Melastoma and flowerpeckers II

posted in: Feeding-plants | 7

Flowerpeckers are tiny birds that dart around the forest trees with lightning speed. Because of the rapid movement and being solitary birds, they are difficult to see. However, they always make their characteristic metallic clicking sound and with a little patience, the location of these birds can always be pinpointed.


The Orange-bellied (Dicaeum trigonostigma) (male and female, above left) and Scarlet-backed (D. cruentatum) (male, above right) are found locally and easily seen but one needs to travel to Peninsular Malaysia to view the Crimson-breasted (Prionochilus percussus) (male, below). All three species of flowerpeckers shown here are feasting on melastoma fruits.


The birds take flower nectar, fruits and occasionally small insects. Figs are a favourite, as well as the berries of the sun-loving shrub, melastoma (Melastoma malabathricum). It is easier to view these birds around melastome as fruiting is throughout the year. On a sunny spell, the metallic clicking of these birds can be heard, heralding their presence.

Melastoma, sometimes misleadingly called Singapore rhododendron, is a weedy shrub that proliferates in disturbed areas. In areas that are fired regularly, these plants soon form semi-pure stands as they survive the fire while others do not. If left alone, they grow into small trees.

The plant flowers throughout the year. The pinkish mauve flowers last only a day, opening early morning and closing late afternoon. They attract bees, especially the large carpenter bees that assist in pollination.

The fruits split open at maturity to expose the soft, dark blue pulp dotted with tiny, orange seeds. They are sweetish and children love them, staining their teeth purple in the process of eating them. Squirrels, monkeys and birds love them, and in the process help to disperse the seeds.


Morten Strange & YC Wee
February 2008

Images from the book “A Passion for Birds” courtesy of Ong Kiem Sian.

Red-legged Crake at the Botanic Gardens

posted in: Feeding-invertebrates, Species | 5


Ng Bee Choo reported seeing a juvenile Red-legged Crake (Rallina fasciata) at the Singapore Botanic Gardens’ Visitor’s Centre. The bird usually appears around 1900-1930 hours (at dusk) to feed. This was the same place where she earlier saw an adult bathing in a puddle of water after a burst of rain.

The juvenile that she encountered was not shy but was frightened by loud noises. It usually hangs around under cover of vegetation, to emerge when it deemed safe.

Yue Yun has also seen it a few times. So had Prof Ng Soon Chye, who recently videoed an old juvenile pulling an earthworm from the ground. The bird was going around pecking the ground when it detected an earthworm. Suddenly it pulled out the reluctant worm.

“I have seen the adult Red-legged Crake too. It seems that there is a family living near the car park,” says Bee Choo.

There is indeed a family there, consisting of the parents and a juvenile. They are regularly seen foraging under cover of the vegetation, to emerge into the grassy area in the late evening.

Images by KC Tsang.

Long-tailed Parakeets eating palm flowers

posted in: Feeding-plants, Parrots | 3


On 14th December 2007 at about 0745 hours, the morning silence was suddenly broken by the loud squawking of about 20 Long-tailed Parakeet (Psittacula longicauda) in my garden.


Most of the birds descended on my ceram palms (Rhopaloblaste ceramica) while a few were on one of my Alexandra palms (Archontophoenix alexandrae). This latter palm was bearing female flowers and the birds were crowding on the inflorescence branches.

And they were busy pecking on the female flowers and eating them.

Now, palm flowers are unisexual, meaning there are male and female (left) flowers. These are borne in threes on massive inflorescence branches. Usually there are one female flanked by two male flowers. The male flowers mature first followed by the female.

In the case of this Alexandra palm, the male flowers had developed earlier and all that were left were female flowers. There were bees around these flowers as they secrete nectar. So these parakeets were feasting on the nectar given out by the female flowers.

YC Wee
February 2008

Yellow Bittern eats skink

“On January 30th, Melanie Votaw (from USA), along with Shamla Subaraj and I, came across a Yellow Bittern (Ixobrychus sinensis) with a lizard in it’s bill, at Serangoon. Over the next 5 minutes, we watched the bird adjust the reptile into the right position before swallowing it completely.

“Yellow Bitterns are mostly migrants from the north and can be found in suitable areas throughout Singapore. They mainly feed at the edge of water-bodies and waterways, fishing for fish, tadpoles and invertebrates. However, they will also hunt nearby fields and vegetation for whatever terrestrial creatures they can find.

“The skink that this bittern caught was identified as a Common Sun Skink (Mabuya multifasciata), a common species around Singapore, by Dr Leong Tzi Ming. His reason being that the body is bulky, head rather robust and undersides pale white. Kelvin KP Lim agrees with the identification.

“This adds another food item to the Yellow Bittern’s prey menu.”



Note: In the images above, the bittern, after catching the skink, carefully manipulates it so that it can be swallowed head-first. Once the body is swallowed and only the tail is left, the bird needs to stand upright with its neck fully stretched to allow the skink to slide down the throat and into the stomach (below).


R Subaraj
February 2008
(Images by Melanie Votaw, ID of skink by Dr Leong Tzi Ming and Kelvin KP Lim)

BESG’s new-look blog

posted in: Reports | 0

By now the blog’s new appearance is obvious to all who logs in.


When we started in July 2005, it was with a Blogger account (top left). We blogged for 18 months before Jacquelin Lau came along and suggested we shift to WordPress, a “state-of-the-art” personal publishing platform (top right).

After an initial hesitation, I agreed. Jac did all the work, planning, designing, archiving, etc. And I did all the postings. Of course the observations, images and even entire stories came from our supporters.


One year into this new publishing platform, along came Jac again to institute more changes. This time she introduced new themes for a more modern and youthful outlook. Many new features have been incorporated, my favourite being the world map. Click on the small map on the right side of this page and a larger image appears, showing in detail which part of the world the different visitors came from (top, at time of post).


Since 7th February 2008 we are a member of Nature Blog Network. Of the currently 132 sites that are members, blogging on aspects of nature (plants, animals and ecosystems), we were ranked 57 on 14th February. At the time of posting, we have moved up to 40.

This blog needs to remain attractive to visitors. Thus there is a constant need for improvement – in appearance, quality of posts, etc. in order to remain vibrant. Otherwise it will stagnate. This is where we value your input.

Thank you Jac… and all you generous photographers and observant birders who contributed to the success of BESG.

YC Wee
16th February 2008

A new plover for Singapore and Malaysia?

posted in: Waders | 1


On 8th February 2008, Simon Cockayne and Martin Kennewell spent a morning birding at Changi Cove (above). The highlight of their trip was seeing six to eight birds of the newly described “White-faced” Plover.


Simon sent in images of the Malaysian (left top) and White-faced (left bottom) Plovers that he digiscoped, the birds being some distance away.

As Martin writes: “We went in on the new road to the air show. The guard was very reasonable and allowed us entry, we did explain that we wanted to access the coast beyond the air show to go bird watching. We signed the visitor’s book and were given a visitors pass. We drove about two kilometres to where the road u-turns… that allows you to access the coast. It is then a further one kilometre on foot to the site.”

Their morning tally: Lesser Sand Plover (c250), Pacific Golden Plover (c150), Grey Plover (c50), Malaysian Plover (10), Kentish Plover (<5), Red-necked Stint (1), Common Sandpiper (4+), Common Tern (8), Terek Sandpiper (1), Oriental Pratincole (4 flying north), "White-faced" Plover (4 males, 2 non-males, plus maybe 2/3 more). Note: The White-faced Plover is a “mystery” plover first observed by Peter Kennerley (in Singapore, 1993-4) and David Bakewell (in Malaysia, 2006-7) and described in an article published in

These birds occur during the northern winter months of October to March together with flocks of Kentish Plovers (Charadrius alexandrinus), and like the latter, appear to undertake a pre-breeding moult between January and March, suggesting a northern origin. After considering the possibilities of them being hybrids (Kentish x Malaysian), having aberrant plumage or being a poorly known race of a common species, or even an undescribed taxon, the authors concluded that it is most probably a new taxon. However, they suggest that detailed comparison of biometrics and DNA of these birds with those of known taxa be undertaken for comparison.

Blue-tailed Bee-eaters splashing in the water

posted in: Bee-eaters, Feeding-vertebrates | 5


“I was at the Singapore Botanical Gardens this afternoon (10th February 2008) and saw a rather interesting event. About five to eight Blue-tailed bee-eaters (Merops philippinus) suddenly came flying in and started to circle the lake. Then the bee-eaters started to fly really near to the surface and took “mini dives” into the water. This went on for about a minute and the group suddenly took off.

“Is this weird behaviour due to the bee-eaters heating up in the hot sun and trying to cool themselves off?

“Attach are some photos I managed to snap. Quite blurry. Bee-eaters were flying very fast and my camera shutter speed is only that fast… Regards, Meibao


The Blue-tailed Bee-eater is a common passage migrant and winter visitor, arriving in great numbers towards the end of September. It feeds mainly on insects, particularly hymenopteran insects like bees, wasps and ants. It also takes dragonflies, bugs, beetles, flies and termites.

It has also been reported that this bee-eater often splash-dives into open waters, sometimes to bathe and other times to take small fish and insects. Fry (1984) first recorded the bird taking the small, surface feeding mosquito fish (Gambusia affinis) when a vertebra of the fish was detected in a pellet regurgitated by the a Blue-tailed Bee-eater.

The mosquito fish is native to southern United States and Mexico. It is now found throughout the world, used mainly to control mosquito larvae in freshwater ponds and lakes.

February 2008

1. Fry, C.H. (1984). The Bee-eaters. T. & A.D. Poyser, Calton.
2. 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.
3. Lim, K.P. Kelvin & Ng, Peter K.L. (1990). A guide to the freshwater fishes of Singapore. Singapore Science Centre.

Rail-babbler: In search of a family

posted in: Species | 3

“The Rail-babbler (Eupetes macrocerus) is one of the most cryptic and enigmatic of the birds in the Sundaic rainforest. It occurs on the Malay Peninsula as well as in parts of Sumatra and northern Borneo. The habitat is lowland rainforest, mainly primary forest but also adjacent mature logged forest with a closed canopy.

“But what kind of bird is it? The name indicates some relationship to the rails, Rallidae, but that is obviously coincidental for this Passerine. For many years it was included in Timaliidae with the babblers, a diverse family with 309 species worldwide. However, anyone who has ever seen a Rail-babblers (or a Malaysian Rail-Babblers as it was known then) would agree that there was something wrong with this, it simply didn’t belong. The morphology doesn’t match. And nor does the ecology, a Rail-babbler can fly, but it rarely does, it prefers to walk. It walks with its fairly long legs and long tail across the forest floor cluttered with leaves and saplings, it hates to be out in the open and trots quickly across clear patches; when it reaches a fallen log it jumps up and walks across it. Even when captured and released it will immediately jump down onto the forest floor and run off (Wells, 2007).

“In 1998 I was in the Arfak Mountains in West Papua, the Indonesian part of New Guinea to photograph birds. There I came across a Chestnut-backed Jewel-babbler on the forest floor, and it struck me immediately how much this Australasian bird resembled ‘our’ Rail-babbler in built and behaviour. Craig Robson’s A Field Guide to the Birds of South-east Asia came out in 2000 and put the Rail-babbler in the crow family, Corvidae, this taxonomy didn’t make sense and was never generally accepted outside the Oriental region. David Wells (The Birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula Volume Two, 2007) put Rail-babbler in its own family, Eupetidae, which quite possibly is the best solution. Then Handbook of the Birds of the World Volume 12, arriving in Asia this year, finally placed Rail-babbler with the family jewel-babblers and allies, now named Eupetidae after the Rail-babbler, the only species occurring in South-east Asia, the other 17 all in New Guinea or Australia. The Rail-babbler has found a suitable family at last.


“This is the picture illustrating the Rail-babbler in the book (above). I hired R Subaraj to guide me into the Panti Forest Reserve in Johor. Subaraj managed to call the bird forward by imitating its long, wailing whistle and on the third morning we finally saw it well enough to get a picture.”

Earlier, Richard Hale read the report and sent this query: “…but surely the article means the Rail Babbler has never heard of the Wallace Line? Or are there others in Borneo?”

To this, Morten Strange replies: “…no there are no other jewel-babblers on Borneo, or in Wallacea for that matter, the Rail-babbler’s nearest relatives are on New Guinea.

“This way, the Rail-babbler appears to be one of those birds that we have in South-east Asia that is the sole representative of its family in this sub region, from an otherwise exclusive Australasian family. The other examples that come to mind are of course Golden-bellied Gerygone (Our ‘Flyeater’ of the Acanthizidae family, one species in SE Asia, 62 in Australasia) and Mangrove Whistler (Pachycephalidae, one species in SE Asia, 55 in Australasia). But you may ask then, why does the Flyeater not occur on Borneo when it is in SE Asia plus Sulawesi and Lesser Sundas (across the Wallace Line in the Wallacea subregion) ..????.

“Getting back to the Rail-babbler, I did shorten the whole story a bit to get to the conclusion quickly. If you read the opening chapter for Eupetidae in HBW you will see that they consider that it might be best placed in its own family (as Wells does). However, they also point out a number of associations with logrunners and with the African groups rock-jumbers (under Timaliidae) and the small family picathartes, also restricted to Africa, which biogeographically appears even more bizarre. I jump straight to the conclusion that they end up putting it with the jewel-babblers and allies, in fact the Rail-babbler has previously been placed in the same genus as the four Ptilorrhoa jewel-babblers on New Guinea, and although it no longer is, I mention anecdotally that the similarities are striking.

“How it happened I don’t know, but we ended up with this peculiar rainforest bird right at our doorstep that is so enigmatic and unique, so I thought that it was worth mentioning.”

Morten Strange
February 2008

Note: The Rail-babbler does not occur in Singapore, but in the nearby state of Johor in Malaysia.

My bird garden

posted in: Conservation, Plants | 3


My garden has been planted by birds – not totally, but partly. The birds brought the seeds and dropped them haphazardly. In most instances I allowed the plants to develop to maturity if they are not in the way of things. I had a trumpet tree (Cecropia peltata) growing for some months (top left). It was a male tree, a New World species that has become a weed in this part of the world. It grew too tall and threatened to invade my neighbour’s air space. As it was not a spectacular bird tree, I chopped it down.

I still have the umbrella tree (Schefflera actinophylla), native to New Guinea and Australia (above centre). It twice flowered, but each time the trunk broke before the flowers could form fruits. So I have yet to be given an opportunity to document the birds that are attracted to the flowers and fruits, except the Banded Woodpecker (Picus miniaceus) that came for the ants.

The two noni trees (Morinda citrifolia) by the gate are constantly flowering and fruiting (above right). They are popular with sunbirds and flowerpeckers that visit for the nectar in the flowers. The mistletoes (Dendrophthoe pentandra, Macrosolen cochinchinensis) that grow from the branches attract these delightful birds when they are in flowers and fruits. At least three species of birds are attracted to the fruits.


The white-stemmed button vine (Cissus hastata), a prolific scrambler, is growing all over the trees and palms. It is fruiting profusely, providing food for birds (top left).

Seedlings of sendudok or melastome (Melastome malabathricum) (above centre) litter the ground and I have transplanted a few and they are fruiting, attracting Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker (Dicaeum cruentatum).

The colourful seedlings of mahang (Macaranga javanica) regularly appear (above right). Two have grown tall, taking over the space of the trumpet tree. I am hoping these will flower soon and look forward to observing the birds that are attracted to them. Then if they grow too tall, they also have to give way to others.


There are a few more plants brought in by the birds, but they have to wait their turn, as I do not have enough space for them all. The wild cinnamon (Cinnamomum iners) (top left) is waiting to fill the garden. Then there is the salam (Syzygium polyanthum) (top centre) and what looks like a wild brinjal (Solanum sp.) (top right). The first two are great bird trees, I am not sure of the third shrub.

A garden planted by birds is guaranteed to attract birds.

YC Wee
February 2008

Himalayan Swiftlet: 2. An ornithologist’s perspective

posted in: Swifts-Swallows | 11


The sighting of the purported Himalayan Swiftlet (Aerodramus brevirostris) together with a clear image of the bird shot from below by KC Tsang as evidence, has been reported earlier (left top).

I took the liberty of sending KC’s image to Dr David R Wells, author of “The Birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsular” and he kindly sent this reply:

“Good to hear from you, and thanks for the photo. The experts may indeed be sitting on the fence, but I do have to say that identification of the Peninsula’s grey (Aerodramus) swiftlets, from a still shot, particularly one taken from below, is hit and miss. THUS FAR, no-one has come up with a way of being certain. What I will admit is that the tail-fork is deeper, more conspicuous than I would have expected in a White-nest and certainly more so than in a Black-nest – leaving HS as the best bet.

“Seen in life, flocks of swiftlets with uniformly conspicuous tail-fork (such as shown) and rather stiff wing-beat I have tended to assume were HS, and passage movements of such birds have been noted over the S end of the Peninsula, including Singapore.

“Beautiful picture, nonetheless, and one of these days it could contribute to working out something more useful by way of ID characters.”

Black-nest (A. maximus) and White-nest (A. fuciphagus) are both common residents, the latter is also known as Edible-nest.

KC managed to get an image of the bird from above some time later (left bottom) and again I sent the image to Dr Wells. His response:

“Presumably not the same individual as before as tail-fork less pronounced (or it appears so; photos can be deceptive). All I will say is that any bird with a rump this pale relative to the rest of the upperparts, as far south as Singapore, could hardly be a White-nest. Given that Black-nests have the squarest tail of the three, the odds are in favour of Himalayan. BUT, this ID is still only statistical.”

In the absence of a live or dead specimen (or possibly more than one) in hand, the above images could be considered those of the Himalayan Swiftlet – all things considered.

YC Wee
February 2008
(Images by KC Tsang and comments by Dr David R Wells)

1. Robson, C. (2005). Birds of South-east Asia. London: New Holland.
2. Wang. L.K. & Hails, C. J. (2007) An annotated checklist of birds of Singapore. Raffles Bull. Zool. Suppl. 15:1-179.
3. Wells, D.R. (1999). The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsular. Vol. I, Non-passerines. Academic Press, London.

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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