Little Heron, hooked

In early January, Daniel Koh came across a dead Little Heron (Butorides striatus) dangling at the end of a fishing line that got entangled on a branch of a casuarina (Casuarina equisetifolia) tree in Punggol Park.

The dead Little Heron apparently swallowed a fish still attached to a hook at the end of a fishing line. An angler must have carelessly disposed his line with a bait fish still attached to the hook and the bird must have swallowed the fish and subsequently the line got entangled onto the branch. Stuck to the hook and dangling on the line, the poor bird slowly died from starvation.

The pond in the park is a designated fishing area and anglers are always there. This is an example of what can happen if fishing lines are indiscriminately disposed of.

Daniel Koh
Singapore
February 2008
(Image by Daniel Koh and Chan Yoke Meng)

The Brown Boobook

posted in: Owls | 3

bboobook_4-kctsang.jpg

“The Brown Boobook aka Brown Hawk Owl, aka Oriental Boobook in Australia, the scientific name being Ninox scutulata, seems to have established itself very well around most parts of the old world from India, Sri Lanka, most of Indonesia and South China. With reference to Singapore, it is considered to be a common resident breeder, and also winter visitors (left). So what it means then is that our resident population could be rejuvenated by new blood coming in from maybe as far as Pacific Russia, Japan, Korea. However please do bear with me as I have not been able to check their passports personally.

“When it comes to the Oriental Boobook in Australia, in the Slater Field Guide to Australian Birds, 1992, they have recorded it only once on the north-west coast, no dates available, a rare vagrant from Indonesia. It is still in their checklist of 2003. So if there are any new updates from Australia by our Australian readers, please do let us know about it.

“However the latest most amazing find of this bird was in Alaska, St Paul Island, on 27th August 2007 by Jake Mohimann, so far this is the only record. No one knows how this bird got to be there. More details on how this was found are available HERE.

“With respect to our Singapore Brown Boobooks, they can be found in the Central Catchment areas, Rifle Range track, Sime Road forest, Mouse Deer Trail and Nee Soon swamps.

“Owls are enigmatic birds, very difficult to find and see, their camouflage is really extraordinary. There was one perched on a branch about 15 feet away, eye level almost, he was calling “hoo uk, hoo uk“, and still, Amy and me had a hard time locating him. But thankfully, we got him on camera.

“Our observations on the bird’s method of vocalization: I believe the bird would first take in a deep breath, then puff up his neck, then stretch neck up. So every time it makes a call, the head would bop up and down, as caught on camera. Sometimes the bird would also bend it’s neck, head backwards.

“For silent flight, owls will have very fine hairs/feathers on the leading edge of their wings. Besides that, I believe they also have very fine hairs/feathers from the edges of their tail feathers, evidence of which can be seen in the photos of this hallow effect of the tail caused by the back lighting of the bird.”

KC Tsang
Singapore
February 2008

Bird watching in Bali 3. Bali Barat National Park and Nusa Dua pond

posted in: Travel-Personality | 0

This is the last of three posts on Bird Watching in Bali by Connie SY Khoo and Lim Phaik Imm. The first was on the White Herons of Pertulu and the second on Ubud and Bedugal Botanic Gardens. They were in Bali from 8-14th November 2007. The postings of their various destinations are not in sequence.

They were in Bali Barat National Park or Taman Nasional Bali Barat on 11th November 2007 . The park covers 777 km sq of the western tip of Bali. It comprises of montane to dry monsoon forests, coastal scrub and some mangroves. It is an ideal site to watch migrating raptors moving from the Java Straits (MacKinnon & Phillipps, 1993). As Connie and Phiak Imm continue…

bali-barat-natn-pk.jpgdsc03243-bbbp1.jpg

“We stayed at Taman Sari Chalet and woke up at 4.30 am to reach the jetty at Pelabuhan Layang for the 45 minutes boat ride to the park. The ride to Menjangan Island was rewarding, with terns, whimbrel, white-rumped swift, blue-tailed bee-eater and one miserable frigatebird, all in flight. However, the island itself was unbearable hot. There was also the constant danger of bush fire as the vegetation was dried. The few trees that were around were bare of leaves and thus offered little shade (above).

“The attraction of the park is the celebrated one true endemic, the Bali Starling (Leucopsar rothschildi), found only in this park. According to Mason (1989), as at October 1988, less than 50 Bali Starling remain in the wild, although there are a total of 1,000 captive birds around the world. There is a rehabilitation scheme undertaken by the International Council for Bird Preservation and the Indonesian Nature Conservation Service. Unfortunately, we were not able to see any starlings.

080208

“On the return journey, we detoured to the Menjangan mangrove area to see its main attraction, the five kingfishers: Rufous-backed, Little, Rufous-Collared, Ruddy and Sacred Kingfisher. Luck was not with us and only Rufous-backed and Giant Squirrel were sighted. The mangrove area has no proper landing platform. We had to carry our shoes and equipments from the boat to the mangrove, 100 metres away (above). At another mangrove area we saw the Sacred Kingfisher, our star bird for the trip. It is quite similar to a dirty version of the Collared Kingfisher.

11128.jpg

“Our last lap of bird watching was at Menjangan Mangrove Gazebo where our “wow” experience came in (left). Only stayed-in guests and park rangers were allowed to enter the resort. To enter this high-end resort, one had to trespass the jungle dusty track. A lot of beautiful and colourful Green Junglefowl and wild deer (Kijang) were found on both sides of the track searching for food before dawn. They were all exposed as the plants were leafless, this being the dry season. According to the ranger, these beautiful junglefowls will not be easily seen when the plants start growing leaves in February. Interestingly, we saw two females fighting for one male. Both the fowl and deer were very sensitive to slight movements. The only setback was that we were unable to get a snap shot of them.

“On 13th November we headed south towards Tanjung Benoa, Nusa Dua Pond (Pemukiman Burung Lagoon) in south Bali. We were hoping to see the Small Blue Kingfisher and Cormorant. The journey took 1 hour 30 minutes from Ubud.

“Nusa Dua is another famous scuba diving area filled with 5-star hotels like Le Meridien. Nusa Dua is where marble and sandstone sculptures, artificial water fountain and Balinese landscaping slabs and standee can be found. Quality teak wood and other hard wood furniture are mainly found here.

dsc04866-immature-copy.jpg
dsc04704-male-1.jpgdsc03017-female-1.jpg

“Birds seen include Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea) (above, top left), Javan Pond Heron (above: top right, non-breeding; below left, male; below right, female), Little Cormorant (Phalacrocorax niger), Little Black Cormorant (P. sulcirostris), Little Pied Cormorant (Phalacrocorax melanoleucus) (below left), Small Blue Kingfisher (Alcedo coerulescens) (below right).

“We left Ubud for the airport on 14th November to fly home to Malaysia. Both of us still missed this unique land very much. We are thinking of coming back to cover places that we did not visit, irregardless of bird watching or to explore further into their culture and the friendly people.

a.jpgb.jpg

Total costs for two, including guide fees, park entrance fees and ground transport = RM 3,732 plus flight from Malaysia, airport tax and food = RM 1,440. Or total expenses per person for the 7D6N trip = RM 2,586.

A tip from the travelers: Bring bottled drinking water. Insect repellent and instant noodles for long, lonely nights away from civilization. US currency of high denominations get better exchange rates.

Connie SY Khoo and Lim Phaik Imm
Malaysia
February 2008

References:
1. Mason, V. & Jarvis, F. (1989). Birds Of Bali, Periplus Edition (HK) Ltd.
2. MacKinnon, J. & Phillipps, K. (1993). A Field Guide To The Birds Of Borneo, Sumatra, Java and Bali, Oxford University Press, New York

Oriental Pied Hornbills partying at Pulau Ubin

posted in: Feeding strategy, Hornbills, Roosting | 7

Angie Ng was at the offshore island of Pulau Ubin on the evening (1815 hours) of 22nd January 2008 when she saw an unusual spectacle.

1157.jpg

“The Oriental Pied Hornbills (Anthracoceros albirostris) had gathered below the jetty beside the police post at 
Ubin last evening (left). 

Managed to capture (of the total 15) only 10 on the rocks and 3 on the 
railing.
 Sorry, pics of poor quality; am sending my other camera for repair!

 Cheers for a wonderful day!”

These hornbills usually congregate high up on trees, moving to the ground to catch prey or collect lumps of mud during the nesting season. For them to gather on the beach in such number – can it be that there is food on the beach and the birds are scavenging there?

In Pangkor Island, Malaysia, these hornbills are doing just that – residents feed them with leftover food to attract them as a tourist attraction.

However, our bird specialist R Subaraj has this to say: “Possible but unlikely as the cleaners regularly remove all rubbish from there. Unless they were finding food brought in by the tide. Why so late then (low tide?)… just before roosting. They do probably gather and roost communally as I have seen a flock of 19 birds in a single flock at dawn… also at the police post. They possibly roost somewhere near there.”

When queried further, Angie has this to add; “We were on the jetty waiting to return to Changi when we saw the wave of hornbills descending on the rocks. They didn’t show signs of foraging; after a minute or so they flew off to the coconut (Cocos nucifera) and Sea Almond (Terminalia catappa) trees; then they came back to the rocks and a few to the railing. A few guides went closer to observe them and took a count, but the hornbills just moved about, flew to the trees and congregated on the beach again. We left the jetty a while later.”

Well, this may be a pre-roosting spot…

Angie Ng & R Subaraj
Singapore
February 2008

Flamebacks duo

posted in: Morphology-Develop., Species | 2

Four species of ‘Flamebacks’ are identified in SEA field guides to birds but only two resident species, Greater Flameback (Chrysocolaptes lucidus) and Common Flameback (Dinopium javanense) are found quite frequently in Malaysia’s open deciduous woodlands, secondary forests and mangrove areas.

1115.jpg11.jpg

Two pairs of male and female species are shown as follows (above and below: 1-4).

aaa3.jpg22210.jpg

From nowhere, these two species of cavity nesters never fail to send birders’ heads turn by their dramatic entrances. Their loud, quick and metallic trilling calls, “tit-tit-tit tit-tit-tit…” that just simply could not be ignored.

Vocalising calls have been observed to be variant, louder in the Greater but slower than Common Flamebacks.

Abseiling in undulating flights, both insectivorous species display bark gleaning and wood pecking behaviours whilst clinging on to wood trunks, with their polydactilous toes that end in horned claws. In vertical positions, their black, stiff tail feathers act as brace over tree trunks while their chiselled bills banging at living and dead wood like the sound of distant drums, “tok tok tok tok tok”.

11137.jpg

Plumage wise, the male of both species look similar at a quick glance. They wear a feathery black and white scaly under carriage, a feathery red skull cap and adorn golden coloured capes revealing their red backs. They truly look like their backs are in flames. Such befitting description of these two species, have given Flamebacks their rightful names instead of, ‘Goldenbacks’ as previously known.

The same question is often asked by novice birders in the field: “Which one is that-the Common or the Greater?”

Let’s take an armchair walk into the field, inviting readers to refresh or make better acquaintance with these fascinating and alluring Fu Manchus – their ubiquitous behaviours turning many nature lovers into an addictive hobby of bird watching.

With a decent pair of binoculars 8-10×42 (8-10 means magnification distance and 42mm is the diameter of the binocular lens) and standing about 50 feet away, three prominent indicators should view and will help identify the different species at which ever position a birder is looking at the bird.

The first pointer is directed at looking at a species whose rear is facing you. One can appreciate that the nape or the back of the neck is feathered white in the Greater Flameback (above: 5).

11138.jpg

As compared to the Common Flameback, the bird’s nape is feathered black. The male bird looks like he is wearing a red skull cap, spotting a Manchurian black braided pig tail and cloaks in royal robe! (right: 6).

Second pointer goes to viewing the side face of the bird or viewing the bird from a side view or profile, will show that both species spot a black Fu Manchu’s moustache. This sub- moustachial stripe is situated below the black eye band and is curved downwards.

The Greater Flameback has a black sub-moustachial stripe that splits into two, forming a loop like an island and meeting up at the side of the neck. Whereas, the sub-moustachial stripe of the Common Flameback spots only one smart, black Fu Manchu stripe (below: 7-8).

image-7-greater-flameback-side-view-male.jpgimage-8-common-flameback-side-view-male.jpg

The third pointer is directed at the toes of these arboreal birds. There are four toes seen on the Greater (below left: 9). That makes him my 4-toed woody pecker pal.

“How many toes can readers see on the foot of the Common Flameback Dinopium javanense?” (below right: 10).

image-9-greater-flameback-4toed.jpgimage-10-common-flameback-3toed.jpg

“See the difference?”

There are more subtle differences between the two species which even high grade binoculars alone will find inadequate to seek out more details of birds. Seldom too will birds perch long and close enough for such intimate observations.

This is where a spotting scope with magnification x30 comes in handy to view forest birds. Mounting the scope on to a digital camera on a steady tripod will further enhance much rewarding results in appreciating the finer aspects of bird identification and accuracy.

The beauty is, digiscopers need not be near to birds to see and be seen nor need they be unduly stressed out by humans associated to be bird predators.

Let’s look again at the two female species of the Greater and Common Flamebacks- Image 3 & 4 to enjoy the difference. They do not wear any feathered red skulled caps. Instead, in both species their heads are black and white.

A closer look in digital photography shows one has white spots and the three toed Common Flameback has white streaks!’ This is not easily seen with the naked eye even with a pair of binoculars at distance.

While we are looking at the heads, it might interest readers to note that the beak’s length is equidistant to the head of the Greater while the beak of the Common is shorter. (Please compare Image 7 & 8).

Some field guides describe the colour of eyes to be, ‘pale’ or ‘yellow colour’ in the Greater and ‘dark brown’ or ‘chestnut’ in the Common. The eyes of the male Greater Flameback Chrysocolaptes lucidus in this Image 7, shows this species appearing to have golf balls with black dot stud in his eye sockets!

Sophisticated digital cameras equipments and latest technique in bird-digiscopy, an accidental discovery made only in the late 90’s have revolutionised the way birds are being observed and documented in the 21st. century.

It is indeed an exciting time to be viewing birds be it behind one’s own back yard or take on the iron bird and go off shore- to roads less travelled.

I hope you have enjoyed refreshing yourselves in reading the joys and excitement of bird watching- in the hope too of meeting up with one of these members of the Picidae family, sending readers’ hearts a quickening.

By Avian Writer Daisy O’Neill, Penang, Malaysia
© FLAMEBACKS DUO 2008

Himalayan Griffon fly-past

posted in: Migration-Migrants, Raptors | 4

11140.jpg

Three Himalayan Griffons (Gyps himalayensis) were sighted by Lee Tiah Khee flying over the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve on 23rd January 2008. Tiah Khee managed to capture two of the three in the above image.

On the morning of 26th January, James Heng similarly made contact with these birds: “The bird flew overhead at 10.10am when I was at the northern part of the island that faces Johor. Where I was, there were also a pair of Black-winged Kites (Elanus caeruleus) and a White-bellied Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster).

“That solitary Himalyan Griffon flew higher than the usual White-bellied Sea Eagles. As it was against a clear blue sky, the fold of feathers around its head (when its neck is retracted) was clearly seen. Even the small baldy head and large curved beak was very
visible.

“It flew inland from the Johor side for about 300-400m, took a left turn and then flew back out to the Straits of Johor again. You’d probably have a higher chance to see it flying along the Straits of Johor.

“In fact, I had probably seen the same bird gliding near the same location the previous day at about 2pm. It was seen from the beach in front of Bottle Tree Village at Sembawang Park. That raptor was soaring above the Straits of Johor towards Johor’s side.

555.jpg

“At that time, I thought that it was strange that the colors on that “adult WB Sea Eagle’s” tail were the wrong way round, i.e. white above black. I excluded the WBSE’s juvenile plumage as the lower primaries were lacking the pale patches and the breast and its lower coverts were grayish-white. Though I was very puzzled, the bird was too far away for my binoculars to get any further details. In hindsight, it may very well have been that same bird.

“In fact, as a scavenger, it makes more sense for the Griffon to feed at Johor’s side as there are far more mangroves, kelongs and kampungs. Singapore’s side is far too urbanised for them to find any carrion.”
.
.
.
.
James Heng
Singapore
February 2008
(Image of Himalayan Griffons flying by Lee Tiah Khee, that of the bird crouching by Wang Luan Keng was taken in January 2006 at Changi)

Three raptors in one morning

posted in: Feeding-vertebrates, Raptors | 1

111411.jpg

Experienced birder-cum-bird photographer KC Tsang was at a local park when he witnessed an eagle flying off with a helpless prey clutched in its talons. This in itself would be an exciting experience for any birder. But this was not all. He documented another raptor circling round and a third flying off, also with a prey tightly clutched in its talons. Three raptors in a single morning! What a morning! His account, illustrated with images, allows readers to vicariously share his exciting encounters on the morning of 31st January 2008:

11143.jpg

“This morning I was at the look-out point at Telok 
Blangah Hill Park (top), looking for swiftlets to
 photograph. From the corner of my eye I sighted a
 raptor swooping down onto the crown of a tree. Unfortunately, I was not in position to record the snatching of the prey by this raptor.

“A minute or 
so later, the raptor rose from the tree carrying 
the prey, a squirrel, in it’s talons (above).
The raptor was a Changeable Hawk Eagle (Spizaetus cirrhatus), adult dark
 morph, while the prey was a Plantain Squirrel (Callosciurus notatus singapurensis) (below left).

1112.jpg2222.jpg

“Besides the Changeable Hawk Eagle in action, there was a Black Baza (Aviceda leuphotes) in
flight (above right). The poor bird, having circled the hill two times and spotted nothing,
 decided to fly elsewhere for its meal.



aaa.jpg

1111.jpg

“Then some time later, a Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus) came up from
 below with a prey in its clutches (above). If you are to 
examine the dangling foot, it looks like that of a
 White Breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus) (left), and not the foot of the
 Kite.

“So much excitement for a morning of birding at Telok Blangah Hill Park.”

The Changeable Hawk Eagle is an uncommon resident, the Brahminy Kite a common resident and the Black Baza a common winter visitor and passage migrant.

KC Tsang
Singapore
February 2008
[Images by KC Tsang (raptors), YC (park, waterhen), Johnny Wee (squirrel)]

Extinct birds of Singapore: Trogons

posted in: Species | 0

Trogons (Family Trogonidae) are a small group of rainforest birds. They are shy and difficult to see, unless you are familiar with their calls. They remain in the interior of the forest, sitting quietly on a horizontal branch, waiting patiently for prey. Once spotted, the bird seizes the prey in a matter of seconds to return to the perch to eat it quietly. Movements by these birds are thus minimal.

1114.jpg2223.jpg

The bird moves to the ground only to catch prey. On the ground, it has difficulties walking, as the legs are short, the tarsus (that section of the foot between the heel and the toes) being shorter than the longest toe. However, the toes are specially adapted for gripping branches, like parrots, cuckoos and woodpeckers, as trogons spend most of their time on the branch.

Asian trogons eat a mixture of animals and fruits.

Once upon a time, Singapore was home to two species of trogons: Red-naped Trogon (Harpactes kasumba) (top left) and Diard’s Trogon (H. diardii) (top right). Like most trogons, their plumage is stunningly colourful – a combination of red, black, white and blue. Now, local birders need to travel north to Peninsular Malaysia to catch a view of these spectacular birds.

11148.jpg

Morten Strange & YC Wee
Singapore
February 2008

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

Himalayan Swiftlet: 1. Sighting

posted in: Swifts-Swallows | 11

On 7th January 2008 at 1047 hours, KC Tsang was witness to a number of Himalayan Swiftlets (Aerodramus brevirostris) among a flock of swifts and Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica) hunting for insects stirred up by grass cutting activity at the grounds of Turf Club City. The number of birds hovering around was about 50.

The occurrence of Himalayan Swiftlet in Singapore has been mired in controversy since the 1990s when R. Subaraj, among others, first reported it as an uncommon passage migrant (Wang & Hails 2007). Unfortunately these observations were not authenticated with notes and thus not included in the latest Annotated Checklist of the Birds of Singapore.

3333.jpg

Now, KC has provided hard evidence in the form of an image. He posted his image in BirdForum.Net and got a response from Sean in Hiroshima, Japan, who noted:

“…think there are four possible swiftlet species in Singapore. …Two are resident – Black-nest and Germain’s while two are migrants – Glossy and Himalayan.

“I have only seen three of the species, Black-nest, Germain’s and Himalayan, but Himalayan seems right to me for the following reasons.

“Glossy can be ruled out, as it is very small, has dark throat that contrasts with white belly and a slightly forked tail. Black-nest is darker underneath and has no notch in the tail. It also has a pale rump band, though this cannot be seen in the picture. Germain’s is possible as it is light underneath on throat and belly, but as it only has a shallow forked tail this seems unlikely. This species has a very obvious wide white rump, though again this is not viewable in the picture.

“So Himalayan with its relatively pale underparts and deeper notched tail seems most likely, They do have a paler area on the rump in some races, but never as white or obvious as Germain’s or even Black-nest.”

Most of the experienced younger birders are confident that it is Himalayan but the older ones are rather hesistant to give their outright support.

Except Subaraj, who is naturally jubilant, that he has been right all along: “Nice shot! Pity that you did not manage a shot of the upperparts as well but based on the curved, pointy wings and prominent tail notch, I would agree that this is a Himalayan Swiftlet.

“I cannot be certain of which race you have photographed though as there is no view of the upperparts and the colouration of a photo is not always the exact colour of the actual bird.

“Based on my observations over the years, the Himalayan Swiftlet is one of our commonest migrants. Most pass through on passage but birds can be seen throughout the wintering months. They can be seen anywhere in Singapore and Johor. Birds on passage can regularly be observed at various sites including MacRitchie, Changi Reclaimation, Serangoon, Tanjong Piai, Bintan or even on a boat between Singapore and the Riau Islands. At the Gap, at Frasers, hundreds can be observed moving through with Fork-tailed Swifts during passage.

“I have identified two races here; the nominate race brevirostris, which is very common on passage and in smaller numbers during the mid-winter period and the race rogersi (sometimes treated as a separate species called the Indochinese Swiftlet), which is mainly a passage migrant in small numbers.

“The nominate race appears slightly larger, is darker above with a narrow wide rump band, and a longer trail and wings. C.b.rogersi is slightly shorter winged and tailed, has a brownish wash to the upper plumage and the broader rump is buff. Both are prominently notched, in the tail.

“Most birders here live with an old-fashioned mind-set and still refuse to accept that this species can be readily identified in the field. That is why you will not find it on the NSS BG’s checklist. It has been on my personal bird checklist for nearly a decade now. Elsewhere in the world, birders have no problem identifying this species in the field. They work hard with better optics and field id guides, to resolve the field characteristics of similar species. I spent years doing the same here but the so called “powers to be” scoffed at anything that they themselves have not bothered learning to identify!

“I will continue operating outside the box and am glad that you have chosen to do so too.”

KC Tsang & R Subaraj
Singapore
February 2008
(image by KC Tsang)

Olive-backed Sunbird: Collecting nesting materials

posted in: Nesting, Sunbirds | 0

Fronting my house is a Golden Penda (Xanthostemon chrysanthus) tree that was replaced many months ago and the newly planted tree is supported by posts. The posts are being secured to the tree trunk with red nylon ropes. In an effort to ensure that the bark is not damaged, a piece of synthetic fabric was wrapped round the trunk.

The piece of fabric has since worn away by sun and rain, such that the fabric is fraying and the white fibres sticking out all over.

sunbirdob-nest-material-action.jpg

Of late, a female Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis) has been seen around the tree fluttering about collecting the fibres, obviously for nesting materials (above). The moment it has a few fibres, it flies away, to return a few minutes later. It has been at the job for weeks now but I cannot say for certain whether it is the same bird or different birds.

The bird would fly to the tree, perch on the rope and vigorously peck at the fibres to dislodge them from the piece of fabric. It then flew off to add the few pieces of fibres to line its unfinished nest. Sometimes it would flutter around the piece of worn out fabric to collect a beak-full of choice fibres.

This is the beginning of the breeding season and time to start a family and the female sunbird is hard at work collecting nesting materials and constructing her nest, probably somewhere nearby.

YC Wee
Singapore
February 2008

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.