. The other shows malkohas sunning themselves on the branches of a tree.

We are more familiar with sunning by cormorants and anhingas, not so with other birds…

Date of observation: 13th May 2008

KC Tsang
May 2008

Nesting of Common Iora

posted in: Nesting | 0


“Noon is a bad time for birding – most birds would be hiding from the hot weather. However, I decided to go to the Japanese Gardens as I had not been there for a while.

“A male Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia) was found sitting on its nest (left top). The nest was built at the fork of some branches around 4m above the ground and covered with spiderweb. When the female returned with food, the male would leave and the chicks could be seen gaping for food (left middle). The food item was fed whole to one chick.

“After that, the female looked a while to see if the chick would excrete any faecal matter. One chick did and sure enough the female picked it up (left bottom). The faecal sac looked watery, unlike the sunbirds’, which looked compact. I expected the female to fly away to dispose of it, just like the sunbirds that I’ve seen, but to my surprise, she ate the faecal sac! Then the female settled down to brood the chicks, or should I say shelter them from the hot sun.

“One parent was always on the nest, except for one occasion when the female flew off and caught a spider on the same tree. She whacked the spider for about 30 seconds, severing some of the spider’s legs before feeding it to one of the chicks.

“While brooding the chicks, both parents left their beaks open most of the time (below: female left, male right) – this led me to think that these birds don’t sweat, that’s why they have to ‘pant’ like dogs to cool down! Even the chicks popped their heads out of the nest, maybe it is cooler that way.

“Later, the male returned with food. After feeding one chick, he also looked to see if the chick would defecate, sure enough the chick did and the male promptly picked it up and ate it as well before settling down to brood the chicks. In contrast, I’ve observed that with the Olive-backed Sunbirds (Cinnyris jugularis), it is usually the female that wait to see if the chicks defecate and then she’ll dispose the faecal sac, while the male would feed and leave. At least four feedings were observed.”


Note: (1) The excrement of young chicks contains undigested food that the adults can benefit, thus they swallow the faecal sacs. As the chicks grow older, their digestive system becomes more efficient and the adults stop eating the faecal sacs. (2) Birds lose heat by opening their mouths and pant, as seen above. (3) The masses of white on the surface of the nest is probably more of spider cocoon silk than spider silk. Cocoon silk is spun by the spider to protect its eggs until they are hatched.

Date of observation: 1st April 2008

Tan Gim Cheong
May 2008

A family of Little Grebes

posted in: Nesting | 0

The Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) was first recorded in 1992 at a pond in Punggol. By 1994 a few were noticed feeding and breeding across the Serangoon River. By 1996 the number increased to 27 birds, helped by colonisation from nearby Malaysia. Unfortunately habitat destruction caused the number to once again decline but by 2005 a pair was found breeding in Serangoon.


The current documentation of breeding was made in November 2005 by Dr Eric Tan at Serangoon. Two chicks were seen with the adults (above).

The nest is a simple floating platform of water weeds attached to submerged vegetation. There were a number of nest building activities observed in the past but either the birds did not proceed with the laying of eggs or the nesting failed for one reason or another.

A full clutch of eggs is four but egg number has never been accurately ascertained as this would have caused too much disturbance. The adults are extremely shy, diving into the water as soon as any intrusion is detected, either from humans or animals. If there are eggs, they would be immediately covered with water weeds before the adults dive into the water, even when leaving to forage.


At least one adult is usually with the chicks in the nest. The chicks swim alone with the adult keeping watch in the nest or the adults join in. Sometimes the chicks take a ride on the back of the adult (above). The image below shows an adult with a juvenile was taken in April 2006.


All images by Dr Eric Tan.

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

House Swift nesting

posted in: Nesting | 1


“Yesterday I noticed a group of four to five House Swifts (Apus affinis) circling in the airspace under an Mass Rapid Transit viaduct at around 0900 hours. The weather was fair. Two of them deviated from the circular trajectory at regular intervals to ascend towards, but not establish contact with, a nest glued under the viaduct adjacent to one of the pillars (left). By 0945 hours they were nowhere to be seen.

“There were two additional nests joined to each other (as reported in the literature to happen frequently) near the next pillar. I noticed that in this instance the nests were underhanging precariously from a (mostly) horizontal surface, not vertical surfaces as often described. This is even more remarkable in consideration of the strong vibrations caused by trains passing every few minutes throughout the day. Indeed, the demographic success of this species can be at least partly attributed to their amenability to nest sites of high levels of human and vehicular traffic. On the ground under the nest cluster I found a pile of ‘guano’ beside which was a dead chick (below).


“I assume that it is A. affinis. The reasons for falling from the nest have been documented in past BESG postings. If the chick is indeed A. affinis, the legs are remarkably disproportionately long for apodids and will presumably develop allometrically into the adult form. At the moment, it superficially resembles the recently reported Acridotheres javanicus chick. This morphological similarity across chicks/embryos of different avian families seems to be one of the hallmarks of Darwinian evolutionary theory.

“Today, the A. affinis did not indulge in the cyclic flight patterns observed yesterday at the same time. Could anyone suggest ethological or ecological rationales for the observed behaviour? Nevertheless, they spent the morning foraging and feeding their progeny, leaving and returning to the nest repeatedly. Unfortunately, I could not see their captures.


“The above shows what appears to be a powered anticlockwise rotation of the bird along its anterioposterior axis a fraction of a second after ejection from the nest, the right wing being ventrally convex and the left wing dorsally so.

“In the above, the parent is about to leave the nest with its head facing out. It made a ‘gostan’ inside the nest after entering. However, the adults in the other nests seem to commence their exit backwards and switch to forward propulsion as gravitation takes over. Space limitation (dependent on nest volume, surviving brood size etc.) probably plays a role in determining the exit direction. Obviously, exiting head first offers better prior assessment of the security situation outside the nest.”

House Swifts are common resident birds.

Lin Yangchen
May 2008

When birds die, they get recycled!

posted in: Miscellaneous | 1


Aydin Örstan from Maryland, US read the early post on “Where do birds go when they die?” and sent me a link to his series of posts on the same question, “Where do all the dead birds go?”

With Aydin’s permission, I am summarising his series of posts that you can view in full HERE: 1, 2 and 3.

A Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) was picked up on a sidewalk. From the condition of the dead bird, it was obvious that it had died probably not more than an hour or so earlier (left top). He put the body in a box and left the box in a secluded corner of his garden and ensured that the many “body snatchers” around did not get at it.

On day 2, there were flies around the rotting body – blow flies (Family: Calliphoridae) (left, second). They obviously detected the smell of the dead animal and arrived to deposit their eggs on the carcass. There were also plenty of ants crawling all over. There was a distinct smell indicating that decomposition had set in.

On day 3, there were more flies and more ants on and around the bird. There were many loose feathers, small ones, around and the tail feathers had fanned out, signs that the skin and the flesh had broken down (left, third).

On day 4, the smell was overpowering, indicating that decomposition was at its highest. Blow fly maggots were everywhere, on and around the body (left bottom). The carcass had disintegrated, with the skull partially visible (below left). The orange arrow shows the larger maggots and the yellow arrows the maggots at a younger stage.

On day 8, all the flesh and skin had been consumed and only the feathers and bones were left. There were no more maggots around, only a few ants (below right).

As Aydin concludes, “Dead things don’t go to Heaven or Hell. They rot, get eaten and turn into soil… Many organisms have evolved to obtain their nourishment solely from dead animals or plants. In nature, nothing goes to waste and nothing lasts forever.”


Check out today’s message by Aydin HERE on BESG’s website and how he gets “bored from looking at the seemingly endless species lists or just pictures of birds… that I regularly read. In contrast, almost all posts at the BESG blog have something to do with an interesting bird behavior and are accompanied with good, original pictures. I find them quite informative.”

Feast of termites under a lamp post

posted in: Feeding-invertebrates | 2


In the Pahang town of Raub in Peninsula Malaysia, Dr. Redzlan Abdul Rahman had a late night and woke up on 1st May 2008 (May Day holiday) to find a party going on in front of his house. The night before was raining and swarms of winged termites gathered around the street lamps, attracted by the light. By morning most of the winged termites were on the ground below, crawling about and with wings discarded. These termites would have attracted numerous birds the evening before. Anyway the feasting continued in the morning, attracting numerous birds that came to partake in this unexpected feast. The image above shows a juvenile Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) feasting on the termites on the ground. The termite near the bill of the sparrow has yet to discard its wings.


These birds include, from top left, clockwise: Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis), Javan Myna (Acridotheres javanicus), Asian Glossy Starling (Aplonis panayensis), Scaly-breasted Munia (Lonchura punctulata); and below, left to right: Oriental Magpie Robin (Copsychus saularis) and Eurasian Tree Sparrow.


“I didn’t see the Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier) joining the foray. And this is the first time that I see Asian Glossy feeding on the ground.

“And a Juvenile Green Crested Lizard (Bronchocela cristatella) was also there (above).

“…Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia) (below left) and White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis) (below right) just flew over the street and caught the termites, and than swallowed them at the perch.”


This was a typical termite hatch, a phenomenon when the secondary reproductives of a termite colony are forced out, resulting in a nuptial flight. The event starts with workers making openings in the nest and forcing out the winged individuals. These individuals then take flight in a swarm, attracted by bright lights. Soon, many of these swarming termites land on the ground and discard their wings. Only a small percentage survive to eventually mate and form new colonies.

Subaraj, R. (2006). The nuptial flight of termites makes a veritable winged feast. Nature Watch 14(4):10-13. (With additional input by Y C. Wee.)

Where do birds go when they die?

posted in: Miscellaneous | 7

The recent post on the Javan Myna (Acridotheres javanicus) chick that was predated by a cat brings to mind a common question many people ask: “Where do birds go when they die?” A related question I was recently asked was “Do birds die?” Such questions are understandable (or are they?), considering that with so many birds around, it is not common to come across dead birds.

Banding activities in our Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserves have shown that most of the sunbird species live at least five years. Many birds live much longer than this. But not all birds live as long, especially when they are victims of predation. Or when there is a food shortage and they starve.

I suppose when birds are about to die of sickness or old age, they do not move to some exposed areas. Usually they hide in the undergrowth or among the foliage of plants. And when they actually succumb to death, their bodies do not lie around as such for long.

I found a dead Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier ) under some plants recently (left top). As an experiment, I left it on the ground and monitored its condition. Five days later (for some reason or other, the neighbour’s cat did not take it) most of the flesh was gone, leaving only feathers and bones (left middle). Another 12 days later, most of the bones had rotted and the feathers were fast disappearing (left bottom). So, under our hot and wet conditions, the carcase does not last long.

In the urban environment, you may come across the carcasses of dead birds in your garden. These are mostly victims of domestic cats (see 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5). These cats have been known to bring their trophies and place them at the feet of their owners. Or they may simply eat the dead birds outright.


Anyway, dead birds do not remain around for long on the ground. Cats and other predators eat them up, the fleshy parts, that is. Within a few hours, if not within a day, the feathers would be ripped off and the flesh eaten, leaving behind the entrails and head. Even these disappear in no time at all, including the feathers and most of the bones. This was seen when the Javan Myna chick I was tending was predated by a cat. I recovered the carcase from the cat and left it in the garden (above left). By the next morning, nothing much was left (above right). Probably another cat ate it up.

These are the reasons why most people do not encounter dead birds in their daily lives. But this does not mean that birds do not die!

YC Wee
May 2008

Short-tailed Babbler

posted in: Species | 0


“The Short-tailed Babbler (Malacocincla malaccensis) is another one of those sulky, secretive denizens of the deep dark forest, hiding under cover most of the time, flies for short distances, hops around on the forest floor like a little mammal looking for worms, grubs or other insects. The birds calls mainly at dawn and is very sweet to the ears.

“The bird is an uncommon resident, restricted to the understorey of dry forests and to freshwater forests.”

According to Madoc (1956), “This is a queer little bird, with long white legs and practically no tail.” Actually, the legs are usually flesh-coloured or pinkish, sometimes grey (Collars & Robson, 2007).

KC Tsang
May 2008

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. Madoc, G. C. (1956). An introduction to Malayan birds. Malayan Nature Society, Kuala Lumpur. (revised ed.)

Gold-whiskered Barbet eating a flowerpecker

In August 2007 Adrian Lim a.k.a. wmw998 had the rare opportunity of witnessing a Gold-whiskered Barbet (Megalaima chrysopogon) capturing a small bird in Taman Rimba Ampang in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


The barbet was first spotted in the tree, looking for fruits and possibly insects (above). Along came a small bird that Adrian thought was a juvenile sunbird, also looking for food. Then suddenly, the ‘sunbird’, flew off into the bushes, followed by the barbet.


The next thing Adrian saw “…was the fluffy thing flying around, and I thought the barbet had just got a big moth. Not until I stopped shooting did I realise that the barbet was actually having the sunbird in its beak, and was shaking it around and trying to swallow it (above).

“The barbet then went up to another tree, still trying to swallow the sunbird… Not sure what happened after.”

Well, the barbet was bashing the hapless prey against the branch it was perching on (below)


According to KC Tsang, the prey does not look like a sunbird. Its bill is not long and curved enough. It is possibly a flowerpecker, a newly fledged flowerpecker. Look at the prominent yellow oral flanges lining the bill.

Barbets have always been known to be fruit eaters. And they are always seen around fruiting fig trees. Ornithologists believe that it very seldom takes birds although Lineated Barbet (Megalaima lineata) has been recorded to eat birds’ eggs and nestlings as well as frogs and lizards (Short & Horne, 2002).

As far as Gold-whiskered Barbet is concerned, very little about its food other than fruits is known. Until of course, Dr. Redzlan Abdul Rahman photographed a Gold-whiskered Barbet catching and eating a Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) at his backyard in Raub, Malaysia.

Now, we have another report of this same barbet eating a recently fledged flowerpecker. Yes, another new record indeed. And would you believe it, both instances have been recorded by photographers.

Barbets are very aggressive birds, always looking for a fight, especially when food is concerned. They are also aggressive when intruders approach their nesting and roosting cavities. Short & Horne (2002) report that “interspecific aggression is most evident in the breeding season, when ‘innocent’ birds of species that are not nest-hole competitors are attacked without cause.”


The bill of the barbet is stout, pointed and not flattened laterally (above). This is an adaptation for excavating nesting cavities in rotting tree trunks and branches. It is definitely not adapted for tearing flesh. Thus it has to bash the bird it catches to break it up before swallowing. Unfortunately, there has been on observation on whether it tears the prey to pieces to swallow them separately.

It is to be noted that in eating fruits, small ones are swallowed whole while larger ones are first broken up and then crushed to a pulp by the mandibles before swallowing. Even in eating large and armoured insect, they need to be bashed before swallowing. What more a bird!

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.

All images by Adrian Lim.

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

Silver-breasted Broadbill swallowing cicada

posted in: Feeding-invertebrates | 0

In March 2008, Roger Moo a.k.a. cactus400D documented a Silver-breasted Broadbill (Serilophus lunatus) in Malaysia catching a cicada and swallowing it.

The photographers were just assembling when the broadbill suddenly flew in and perched on a branch of a nearby tree. It had a cicada in its bill (above). This naturally provided an excellent photo opportunity. The bird kept on “…jerking, shaking vigorously, swinging its head from one side to the other, trying hard to kill it… almost choking itself trying to swallow a meal too big for it…”


The broadbill repositioned the cicada such that the head was directed towards the oral cavity and tried hard to swallow it (above, below). This is very unlike what the Tiger Shrike (Lanius tigrinus) does, tearing the cicada into pieces and swallowing the pieces separately. Another earlier post showed a Black-naped Oriole (Oriolus chinensis) manipulating a cicada.

There are seven species of broadbill in the Thai-Malay Peninsula but details on food and foraging are limited. These birds take mostly arthropods, including insects like grasshoppers, flying termites, moths, butterflies and stick insects. Instances of taking lizards, molluscs, crabs, fish and fruits have also been reported.

In the case of the Silver-breasted Broadbill, Wells (2007) reports no direct information from reviews on foraging. There is definitely no mention of cicadas and this would be a new food record for this species. However, cicadas as food has been reported for Long-tailed Broadbill (Psarisomus dalhousiae) by Bruce (2003).

Referring to a recently published reference on cicadas in Thailand (Boulard, 2007), it is tempting to ID the genus as Megapomponia. However, our entomology advisor Prof Cheong Loong Fah has this to say: “…cicada species all look quite alike, depending on subtle characters for id (even to genera level).” So we shall leave it at that unless someone volunteers with an ID.

. Boulard, M. (2007). The cicadas of Thailand. General and particular characteristics. Vol. 1. Bangkok: White Lotus Co.
2. Bruce, M. D. (2003). Family Eurylaimidae (broadbills). Pp.54-93 in: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. & Christie, D. A. eds. Handbook of the birds of the world. Vol. 8. Broadbills to Tapaculos. Barcelona: Lynx Editions.
3. Wells, D.R. (2007). The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsular. Vol. II, Passerines. Christopher Helm, London.

All images by Roger Moo.

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

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