Little Heron chick: 9. Feather maintenance

aaa25.jpg

The efficient functioning of feathers is crucial to birds. How else can they effectively fly from predators, catch preys, keep warm, etc. To maintain feathers in tip top conditions, birds regularly preen them and keep them waterproof. Regular bathing in water or dust helps remove dirt accumulated on the surface of the feathers. Some birds sunbathe while others make use of ants to help remove ectoparasites, commonly known as anting.

In nesting chicks, the parent birds regularly preen them. This may continue even after fledging. But how does a rescued Little Heron (Butorides striatus) chick maintain its feathers? It doesn’t. Not until very much later. Once the juvenal feathers were fully formed, only then did the chick began to preen. With a long and flexible neck, the bill managed to reach almost every parts of the body, everywhere except the head. Here, the toes came into play (above).

aaa5.jpg111312.jpg

The middle and longest toe of herons has a comb-like structure at the side of the claw. This pectinate claw is a preening tool. Such a claw is also seen in Barn Owl (Tyto alba), nightjars and bitterns. The comb-like edge develops in the chick only when the feathers are fully formed. The middle toe of the left leg (above left, arrowed) shows the pectinate toe in close-up on the inner surface (above middle). The image on the above right shows the structure on the toe of the right leg.

Herons also have powder-downs, a special type of feathers found around the breast area, rump and sometimes on the back and thighs. In the case of the chick, only two patches around the breast area were present (left). These downs grow continuously and disintegrate to form powder, used in preening, expecially when there is grease on the feathers. The bird is said to pick up the down in its bill, passes it to the serrated claw of the middle toe to apply it to the feathers being preened.

YC Wee & Wang Luan Keng
Singapore
December 2007

Reference:
Martinez-Vilalta, A. & Motis, A. (1992). [Family Ardeidae (Herons)]. Pp. 376-429 in del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. & Sargatal, J. eds. Handbook of the birds of the world. Vol. 1. Ostrich to ducks. Barcelona: Lynx Editions.

A Passion for Birds

posted in: Travel-Personality | 8

1112.jpg

Ong Kiem Sian is a birder-photographer extraordinary (above). For the past 17 or so years, while most birders were only interested in seeing and listing birds, she was seriously studying them. And while most bird photographers (and there were not many then) were taking portrait shots of birds, she was documenting their nesting habits.

Her infinite patience in the forest is legend to those who know her. She can sit quietly for hours, waiting for the birds to return to the nest, to get her perfect shot. And this was at a time well before the advent of digital phpotography, when she could not afford the luxury of taking hundreds of shots at one sitting. Nor could she manage ten or more shots per second at the press of the shutter button.

Through the years she has accumulated a substantial collection of photographs and video clips of numerous species of nesting birds. I suppose, being an excellent photographer, she had the ability to permanently document the drama that unfolded before her eyes. This is an advantage that photographers and videographers have over the typical birders who look at birds through a pair of binoculars.

Sian has been photographing birds more than a decade before the current craze of bird photography, made popular by the availability of digital cameras. Unlike most photographers who either bury their images in hard disks to sometimes share with a few close friends, or post in web-based forums, Sian has been publishing her observations in Nature Watch, magazine of the Nature Society (Singapore). By doing so, she did make an effort to share her observations with other birders and nature lovers.

111.jpg

With editorial assistance from Morten Strange, a well-known bird photographer and author, Sian has now compiled her years of meticulous documentation into a book, A Passion for Birds (left). For a price of S$48.15 including GST, anyone can have a glimpse of Sian’s passion for birds – and at the same time benefit from the information she accumulated.

This book, published by Draco Publishing & Distribution Pte. Ltd., showcases 262 species of birds from 50 families, and comes with a bonus 36 minutes DVD. It is available at the Botanic Gardens Shop from 15th Dec.

YC Wee
Singapore
December 2007
(Top image courtesy of Ong Kiem Sian, bottom image by Morten Strange)

Common Kingfisher diving for fish

We associate kingfishers with fish, although these birds feed on a wide range of foods.

222.jpg

In fishing, the bird sits on a perch overlooking an open expanse of water and patiently waits for a suitable fish to appear. The bird then dives directly into the water, plunging in to catch the fish. Sometimes it hovers over the water before plunge-diving into it.

The fish is caught in its bill, sometimes the upper mandible pierces into it. The fish is then brought back to the perch to be eaten. If the fish is large, it needs to be subdued by bashing its head on the branch before it is swallowed head first.

Lee Tiah Khee shares with us his spectacular images of the Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) making a direct dive into the water (above), plunging in to catch the fish to immediately emerge from the water with the fish in its bill (below). Note that the fish is clamped sideways in the bill.

1118.jpg

The bird then flies upwards (below left) to return to its perch (below right) where it carefully manipulates its catch so that the head is directed towards its oral cavity for swallowing.

A spectacular display indeed.

aaa13.jpg

Lee Tiah Khee
Singapore
December 2007

Little Heron chick: 8. Feather development

The Little Heron (Butorides striatus) chick rescued from the Bukit Timah campus and kept in captivity for about a month, allowed for me to observe feather development.

11111.jpg

The literature says that at hatching the chick is naked and blind. So the image of the rescued chick (left), taken on 3rd November, was at least a week old, if not more. It was covered with feathers. On closer examination, the soft down feathers known as natal downs, that develop at the time of hatching, were still present. These covered the entire body but very obvious around the head and neck (left, arrowed).

These downy feathers provide the chick with an insulating cover during the period when it cannot fly.

The natal downs are replaced by the juvenal plumage, the first true contour feathers. These true feathers are initially covered with a thin feather sheath, looking like the tip of a knitting needle. At this stage they are known as pin feathers. As the pin feathers grow, they push out the natal downs, to expose the feather vanes.

img_3135.jpg

The image above was taken on 6th November. Note the abundance of natal downs on the head and pin feathers on the side. Some of the natal downs are seen at the tips of the pins. The image below, taken on 16th November, shows the absence of pins, the juvenal feathers having fully emerged from their sheaths. However, there are still some traces of natal downs on the head.

In the image below taken on 8th November, the wing feathers are breaking out of their sheaths and slightly more than the upper halves of the feather vanes have unfurled. The natal downs, earlier seen at their tips, are generally absent.

11112.jpg

By 20th November, most of the wing feathers have fully emerged from their sheaths (below left). This means that the bird should be able to fly soon. However, not all feathers, other than the flight feathers, have been fully formed. Traces of natal downs are still visible and delicate white flakes of feather sheaths are still being shed (below right).

aaa22.jpg

YC Wee
Singapore
December 2007
(Images by YC Wee except close-up image of developing wing feathers by Lin Yangchen and developed wing feathers by Chan Yoke Meng)

Reference:
Martinez-Vilalta, A. & Motis, A. (1992). [Family Ardeidae (Herons)]. Pp. 376-429 in del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. & Sargatal, J. eds. Handbook of the birds of the world. Vol. 1. Ostrich to ducks. Barcelona: Lynx Editions.

Nesting of Little Heron

posted in: Heron-Egret-Bittern, Nesting | 0

Mark Chua came across the nest of the Little Heron (Butorides striatus) in July 2006, built about 10 metres up in a tree. There were actually three nests around, of which only one had two chicks in it. An adult bird was perching nearby, keeping an eye on the nest and chasing away birds that came too close. In due course the other adult returned with food to feed the growing chicks.

The Little Heron is a common resident that is found around muddy coasts, mangroves, swamps, in fact anywhere there is water. It breeds more or less throughout the year. The nest is a simple platform of loose twigs, lodged between branches of a tree around its watery habitat. A full clutch consists of three greenish blue eggs and usually all the chicks fledge. Both parents help in incubation and looking after the chicks.

aaa15.jpg

According to an account by Ria Tan, the chicks remain in the nest until they fledge. Only when disturbed will they scramble out and cling to branches. The rescued chick described earlier could had been dislodged from the nest because of disturbance.

In the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, nests are often seen in buta-buta trees (Exocaecaria agallocha) around mangroves, at a height of about 5 metres. In a 2000 article published in Wetlands, RK Ramakrishnan reported seeing two chicks in the nest covered with yellow downs. They started “moving around the tree in their newly attained plumage of dull brown upperparts, streakier and less mottled lower parts” two weeks later.

Mark Chua
Singapore
December 2007

Reference:
Ramakrishnan, R.K. (2000). Nesting Little Herons of Sungei Buloh. Wetlands 7(2):

Asian Koel swallowing palm fruit

posted in: Feeding-plants | 1

An earlier post reported the Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopacea) swallowing the fruits of the Alexandra Palm (Archontophoenix alexandrae), to subsequently regurgitate the seeds.

Now, Kevin Lam of Nature Spies has managed to document the stages of the bird swallowing the palm fruit (left).

“By a stroke of luck I managed to capture this series of a female Asian Koel swallowing a large Alexandra Palm fruit! Actually, I could have been luckier and gotten group shots. I was drawn to the loud calls of the birds (yes pural) as there were two males vying for her attention. Strangely it was her that was doing all the calling. It was quite a cacophony of resounding bird calls. At first I had assumed it’s the males vying for attention from a potential mate. However, it seems like the female was more interested in food.

“The whole thing was so fascinating for me. Ha but apparently there are others who are quite angry with the calls of the koel in their estate and wish them gone. I would think Koels are the least of our noise pollution. Buses have deafening beeps promptly declare to the entire bus that you have paid your fare. I really can’t fathom why.”

After the bird swallows the fruit, it would regurgitate the seed after a short while. Well, Kevin’s next challenge is to photograph a koel regurgitating a palm seed.

Kevin Lam
Singapore
December 2007

Little Heron chick: 7. Teaching it to “hunt”

The Little Heron (Butorides striatus) has grown after 17 days of care and feeding. It is now able to feed on live guppies, mollies and goldfishes like an expert, manipulating them so that the head is swallowed first (left).

However, the feeding on live fishes placed inside a dish in the safety of a cage is far from the conditions that it would be exposed to when released.

I was reminded of this by Victor Lee when he wrote: “…try getting a larger body of water, i.e. a bigger dish, maybe one of those large water tubs. Put in tree branches, dried leave litter, etc. Basically create little areas where the fishes can hide. Don’t put in too many fish at a time and if possible, use fast swimming guppies/mollies type and not slow moving goldfishes. This will make it a little more difficult for the bird to hunt for it’s meal and more realistic. Try also a combination of food, tadpoles, small frogs, even earthworms or crickets.”

My limitation is the size of the cage. I can have a crude miniature landscape using a small basin filled with water, definitely not a large water tub.

Dr Gloria Chay added: “Remember to give the heron it’s vitamins still 1-2 times weekly, stuffed into the gut of dead fishes. Vitamin ADE and B complexes are important. Feathers look good, next step would be to allow it to bathe to waterproof itself. Shallow tubs would suffice from now. Make sure it doesn’t stay on wire caged flooring for too long, otherwise Bumblefoot (abscessed feet) will develop, and it’ll need to learn to perch on tree stumps etc. Mice are hard to find, otherwise it’ll make a nice meal during rehab. Unless you can get day-old chicks (killed). Other live meals include crickets and the super-worms to stimulate hunting.”

Well, I added a perch as suggested and the bird took to it after an initial period of suspicion. Previously it perched on the edge of the dish containing the live fish. Now, it is on the perch all the time, reaching down into the dish for its food. It even used the perch to clean its bill.

Unfortunate I don’t have a large enough cage to simulate outside conditions. My cage can only take in a small basin where the live food can be places together with water weeds and floating leaves.

I tried earthworms placed in the water (below). The bird managed to pick it up but each time the worm slipped out of its bill. I fed it small frogs, newly developed from tadpoles (bottom left). The bird simply loved them, picking them up expertly and swallowing them. The presence of limbs no doubt helped. The frogs were spared when they remained motionless but the moment they moved, they were eaten. It also took to crickets, catching one after the other by their thin legs but often not able to manipulate them for swallowing (bottom right).

bbb.jpg

aaa21.jpg

I am currently feeding it small, fast moving guppies, placed in the water with floating leaves to provide cover for the fish. The bird is now working hard for its food, spending most of the time perching motionless except slowly extending its neck to locate the fish.

The bird sometimes drank by pushing its bill along the water surface. At other times it simply dipped its bill into the water. When fed crickets, it drank more often. When offered a piece of fish left at the bottom of the cage and thus a little dried out, it had difficulty manipulating it with its bill and tongue. What it did was to dip the piece into the water and tried again. This it did a few times until it managed to channel it into its oral cavity.

YC Wee
Singapore
December 2007

Drongo taking insects on the wing

On 13th November 2007, Kevin Lam of Nature Spies alerted me to the excellent images posted by Calvin Chang in ClubSnap. Through the good office of Kevin, I got in contact with Calvin who graciously gave me permission to post his images in Multiply.

gy4t9429.jpg

It was evening at the summit of the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and it had just stopped drizzling when Calvin Chang aka De’Switch was witness to a termite hatch. A hatch is when the reproductive termites emerge from their mounds to fill the air with their presence. The sexes will couple in the air to then land on the ground, shedding their wings and moving on to start a colony of their own.

During this hatch there would be an orgy of feasting by a mix collection of birds and later the ground will be covered with a carpet of discarded wings. No doubt, most of the termites will be food for birds but there would be many survivors to propagate the species.

gy4t9430.jpg

As Calvin reported, there were numerous termites (it could be the tail end of a hatch) in the air and there were three Greater Racket-tailed Drongos (Dicrurus paradisus) partaking in the feast. The lighting was definitely not ideal for photography, not to mention the black birds against a darkening background. And there was an inconsiderate jogger who cared only for his jogging and care not that an exciting natural event was unfolding in front of his eyes. So the jogger simply jogged on despite a request to hold on, chasing the birds away as a result.

Despite all these setbacks, Calvin still managed to get a few excellent shots that I am showcasing here. And this is the first time I have seen images of drongos actually catching insects on the wing.

Input and images by Calvin Chang aka De’Switch; Kevin Lam of Nature Spies alerted BESG on the initial posting of the images.

Greater Racket-tailed Drongo following woodpeckers

Gloria Seow was walking along Rock Path at the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve on the morning of 11th November 2007 when she spotted two Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus paradisus). What attracted Gloria to the drongos was that they were behaving like woodpeckers and nuthatches – clinging onto a vertical trunk of a dipterocarp tree and nibbling at what she thought was greenish white growth on the trunk’s surface (below).

aaa11.jpg

“Both drongos used their tail as an additional prop, similar to what woodpeckers would do, but they had trouble keeping up this unnatural yoga position for long and had to fly off frequently to a nearby branch to perch and rest before resuming their vertical balancing act. These drongos improvised too, clinging on sideways or even upside down at times. Has anybody ever witnessed such a curious act? And pray tell, what are they nibbling at?”

Haniman Boniran responded: “Yes I have witnessed this behavioural patterns in GRT Drongs before. A few times I was along Mandai Lake Road and along the roadside there are many trees that the drongos use as a feeding station. They would perch exactly how you described them and used the tail as additional support. There is a pair of resident along that stretch. I can’t identify the tree but its rather common along Mandai Lake Road. The birds would feed on exposed or rotting tree, boulders and ant/termite nests on the trees. So far I have spotted them feeding in this manner twice. Both times in the evening around 5-630 pm.

“This is also the location where the Changable Hawk Eagle (Spizaetus cirrhatus) snatched the Pink-necked Green Pigeon (Treron vernans) I was releasing sometime back.”

KF Yap thinks that it is the lichens that the drongos were after, either as food or nesting materials.

Susan Wong of Malaysia similarly witnessed such behaviour in the drongo at the Penang Botanical Garden. She recalled seeing a pair clinging on the trunk of an old, big tree, moving up and down very fast. At times they they spread their wings using their tail to support them. “It was a very strange scene to me and until today I have yet to understand what are they trying to do. I do recall noticing their vertical perch with wing spread out on a tree trunk – they did it very clumsily because their toes are not like woodpecker’s.”

11127.jpg

Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (left) often follows foraging woodpeckers, malkoha and arboreal squirrels. The drongo benefits from the invertebrates that the woodpeckers flush out. The drongo in the above account may have been following a woodpecker or it may have been collecting lichens or even bark fragments for nesting materials.

A recent study by a pair of researchers at the Pasoh Forest Reserve in Peninsular Malaysia reported the frequent association among various species of woodpeckers and the Greater Racket-tailed Drongo in the lowland forest. When a woodpecker landed on a tree trunk, the drongo would perch on a nearby horizontal branch just below it. The drongo often sallies forth for a flushed arthropod. When the woodpecker moves to another tree, the drongo followed.

The drongo on the tree trunk reported by Gloria may be going for an insect flushed by a woodpecker. It may also be collecting nesting materials.

Gloria Seow, Haniman Boniran, KF Yap & Susan Wong
Singapore-Malaysia
December 2007
(Images: top by Gloria Chow and below by Chan Yoke Meng)

Reference:
Styring, A. & Ickes, K. (2001). Interactions between the Greater Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus paradiseus and woodpeckers in a lowland Malaysian rainforest. Forktail 17:119-120.

Flocking of Long-tailed Broadbill

posted in: Feeding strategy, Miscellaneous | 1

During the last weekend of November 2007 at Peninsular Malaysia’s Fraser’s Hill, Pamela Lim was witness to an exciting phenomenon involving the flocking of “hundreds” of Long-tailed Broadbills (Psarisomus dalhousiae). The video posted in You Tube by Tee Lian Huat mentions about 60 birds in one tree. When queried, Pamela admitted that “the hundreds were my description in excitement as I saw flock upon flock flying up from the depths to one tree. The number 60 plus is just a conservative estimate. They flew to the next tree, and then flew away. The second wave had about 30. We don’t know if it’s the same flock or not.”

The image above shows a few of the flocking birds taking a rest on the leafless branches of a tree.

Long-tailed Broadbill is a distinctive bird with a yellow face, slender green body and long blue tail. It’s high-pitched call usually announces its presence, but whether you can spot it is another matter. It usually hides among the foliage of trees.

Many broadbills are gregarious and are often seen in small flocks. They even join mixed-species flocks when these bird waves pass through their foraging areas. The Long-tailed has been reported to form noisy foraging parties of about 15 birds during non-breeding periods. In the Indian Subcontinent, as many as 40 birds have been reportedly seen together. This observation of a pure Long-tailed Broadbill bird wave of probably more than a hundred birds in Fraser’s Hill may well be a record.

According to Wells (2007): “During at least a part of the year birds also form monospecific bands whose collective movements through foliage, climbing among creepers, etc., are likely to benefit surface-snatchers by the disturbance created.” However, no number is mentioned.

Pamela Lim
Malaysia
November 2007

References:
1. Bruce, M. D. (2003). Family Eurylaimidae (broadbills). Pp.54-93 in: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. & Christie, D. A. eds. Handbook of the birds of the world. Vol. 8. Broadbills to Tapaculos. Barcelona: Lynx Editions.
2. Morten, S. (2004). Birds of Fraser’s Hill: An illustrated guide and checklist. Singapore: Nature’s Niche.
3. Wells, D.R. (2007). The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsular. Vol. II, Passerines. Christopher Helm, London.

26 Responses

  1. kris

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

  2. Iwan

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

  3. Khng Eu Meng

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

    Is this perching so high up the tree normal or is it unusual? I have posted a photo of it on my Facebook Timeline: 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 to BESG Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.

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