Apparition pitta on a “trapeze”

posted in: Species | 0

A scheduled Saturday night of owling turned unforgettable for a birding trio. Dressed for the occasion, it was meant to be a night out, putting our new toys-a night vision aid and my ‘third eye’- headlights to a test.

We were just about to call it a night after having seen the owls as hoped. We decided to retrace our steps once more to the known site of the Mangrove Pitta (Pitta megarhyncha) in a hope to chalk up our owling list.

I believe 30th July 06 is to be one and only life time opportunity to bear witness to this account- sighting a juvenile Mangrove Pitta at 12 midnight. It did not occur to us that this species that eludes so many birders in the day time could be possibly seen at night and in deep slumber on a unique, opened perch.

We crept in single file along the short boardwalk into total darkness, under tree canopy of mixed banyan trees and nipah palms (left).

Instinctively, my flashlight went searching for the floor coverings. Subconsciously, I was thinking wishfully and whispering aloud.

“It would be a miracle to see a Pitta at this time of the night!”

One buddy chuckled in disbelief but knew I was not looking for owls but for an elusive hope of sighting a pitta- a chance in a million to ever see one on that night.

That nice, quiet feeling of unexplained euphoria rose to the challenge and continued to hang over me as I led the way in darkness with my searching flashlight.

Suddenly…., I saw a white object hanging in mid-air. Approaching cautiously, there were numerous banyan vines hanging down from tree canopies. Some were twisted while one was dangling across another. The white object appeared to be levitating from this dangling vine in the dark!

‘It’s a pitta! Shh…..” Excitedly, I whispered to one of them who passed the message to buddy photographer cum bodyguard for the night.

We approached just in time to see this white object raised its head that snuggled, in an under-winged position to reveal his identity as the juvenile Mangrove Pitta. This was a fifth week old, juvenile showing its pinkish belly.

We stood on the boardwalk and stared silently at the juvenile in disbelief. We were stunned by the snoozing bird that was just perching on the vine like a trapeze artist. I cautiously waved my flashlight at the bird to observe for any response from the bird.

Bird remained motionless. A total of 20 shots or so were discharged from between the Nikon D200 and D2H. My Coolpix Nikon P4, a toy by comparison delivered 3 blurred underexposed shots. One turned out to be like an apparition Pitta on a ‘trapeze’ (right).

Stalking a pitta in the day time was difficult and sweaty enough. Having a pitta perched and posed in front for as long as the bird wanted to be observed was unimaginable. Photographing one at 12 midnight had to be a miracle. It happened!

There were moments when the juvenile yawned, scratched, opened and shut eyes. At other times, the bird remained quiet.

During those couple of moments when the Pitta yawned and scratched, it showed a crescent nictitating membrane emerging from the inner corner of the eye and this was caught on camera (left).

Yawning action was seen with Pittas’eyes opened. Did the bird not see us? We were less than 10 feet away!

Doesn’t the bird see at night? Was it blinded by our flashlights? These were questions that puzzled us. We decided to put another observation to the test.

From communication with initial hand signals to whispers that got louder and louder, we proceeded to speaking in normal tone and deliberated openly on the subject of ‘nictitating membrane.’

It was hard to believe that our presence and discussion went on until 1am and the bird was still perching on the same vine unperturbed by neither our voice nor our presence.

The conclusion to this juvenile pitta’s behaviour could be, pittas do not see nor hear well in the dark as opposed to extreme acute sight and hearing in the day.

The innocent, 5 week-old juvenile chick had not been exposed to human predatory presence nor acquired survival skills yet. Besides, the tide was high that night and the ground underneath the boardwalk was flooded. No escape for the juvenile but to play, ‘stand and look dead’.

We left thanking the juvenile the way it was first sighted.

For us trio, we each went home with a great feeling that we had struck the national lottery. We took that euphoric feeling to bed.

The juvenile Mangrove Pitta probably thought not, cared not and went back to zzz…

We slept not.

Courtesy documentary image from Michael Ng with thanks.
Submitted by: DAISY O’NEILL (Avian Writer), PENANG, MALAYSIA.

Nesting of Asian Paradise Flycatcher

posted in: Nesting | 0

The Asian Paradise Flycatcher (Terpsiphone paradisi) is an impressive bird, especially the male morph whose long tail can reach more than 27 cm long. As the bird flies it’s long white tail dangles and sways suggestively like a butterfly fluttering about. The bird winters in tropical Asia and is seen in Singapore and Peninsular Malaysia as a passage migrant.

Tan Swee Nam had an exciting encounter with a pair of nesting birds in Taman Negara, Malaysia on 7th June 2006 and brought back the two images shown here. He arrived just a few days too late to see the male flycatcher replenish with his long white tail. A Malaysian birder saw the birds feeding the chicks on 29th May, probably hatched about two days earlier. The male still had its long tail when he left in 3rd June.

The chicks fledged on 9th June at 11 am, about 13 days after hatching.

This species is usually found in forested areas. Three or four eggs are laid in a neat cup-shaped nest, usually lined with hairs and decorated with mosses and liverworts. The male starts life with rufous plumage that develops white feathers by the second year. By the third year the plumage is completely white, other than the black head. The female resmbles the rufous male, but has a grey throat, smaller crest and lacks the tail streamers.

Thanks Swee Nam for the imput and images.

Durians and birds

posted in: Feeding-plants, Plants | 8

About a year ago or earlier, Goh Si Guim came across a durian tree (Durio zibethinus) at Bukit Batok West with a ripenig fruit whose outer skin had a hole, probably gnawed by a squirrel. There was a Laced Woodpecker (Picus vittatus) around the fruit. Whether it was actually eating the durian flesh or looking for insects was not established. Fuhai Heng managed to capture an image of the damaged fruit with the woodpecker on it (below).

There the matter rested until James Heng took a walk along Venus Drive on 10th July 2006 and encountered a tree laden with fruits with many squirrels and birds crowding around the ripening fruits. This is what he wrote:

“This evening I passed a durian tree which was laden with fruits. What was unusual was that there were lots of sunbird and flowerpecker activities.

“As the durians are getting ripe soon, many plantain squirrels (Callosciurus notatus) (with a black and cream coloured band on the side of its belly) have gnawed through many of them. Whenever a squirrel had had enough and moved away, Plain-throated Sunbirds ( Anthreptes malacensis ) quickly appeared and perched on the durian’s thorns and pecked away at the exposed flesh. They were also seen licking the white inner portion of the husk.

“Several Orange Bellied Flowerpeckers (Dicaeum trigonostigma) were also busy darting about that tree. On several occasions, they landed on the durians and pecked away. Unfortunately, from my angle, I could not see if they were reaching into any of those bored cavities in the fruits.

“Hmm, seems that like humans, some birds just cannot “tahan” the lure of this fruit.”

Johnny Wee later visited the tree and took a picture of the woodpecker that was eating away at a fruit with an opening for about 8 minutes before it flew away satisfied (above). Again, Johnny was not sure whether the bird was eating the fruit or the insects/worms found around it.

It has been established that woodpeckers are insectivorous as well as fruigivrous.

We thank Goh Si Guim and James Heng for their input; Fuhia Heng and Johnny Wee for their images; and R. Subaraj for identifying the squirrel.

White-bellied Sea Eagle: Not just a fishing expert

“On May 1st, I was at Tekek Village at Pulau Tioman, Malaysia with my collegues, Bridget Hedderman, Chua Sek Chuan and Karen Chen. We were awaiting for our vehicle transfer. Above us, we could see and hear the large colony of Island Flying Foxes (Pteropus hypomelanus) roosting in the various trees, including casuarina (Casuarina equisetifolia) and sea almond (Terminalia catappa), along the river. These fruit bats have a wingspan of about a metre and are offshore island specialists.

“Suddenly, there was a loud commotion from the colony of bats. Karen said a White-bellied Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) had flown low over our heads and landed on one of the nearby trees. I could see some movement at the top of a sea almond tree across the small river. Then, I saw the eagle fly out and away with something in its talons. Almost immediately, it dawned on me that the eagle had taken one of the bats!

“We looked around and soon observed the White-bellied Sea Eagle flapping toward the central hills with a struggling Island Flying Fox firmly locked in its talons. What a sight and what a surprise! This eagle species specialises on catching fish offshore or over bodies of inland water. Indeed, it is a regular joy to see these majestic raptors flying out to sea and fishing the waters around Tioman. Often, individuals can be seen flying back to the hills with a fish in their talons, heading for a favourite perch. Occasionally, they may be seen carrying an eel, a crab or even a snake.

“A large Island Flying Fox being taken by a White-bellied Sea Eagle is practically unheard of – at least I have not heard of anything like this! Yet, the colony of large bats provides an easy target for a gutsy and suitably sized raptor. In the sea eagle’s talons, the flying fox looked relatively small and an ideal meal. Adapting to changing situations is what survival is all about and I feel truly fortunate and humbled to have witnessed this amazing raw spectacle.” R. Subaraj

Note: White-bellied Fish-eagle is now known as White-bellied Sea Eagle. We thank Subaraj for the exciting and unusual account and K. C. Tsang for the use of his image.

Nesting of captive Indian Peafowl

posted in: Exotics | 1

Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus), also known as Common Peafowl and Indian Peacock, are popular with parks and zoos worldwide. They are free ranging birds and are easily kept. The Singapore Zoological Garden’s peafowl frequently fly off to the nearby forest area along Mandai Lake Road to forage.

Lately, Meng and Melinda Chan came across a peahen that flew over to lay her eggs. The bird chose a large bird’s nest fern (Asplenium nidus) that grew on a raised tree stump to lay four eggs that were larger than chicken eggs. She was sitting on the fern incubating her eggs. The male was nowhere in sight.

According to the literature the female peafowl usually lays her eggs in a shallow scrape of ground and incubates them herself. The male seeks other females immediately after copulation.

Peahen generally attracts attention in Singapore and one laying eggs attracts more attention. Was it a wonder then that one egg was earlier destroyed by someone and another pinched by an irresponsible person?

On that morning in early July 2006 when Meng and Melinda were there, they found a broken egg on the ground below the incubating bird. Melinda wondered, “…could the egg have rolled down from the nest and broke? Was it possible that the bird rejected the egg since someone was earlier seen handling it?”

The bird later abandoned her last egg as she was seen wandering about and not incubating in her nest.

Apparently this was the second observed nesting. The first happened one month earlier when two eggs were laid on another bird’s nest fern. Unfortunately the eggs rolled down from the fern within a day they were laid.

Our bird specialist R. Subaraj has this to say: “This species is on my Singapore checklist due to the free-ranging population on Sentosa fulfilling the three criteria for Introduced Species. On Sentosa, there are several records over the years of young chicks accompanying females.”

Thank you Meng and Melinda Chan for the account and the images. The top image of a peacock in the Singapore Zoo is by YC.

Anatomy of a nest: Yellow-vented Bulbul

posted in: Nests | 2

A Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier) built, for the second time, a nest that was lodged between the forking branches of a Dracaena reflexa ‘Song of India’ tree in my garden. It was about 2.5 m from the ground. The bird was seen earlier sitting on the nest on and off for more than a week but nothing came of it. Eventually the nest was abandoned. It was collected on 12th July 2006 and measured, dismantled and the various materials identified.

The nest was built above an incomplete earlier nest. The upper nest was easily detached from the partially completed lower nest. The exterior dimension of the whole structure was 13 x 11 cm and 11 cm deep, the upper being 6 cm deep and the lower 5 cm. The completed upper nest had cup depth of 5 cm.

The foundation of the nest rim was constructed with thin and slender stems, probably inflorescence or fruiting branches (left). These were cleverly woven around other unidentified strips of vegetable matters and copious palm fibres meticulously stripped from the leaflets of palm fronds that grew in my garden. The green slender stems of Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) was also used.

Whole leaves of Arabian jasmine (Jasminum sambac), small pieces of bird’s nest fern (Asplanium nidus), dried banana stem fibres (Musa hybrid), thin pieces of bark and even a few waringin (Ficus benjamina) leaves were used to construct the side of the nest.

The base of the nest was lined with the dried leaves of other narrow but extremely long (to 35 cm) Dracaena spp. as well as dicotyledonous leaves.

Nearly all the nesting materials came from my garden except the slender, unidentified flowering or fruiting branches. These probably came from neighbouring gardens. All the leaves used were dried, pliable and picked up from the ground. Many were in varying stages of rot except the fig leaves that still had traces of green. No leathery leaves were used.

It would be interesting to document the nesting materials used by other Yellow-vented Bulbuls for comparison.

Input and images by YC.

Courtship of the Black-thighed Falconet

posted in: Courtship-Mating | 0

On 9th May 2006 Ong Kiem Sian sent a series of images recorded at Ayer Keroh, Malaysia on the courtship behaviour of the Black-thighed Falconet (Microhierax fringillarius).

“At first the male and female were rather far apart. Then they came closer, even closer and started pecking each other. And then… happy ending.”

Generally, the courtship of falconids includes bouts of intense allopreening that can last up to an hour. Some of these birds also indulge in spectacular aerial displays, soaring together high up into the air and then suddenly making a downward dive. These displays may include loud calling.

Courtship feeding is also commonly seen. This behaviour is seen as enhancing male fidelity. It allows the female to judge whether the male is a good provider and capable of feeding her and her brood during the nesting period.

Falconids and raptors in general indulge in frequent copulation. As the male bird generally does not guard his partner but leaves for relatively long periods after copulation, the chances of extra-pair copulation and cuckoldry can be high. So frequent copulation enhances the chance of paternity.

These birds copulate on tree perches, the female bowing low and exhibiting submissive couching and whining prior to copulation.

Thanks, Sian, for the input and images.

Large-tailed Nightjar: Nesting behaviour

posted in: Nesting | 3

The Large-tailed Nightjar (Caprimulgus macrurus) is a nocturnal bird easily detected in the night when it responds to the beam of your torchlight with a pair of red eyes. In the day you come across it walking through scrubland when the bird suddenly scrambles off noisily. You would have probably disturbed it nesting on the ground. This cryptic bird is not easily detected otherwise. It nests on the open ground, using a small piece of ground that is scraped clean of debris.

Sreedharan Gopalsamy was at Air Keroh, Malaysia with his family in May 2006 when he encountered the antics of this bird. “I was there with my wife, Mala, and son, Varun, looking for and photographing birds. We eventually went to the area where we knew that the nightjar was nesting and walked around slowly and carefully, scanning the ground. When all of a sudden I felt and saw something brush my feet. It was the parent nightjar. It then moved about half a meter away and feigned an injured wing. After about 5-10 seconds of this, it moved about 5 meters away and repeated this behaviour and yet again about 10 meters away. Each time trying to get me to follow it. It subsequently flew to a long branch before heading into the undergrowth. Throughout this sequence my son, who was beside me, and I were rooted to our spot. My wife was a few meters behind.

“It turned out that we were about 10 meters away from the nest (rather than stepping on the nest as Varun initially feared). I took my few shots and we moved away so that the mama could come back and look after her chicks. It was unusual for me in that I was not aware that nightjars exhibited this behaviour and that the parent would be so bold as to actually brush my feet.”

Comment by YC Wee: I had the same experience some 20 years ago at Kent Ridge. As I was walking through the sparse undergrowth bordering the then Department of Botany, an adult Large-tailed Nightjar scrambled away and laid on the ground some distance away freigning a broken wing. As I followed it, it scrambled further away and so on. Returning to the original spot, I noticed a pair of eggs lying on a cleared piece of ground. A few days layer I when I was near the nest the incubating bird flew off noisily, leaving a pair of fluffy chicks. I returned the next morning taking care not to disturb the bird and managed to take a picture of the adult bird sitting on its crude nest.

Input by Sreedharan Gopalsamy; images by Tang Hung Bun (top), Sreedharan (middle) and YC (bottom, small).

Masked Lapwing

posted in: Exotics, Species | 1

On 8th July 2006 KC Tsang came across three lapwings, two adults and a juvenile, at the Singapore Zoological Garden’s Rhino enclosure. Originally thought to be Yellow-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus malabaricus), it was later identified as Masked Lapwing (V. miles) by Mal Jenkins via the internet.

Apparently the English common name, Yellow-wattled Lapwing has been used for both V. malabaricus and (less commonly) for V. miles. Thus the resulting confusion.

Jeremy Lee wrote: “I remember seeing them as well last year. As you get into the zoo and walk straight towards the amphitheater, there is an open patch of turfed land on the right. I saw a pair walking there last year.”

Richard Hale added; “Oh dear. I omitted to report these three which I saw at the zoo car park on 1st March. What fascinated me was that as they walked on the shortish grass one foot was put forward to shake the grass ahead and presumably to stir up any insects lurking there. It was slow progress but seemed to work well as they got plenty to eat. Actually I had assumed they were part of the zoo.”

Our bird specialist R. Subaraj has this to say: “These are actually Masked Lapwings from Australia. They were originally kept in animal enclosures at the zoo and the first batch escaped some years back when a tree fell onto the Pygmy Hippo enclosure, creating an opening. These birds were then seen at Lower Peirce, MacRitchie, Mandai Orchid Garden, Orchid Country Club, etc. Over the years they have become regular free-ranging species to be seen at the zoo and it’s surroundings, and occasionally elsewhere. They have not bred or established themselves as a feral species. The only true Peninsula Malaysian record of a Yellow-wattled Lapwing was of one bird with golden plovers at the campus of University Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on December 8th, 1979.”

Our thanks to KC Tsang, Jeremy Lee, Richard Hale and R Subaraj for their input. Image by KC.

Can the Masked Lapwing be considered a feral species?

posted in: Exotics | 3

KC Tsang posted an account of his encounter with the Masked Lapwing (Vanellus miles) where there were two adults and a juvenile. These escapees are apparently breeding successfully, as the presence of a juvenile shows.

The question now is, can an escapee that has bred successfully be considered a feral species?

According to our bird specialist R. Subaraj, “Feral species are escapees/introductions that fulfill three basic criteria: 1. the species has been around for at least a decade; 2. presence of a stable, self sustaining population; and 3. at least one breeding record in the “wild” around Singapore.

“While it is noted that the an immature Masked Lapwing was seen with two adults, there is no proof that the actual breeding took place in the ‘wild’ as it is old enough to be free-flying. Breeding by free-ranging species within the grounds of the zoo, night safari or bird park does not count. Besides there is ample food provided at those areas that makes the species less self-sustaining.

“I know that this all sounds terribly confusing but this is the basic international rules for acceptance of a feral species onto a country’s national bird checklist. There are obviously grey areas but we try to fulfill the above three criteria before adding anything introduced onto the checklist.

“So as such, the Masked Lapwing will remain a mere escapee until otherwise proven, just like many other free-ranging species from our captive collections – Painted (Mycteria leucocephala) and Milky Storks (M. cinerea), Marabou Stork (Leptoptilus crumeniferus) (above), Brown Pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis) (below), etc.

“An interesting case is the Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis). In Singapore and most of the Malay Peninsula, this species is a common migrant occurring from September to April. However, over the western half of Singapore, we find Cattle Egrets throughout the year with many birds in breeding plumage even in December. They all fly out of the bird park each morning and return each evening. With thousands now present, the trees at the bird park become packed with egrets each evening and they intend to cull them. There isn’t a single breeding record outside the bird park! This despite the large range of the originally released (despite bird park denying this) population. At the eastern side of Singapore, where I stay, we still see the first migrant arrive in September and the last leave in April, except when a few summer like at the airport this year. With no breeding records outside the bird park and possibly the zoo, this species remains a common migrant (CM) only.

“We need all records, no matter whether it involves escapees or naturally occurring species. Based on data collected over time, we can then gauge the actual status of many birds. For now, we can only follow the accepted rules and go with what we have, without making rash judgement regarding status.”

Thanks to Subaraj for the above and KC Tsang (Masked Lapwing) and YC (Marabou Stork, Brown Pelican) and for images

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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