The Osprey and the White-bellied Sea Eagles

posted in: Interspecific | 2

Allan Teo was at his friends’ farm in Kahang, Malaysia, recently when he noticed an Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) flying towards the fish pond. The pond had more than 1,000 fish and was the territory of the White-bellied Sea Eagles (Haliaeetus leucogaster). Such a rich fishing ground was too tempting for the Osprey but the sea eagle were not about to allow an intruding Osprey fish there.

The Osprey started fishing and two eagles immediately gave chase. This did not deter the Osprey. It eventually caught a fish even though it was harassed by the two eagles. Not satisfied, the eagles chased the Osprey for more than a kilometer until it was out of sight.

As Allan noted: “When I returned to examine my photos, I noted this perfect mirror image shot that I did not notice in the field.

“I was told that raptors do not do ‘loops’ in the sky. However this photo shows that to be not true. Again the camera captures what the eye cannot see. Even when one-meter wingspan birds are fighting over your head.

“So the Osprey can fish while being harassed. I was glad this happened as it allowed extended camera opportunities.”

Our bird specialist R. Subaraj has this to say: “The White-bellied Sea Eagle featured is not a full adult. Ospreys are not residents but visitors to our shores. Confrontations between competitors for fish are not as rare as we think and more observations should produce more stories of such encounters.

“I remember back in the late 1980s watching a White-bellied Sea Eagle continually harassing an Osprey carrying a fish over Kranji Reservoir until it dropped its prey, which was then taken by the eagle. This is almost a form of kleptoparatism, like what frigatebirds and skuas normally indulge in.

“As for the aerial acrobatics, raptors often lock talons in mid-flight during courtship displays, with one upside down like in the photo. They can also invert themselves during territorial battles or when fending off harassment from pests like crows. Excellent photos though!”

Account and images by Allan Teo, September 2006. Osprey on the right (top image), left (centre image) and top (bottom image).

Blue-throated Bee-eater

posted in: Bee-eaters, Nesting | 0

Like all bee-eaters, the Blue-throated (Merops viridis) is an earth-hole nester. It excavates a tunnel in the sandy ground, often from a slight incline, but also on flat lawns. The one metre or more tunnel enters the ground at a shallow angle, ending in an egg-chamber. And seldom does the bird reuses it the next year.

The sharp, hooked claws and long tail of the bird adapt it well to perching on vertical banks. From this position it excavates its burrow, using its bill to stab at the compacted soil and its powerful claws to dislodge the loosened earth. As the cavity deepens, the bird clears the loosened earth by using both legs, supporting itself on its ‘wrists’ and bill tip. Invariable a small heap of soil forms in front of the nest hole entrance

These strong fliers are mostly long distance migrants and have complete mastery of the air. They are accomplished aerial hunters with their wheeling and gliding flight on long, pointed wings, and with twists and turns in the chase or slow pursuit.

Although the bird spends most of its time in the air, it comes to the ground for short periods to preen and to sunbath. It lies spread-eagled on the ground with its wings fully extended and tail feathers fanned. At the same time it pants to cool itself.

Input and images by Joe Yao,

Small home high off the ground: Nesting ecology of the Grey-rumped Treeswift.

posted in: Nesting, Swifts-Swallows | 3

I work in the Singapore Botanic Gardens and the Grey-rumped Treeswifts (Hemiprocne longipennis) do well here. Outside the Visitor Centre they perch in the big trees, they always select the tallest branches, often dead exposed ones. From there they sally for insects, and I presume they nest, although I have never had a chance to study it. But in 2006 I got the chance. A friend who comes in our shop told me about a nesting pair she had near her home, a high rise development nearby off North Buona Vista Road.

The treeswifts form a small family, Hemiprocnidae in the Apodiformes order which includes three families: treeswifts, swifts and (maybe a bit surprisingly) hummingbirds. Hemiprocnidae is only in the Oriental region and only has one genus with four species. Treeswifts differ from true swift in that they can and often do perch on branches, they are arboreal birds. True swifts form a much larger family (92 species world wide); they spend almost all their time in the air, they even sleep and mate on the wing. They cannot perch on a branch or on the ground, they can only grab a vertical surface with their small, weak feet; therefore they only land when they have to nest, which they do in caves or under cliffs, or under man-made structures like buildings and bridges (a few species fly into tree holes), using the only building material available to them: their own saliva and feathers.

The Grey-rumped Treeswift forms a superspecies and was previously considered conspicific with the Crested Treeswift (H. coronata). The former occurs in the Sunda subregion plus Sulawesi, the latter replaces it in Thailand and Indochina into India. Incredibly, for these widespread and fairly numerous two species there are big gaps in our knowledge of their nesting biology, neither incubation nor fledging periods have ever been recorded (Handbook of Birds of the World, Vol. 5, p. 465).

The North Buona Vista pair built a small nest in some dead branches in a tall tree, some 20 meters off the ground, it was clearly visible from the balcony of a nearby building. The nest was a tiny cup made of hardened saliva mixed with minute pieces of what appeared to be bark or moss (above, chicks in nest). When the adult sat on the nest the whole structure was invisible, covered by the bird! We know that the egg was laid somewhere between 7th -11th May 2006, it hatched 3rd of June. I visited the nesting site with my son Adam on 5th June. He took some photos with his digital compact camera – the chick was then 2 days old. Both female and male (recognisable by the rufous ear coverts) took turn attending to the chick and feeding it with a regurgitated substance, presumably somewhat pre-digested insect matter.

I visited the site again on 16th June. The chick was bigger of course but still covered in down, still fed regularly and still sheltered completely by one of the parents between feeds. Later on it started to develop feathers, it moved away from the tiny nest and perched on the branch on its own, feeding became less regular. On 1st of July 2006 it left the nesting branch, almost the same hour in the afternoon that it hatched. We now know the fledging period of the Grey-rumped Treeswift: it is exactly 4 weeks! (above, male tending to young; below pair tending to young)

So, how is the Grey-rumped Treeswift doing? Well, none of the four treeswifts are globally threatened with extinction. However, the HBW states that ‘Pesticides are suspected to be behind recent population declines in Singapore’. David Wells states something similar: ‘Declining in some suburban areas, including on Singapore main island where the largest party of non-breeders recently recorded was of only five birds’ (The Birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula Vol. 1, p. 473).

Luckily, in the Singapore Botanic Gardens we still have many more treeswifts than that. The treeswifts like to interact and fly around high together while calling, often late in the day; it is not unusual to see 10-12 birds at one time during those occasions. One evening during ‘winter’ a few years back I was at the exercise ground around 6 pm when a Japanese Sparrow-Hawk (Accipiter gularis) flew quickly by towards the rainforest area, and out of the blue congregated a large flock of treeswifts to mob it. I managed to positively count 35 individuals in the air at one time, but there must have been more, maybe 40. They swerved around excitedly for a few minutes after the hawk had disappeared before they gradually dispersed, many settling around the edges of the rainforest.

Text by Morten Strange; images by Adam Strange.

The call of the Asian Koel

posted in: Vocalisation | 18

From mid-October 2005 right through to February 2006, I had been hearing the call of the Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopacea) almost every morning at about 6.30 am or thereabout. Sometimes I would hear the call later in the morning and once in a while in the evening as well. I have had people complaining of being awaken by the call as early as 4.30 to 5.00 am but in my area the birds apparently wake up later.

These birds, there must be more than a pair, roost among matured trees growing in an abandoned area between two housing estates, seldom visited by people. As such I never saw them but always heard their calls.

Asian Koels are extremely shy birds. Years ago they were always heard and seldom seen. More recently they had been making their presence known especially when they visited my Alexandra palms (Archontophoenix alexandrae) to feed on the ripe fruits. But they were still shy, flying off once they noted my presence.

From mid-February 2006 the call dried up to an occasional kwaking. Then around the end of June the call was again heard, but not as regularly as previously.

During the first few days of July I had the opportunity to view them close-up. Four male koels flew in at around 5.30 pm and stayed for about an hour to an hour and a half. A bird would suddenly arrive and perch on a fruiting branch of my Alexandra palm accompanied by loud kwaking. Another would soon fly in to be followed by the remaining two. Sometimes they would fly to the Golden Penda (Xanthostemon chrysanthus) tree along the roadside.

A pair, perching on different branches but facing each other, would then indulge in duetting. The perching appeared precarious as the birds rocked forward and backward, as if trying to balance themselves. Their tails would flare out somewhat and sometimes they would touch beaks. During this time one or more may regurgitate seeds from earlier feeds. After some time they would simply perch quietly, not moving much and not appearing to communicate. Then suddenly they would all fly off.


A lone male koel was recently seen perching on a branch of the Golden Penda and wailing continuously. As it belted out a series of koel-koel-koel calls, its wings flap up while the tail feathers flare out. This went on for up to five minutes before the bird flew off.

Account and images by YC Wee.

Gloria and her Pink-necked Green Pigeon 1

posted in: Nesting | 4


On 3rd July 2006 Gloria Seow spotted a female Pink-necked Green Pigeon (Treron vernans ) sitting in a nest lodged between the branches of a tree (possibly Aphanamixis polystachys). The tree was just behind her first floor office in the MacPherson Road area, near to where the regular office smokers congregated to discuss their battle plans. For the first few days she saw only the female bird incubating the eggs. Only much later did she see the more colourful male at the nest.

The bird would sit quietly in the nest, occasionally shifting positions. The sudden appearance of a Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker (Dendrocopos moluccensis) on a branch close by was totally ignored.

As Gloria recounted: “Showed most of my colleagues the female and male birds with my binos. They were suitably impressed and intrigued that there could be green pigeons in Singapore…”

On 11th July the eggs hatched.

“I thought I saw papa regurgitating (at that time I didn’t know what he was doing). He would arch his neck downwards and contraction waves would pass along the length of the body as food pours forth within… Suddenly papa moved and revealed one chick beneath him!” So there were two chicks.

“Papa was feeding the chicks with crop milk every 5 to 15 minutes. When one chick was fed, the other would call out softly in protest. The chicks were covered in yellow down, their eyes appeared to be still closed and sealed within a thin membrane, and they had a yellow beak. I reckon that they were barely 1-2 days old. Papa looked tired, his feathers appeared ruffled and un-preened and he was forever wary of foreign sounds, whipping his head around in alarm with every new aural interference, human or avian made. Thank God such disturbances were few and far between.

“My presence was acknowledged as papa quickly orientated his body and sight line in my direction when initially he was facing the other way. Of course, I posed very little threat as I was seated a good 4 meters below him and every time somebody walked by, I diverted attention away from the nest by fiddling with my other papers and equipment.”

Input by Gloria Seow and images by Chan Yoke Meng – top down: female with chicks, tree where nest was, male in nest, male with chicks. Ali Ibrahim helped identify the tree.

Attack of Dollarbirds’ nest by starlings

posted in: Interspecific | 3

An earlier account saw how a Long-tailed Parakeet (Psittacula longicauda) attacked the nest of a pair of Dollarbirds (Eurystomus orientalis) but was physically evicted from the nest. Here, the attack by a flock of Asian Glossy Starlings (Aplonis panayensis) was under different circumstances.

Meng and Melinda Chan were at Lim Chu Kang when they noticed a pair of Dollarbirds nesting in an open cavity at the top of a dead tree trunk. A small flock of Asian Glossy Starlings was flying over when they noticed the Dollarbirds’ nest. The starlings suddenly flew down to raid the nest. Predictably, the pair of Dollarbirds retaliated, attacking the former. Being outnumbered, the nest was raided and what appeared to be a well-developed embryo was taken away by one of the starlings.

The starlings flew away leaving the Dollarbirds to assess the damage.

Thanks to Meng and Melinda Chan for the observation. Images by YC.

Purple Heron: Feeding behaviour

Herons are carnivores, feeding on a wide range of live animals found within their aquatic environment. These may include fish, frogs, snakes, lizards, birds and small mammals. They also take aquatic insects and crustaceans.

The long neck and sharp pointed bill are well adapted to harpoon preys. The bird stands motionless in shallow water among vegetation until a prey approaches. It then suddenly seizes it with the bill or if large enough, impales it. An account on the baiting strategy of Little Heron (Butorides striatus) has been posted earlier.

Herons swallow their prey whole. They have an excellent digestive system that takes care of their food efficiently, leaving only bones, feathers, exoskeletons and fur that get regurgitated as pellets.

Adults feed their chicks by regurgitating the prey whole. The chick may swallow the food whole or if too large, the parent bird may break it up into smaller bits.

The image above, provided by Chan Yoke Meng, of a Purple Heron regurgitating a rat, tail-first (it cannot be otherwise) to feed the chick, was taken at Yong Peng, Malaysia in August 2005. Obviously the regurgitated rat needed to be repositioned before the chick can swallow it. Or did it swallow the rat tail first?

The image below by YK Chia shows another Purple Heron, this time a juvenile, with a lizard between its beak. If you look closely, you can see where the lizard had its body pierced.
Thanks to Chan Yoke Meng and YK Chia for the use of their images. Check out YK’s blog.

Chestnut-bellied Malkoha manipulating caterpillar

posted in: Feeding-invertebrates | 0

On 23rd June 2006, photographer HP Lim came across a pair of Chestnut-bellied Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus sumatranus), each with a large hairy caterpillar between its beak. The birds were swinging the caterpillars vigorously, obviously to kill them. They next passed the entire length of the caterpillar back and forth between the beak to remove the stomach contents. The image above shows one of the bird with the somewhat flattened caterpillar between its beak.

The video clips that HP Lim managed to capture (1) and (2) show the above in a much more dramatic fashion. In case you are not able to connect properly to the videos, he has given alternate links in (3) and (4).

Caterpillars are a favourite food of many species of birds. The brightly coloured ones can be poisonous while those that are hairy can be tricky to manipulate. An earlier posting gives an account of how birds generally handle these caterpillars.

Another account describes the way a Collared Kingfisher (Todiramphus chloris) manipulated a large privet hawk moth’s caterpillar – in this case the caterpillar was clean shaven, no hairs!

We wish to thank HP Lim for generously sharing his image and videos and to Meng and Melinda Chan for introducing him to BESGroup’s blog.

Pong pong tree

posted in: Plants | 5

The pong pong (Cerbera odollam) is a medium sized tree that was once commonly planted along roads in Singapore. Its popularity then was because there was a plentiful supply of large fruits that collected on the ground below. These were collected and easily germinated to be used as wayside trees. With the maturity of the garden city and availability of a more varied selection of tree species, pong pong became less of a favourite. Its general shape is not all that attractive. Besides, the large, round fruits that litter the ground below became quite of a nuisance. However, there are still many areas where such matured trees can still be seen.

The tree has been called Singapore apple because of the large, round fruits. The green outer covering of the fruit encloses a thin pulp and a thick fibrous stone containing a single seed. This seed is reportedly poisonous, containing the poisonous substances cerebin and odollin. It has been used locally to poison rats.

For a long time now no animals have been observed to eat the fruits, or at least the outer pulp. Being a coastal tree, the fruits are adapted for water dispersal, not animal dispersal.

However, birders have recently observed seeing Tanimbar Corella (Cacatua goffini) feasting on these fruits. Johnny Wee sent an image of this bird eating through the outer part of a green fruit, apparently chewing through the tough fibrous layer covering the seed. The bird is seen perched on a branch with its right leg tightly clutching it while its left leg clutches the green fruit.

At Eng Neo area, certain mornings the pong pong trees will be swarmed with these corellas as they noisily fly from branch to branch and tree to tree, pecking on the fruits. Typically wasteful eaters, these birds end up littering the ground below with the partially eaten fruits.

According to our bird specialist R. Subaraj: “Tanimbar Cockatoo (now known as Tanimbar Corella) was first seen around 1970s when it was misidentified as Little Corella (Cacatua pastinator) from Australia. A visiting Aussie birder in the mid-1980s said it weren’t theirs and that finally lead to the accurate confirmation of the species.”

This is an introduced bird, now getting more common. It has obviously found a feeding niche that no other birds have occupied before. Besides feeding on pong pong fruits, it also goes for green starfruits (Averrhoa carambola) and fruits of sea almond (Terminalia catappa), fruits not popular with other species of birds.

Images by YC Wee except second from top by Johnny Wee and bottom by Chan Yoke Meng.

The elusive mangrove pitta

posted in: Species | 1

1-mangrove-pitta.jpg

The emerging Mangrove Pitta (Pitta megarhyncha) of this habitat heralds news of good birding days ahead for Ayer Itam Dalam, Butterworth but… for a very limited time only for bird watchers (left).

The ability to walk the newly constructed boardwalk of chengal wood was a comforting thought, though the overall workmanship is shoddy and the length of the boardwalk severely compromised with ongoing construction of 2 roads cutting through the forest reserve. One veteran birder estimated loss of the forest reserve and original length of boardwalk to be about 80 % to development (below).

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The elusive Mangrove Pitta (Pitta megarhyncha) is often talked about but seldom seen and extremely camera shy. This species has to be the signature bird of the habitat closest to me, and I am adamant to see it (below).

I teamed up with a birding pal and made our way snaking through Ayer Itam Village. We missed the correct turn and ended up helping to level the earthed road still under construction instead. By coincidence or divine intervention, our vehicle came to a grinding halt at the entrance of the designated board walk.

At 8 am, we were ready for our ‘C.S.I.’ walk. I took the lead with my 10×42 binoculars and cat walked stealthily along the board walk.

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I took to a squatting position and searched the forest floor and within 2 minutes, heard the rustle of dead foliage coming from my left direction. A quick response led me to this elusive bird that was foraging on the ground unaware of our presence.

The Pitta continued leisurely on its walk and disappeared behind the edge of the Nipah grove before any full clear view of the bird could be had.

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Observation of the bird in semi concealed position was had for about 5minutes before the Mangrove Pitta took off with nesting material.

A year later, this feathered friend surprised me by flying in and posed 15 feet from my scope producing a trembling, too close a shot of this elusive bird (right).

Was it the same bird seen before or was it her fledgling that grew up?

Submitted by: DAISY O’NEILL (Avian Writer), PENANG, MALAYSIA.

26 Responses

  1. kris

    I just found a young dollarbird in the garden.. It seems to have left the nest too early and cannot fly yet. How am i to keep and feed it for a few days untill it can fly.???

  2. Iwan

    We have a small pond in our garden surrounded by trees and steep bedrock. The other day we saw a heron flying over and attempting to land – I guess to try to eat our small stock of fish. We managed to frighten it away before it landed, and have since installed trip wires around the pond in order to dissuade the bird. The amount of shelter around the pond means that a heron would have to land practically vertically. Does anyone know whether these birds have the agility to hover and land in this way, or do they always need a “glidepath” in order to land successfully?

  3. Khng Eu Meng

    Today, at the former Bidadari Cemetery, there was a buzz about a sighting of a Grey Nightjar (Caprimulgus jotaka). I heard some birders say this nightjar isn’t commonly seen in Singapore. After some hunting, we spotted it asleep on a tree branch, some 15 m above ground. This was rather interesting as my previous encounters with nightjars have been on either terra firma or on low branches.

    Is this perching so high up the tree normal or is it unusual? I have posted a photo of it on my Facebook Timeline: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151125012234135&set=a.108191464134.96538.617499134&type=1&theater

  4. Jess

    Bird Sanctuary At Former Bidadari Cementry

    1)Which is the best spot in Bidadari cemetery for bird watch?

    2)Where this bird usually resident at?

    3)What are some of the rare bird species that can be found at Bidadari?

    4)Where is the particular hot spot for the hornbills, eagles, kingfishers and some of the rare migratory bird?

    5)Which part of Bidadari are richest in it wildlife?

    6)Can you name me the 59 migratory bird species found?

  5. YC

    Why not search the website using the word ‘Bidadari’ to obtain the information you need. There should be sufficient info in past postings to satisfy you.

  6. Firdaus Razak

    Hai, I just want to ask did anybody had an experience bring bird from oversea via MasKargo? Did the bird will stress at high altitude?

  7. Chung Wah

    Hi, I am new to bird photography! Could anyone advise a good pair of binoculars to get for this hobby?

  8. Geam Liang

    I ‘acquired’ a female Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot 5 days ago – was in a public place when the bird flew overhead hit the wall and dropped right in front of me dazed. I picked it up, it appeared unhurt but could not sustain it’s flight. I have since constructed a fairly large ‘cage’ for it, about 4ft x 2fx x 2ft and placed it there last night. I temporarily placed her in a normal bird cage until I had completed the build.
    From what I have read up, it’s a fruit, seed and insect feeder and also nectar, flower buds. It’s doing as well as it can on bananas, papaya, jack-fruit (didn’t touch the grape) and seeds (black and white sunflower and other smaller ones). It loves to bathe so I’ve gotten it a tray and from what I read it’s important to keep things clean as it easily succumbs to infection.
    Does anyone else have any useful experience and sharing on it’s upkeep? I suspect this bird is an escapee – as far as I can read up, it’s not common, if at all, found in Georgetown, Penang where I am. I’m also not optimistic that it can survive if I were to set it free – assuming it can sustain it’s flight and not go crashing down and if there were dogs/cats around that would be the end of it.
    I can attach some pictures but not sure how to do this…
    thanks.

  9. Lee Chiu San

    The blue-crowned hanging parrot, even though very closely related to the lovebirds, is a nectar feeder. You would raise it the way you raise a lorikeet – which is a messy process. And because you are mixing batches of food for just one little bird, whereas I used to do it for about half a dozen pigeon-sized lorikeets each morning, I don’t know how you are going to get the portions down to manageable sizes. Anyway, here goes, with my recipe for feeding big lories. You can adjust the proportions down accordingly for your little bird.

    The staple diet would be a couple of slices of soft fruit (papaya, apple, grapes, even though I am surprised that you said the bird would not eat any) and a mixture of cooked rice sweetened with nectar mix.

    How to make nectar mix? Go to a pharmacy and get a can of food for invalids or infants. I use Complan, but I am sure any good baby formula would do. I usually make up enough to fill a beer mug, but there is no way you need that amount for a day’s feeding. If in doubt, make the mixture thinner, not thicker. Birds cannot digest baby formula that is too thick. If it is too thin, they simply have to consume more to get the required amount of energy. Then to this mug, add half a teaspoonful of rose syrup. Also stir in about a cup of cooked rice, well mashed up.

    In the case of your bird, I suggest that you pour this lot into an ice-cube tray, freeze the mixture, and defrost one cube to feed it each day.

    Now, you said that this bird eats sunflower seeds. This is most unusual for a blue-crowned hanging parrot. Are you sure that this is actually the species you have? Could it be possible that you have actually got a pet lovebird that escaped? There are so many different artificially-created breeds of lovebirds in so many colours that you might have been mistaken.

    If you actually have a lovebird, feeding is much simpler. Just go to the nearest pet shop, buy a packet of budgerigar or cockatiel seed of a reputable international brand, and offer it to the bird. You can supplement this with a couple of slices of fruit each day, and that will be all. Plus of course fresh water and a piece of cuttlefish bone to nibble on.

  10. Lee Chiu San

    About nectar feeding birds. I forgot to add that feeding nectar is messy, and it goes rancid very quickly in our tropical weather. Feeding containers have to be removed and thoroughly cleaned at the end of each day. The birds also splatter the mixture and wipe their beaks on perches and the bars of the cage. All my lories and lorikeets used to be housed in outdoor aviaries which were hosed down daily.

    If Geam Liang does not think the bird will survive if released, I really hope that it is a case of mistaken identity, and that you have a lovebird, rather than a blue-crowned hanging parrot. In our part of the world, all available lovebirds are domestically bred, take to captivity readily, and are easy to feed with commercially available seed mixtures. Yes, and being domestic pets, they would not survive if released.

  11. Geam Liang

    Thank you Chiu San for your inputs. Thus far, bananas and papayas work well. I’m not sure why it did not take to grapes – will try again. Am I supposed to peel it? I didn’t the last time, basically skewered a couple of grapes to a satay stick and positioned it as I did for the sliced and skinned papaya and peeled bananas.
    I have yet to try rice and certainly not nectar but will try out your concoction – have half a mind to go to a pet shop to see if they carry nectar for birds. The ice-cube freeze method is a good one, will try that. I might be mistaken on the sunflower seeds… not touched but it did eat the much smaller roundish, mixed colored seeds. Will remove the sunflower seeds.
    I’m sure it’s a female blue crowned hanging parrot.. it sleeps like a bat every night.

  12. Lee Chiu San

    When feeding local birds which are unfamiliar with imported fruits such as grapes, it helps to split the fruits to expose the edible parts. As to your remark that the bird sleeps hanging upside down like a bat, yes, that is the way blue-crowned hanging parrots sleep.

  13. Geam Liang

    Thanks… I need to think like a bird – yup. She has probably not seen a grape much less know that it’s edible, unless the previous owner has fed her with grapes… even then… Today she’s done pretty well making the most of the banana and all of the papaya plus quite a bit of seeds. Will try the baby food + mashed rise + rose syrup.
    Will regular honey do instead of rose syrup?
    Thanks.

  14. Lee Chiu San

    About making nectar to feed birds. Most aviculturalists do not use honey for two reasons: 1. It is expensive and does not seem to give any added benefits. 2. Honey is made by bees, and the composition varies wildly. Some honeys are also known to cause fungal infection in birds.

    If you do not want to buy a huge bottle of rose syrup just for one tiny bird, there are cheaper alternatives. The first is plain table sugar, though most don’t seem to like it very much.

    What many birds will accept quite readily as a sweetener is condensed milk – the type with sugar that coffee shop owners use.

    Many, many birds have a sweet tooth (or should I say sweet beak?) Besides the usual suspects of lories, lorikeets, sunbirds and hummingbirds, for whom it is an essential part of the diet, nectar mixture is readily consumed by mynahs, leafbirds, fairy bluebirds, barbets, doves, parrots of all kinds, and a whole host of other species.

  15. Geam Liang

    I tried the condensed mild, placed in in a small bottle cap.. only the ants showed interest. Am I supposed to dilute it? I didn’t =( I took you advice and refrained from honey. Have yet to find Rose Syrup from the shelves of TESCO… will try to mix the baby food + mashed rise + rose syrup/sugar syrup this week…

  16. David Thackray

    Can anyone help me identify a bird I saw in Singapore last week. Size of a smakll dove or thrush. Dark metallic back. Grey breast with red throat, chest.

  17. Emily Koh

    Lately I bought a bird feeder which I fill with 4parts water n 1 part white sugar. Sunbirds come regularly to drink and they are really lovely to watch. May I know if it is bad for them to feed on this? Previously they would sometimes pierce and drink from my potted flowers

  18. Emily Koh

    Lately I bought a bird feeder which I fill with 4parts water n 1 part white sugar. Sunbirds come regularly to drink and they are really lovely to watch. May I know if it is bad for them to feed on this? Previously they would sometimes pierce and drink from my potted flowers.

  19. Mahadevi Bhuti

    One of best souce for the bird watcher’s enjoying knowledge about ornithology

  20. Martin Nyffeler (PhD)

    Dear Sir / Dear Madame,

    I am a Senior Lecturer in Zoology at a University in Switzerland and I urgently need to get in touch with photographer Chan Yoke Meng, who takes beautiful photographs of birds near Singapore. Would you please mail me the email address of this photographer!

    Thanks,
    Martin

  21. Wee Ming

    Hello Besgroup,

    Trust this email finds you well. We chance upon your photograph on your website and found the amazing image of the Laced Woodpecker and durians. We would like to explore the possibility of getting permission to use them for a new Bird Park in Singapore.

    Spacelogic is a company based in Singapore and we have been contracted by Mandai Park Development to carry out design and build works relating to the exhibition interpretive displays in this new Bird Park.

    Some background of the new Mandai Bird Park project; it will build upon the legacy of the Jurong Bird Park – https://www.wrs.com.sg/en/jurong-bird-park.html by retaining and building upon a world-reference bird collection and creating a place of colour and joy for all visitors. The new Bird Park will have a world-reference ornithological collection displayed in a highly immersive way with large walk-through habitats. To enhance visitors’ experience with storyline and narrative of the bird park, transition spaces are added to display exhibits that provide a varied type of fun, intuitive, interactive and educational experiences for all visitors. One of the habitats features the Laced Woodpecker on a flora panel It is in this flora panel that we are seeking your permission to feature the Laced Woodpecker. We are looking to use the first image on the link here.
    Link can be found here: https://besgroup.org/2012/06/28/laced-woodpecker-and-durians/

    We would like to ask if this is something that we can explore further and if yes, how can we go about with putting through a formal permission request. Thank you so much for considering our request and we look forward to hearing from you.

    Warmest Regards,
    Wee Ming
    SPACElogic Pte Ltd

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