Malaysian Plover: The birds

posted in: Waders | 0

Philip Tang, an avid nature photographer, spent two years stalking the Malaysian Plover (Charadrius peronii), also known as Malaysian/Malayan Sandplover. He has successfully documented the birds’ breeding behaviour and is sharing his images and observations that will be posted here during the next few days.

“The Malaysian Plover is a smallish coastal bird that is found exclusively on sandy beaches and coastal sand-fill in Singapore. Although designated a rare resident locally, it is not globally threatened but near-threatened. The population worldwide has been estimated to be less than 10,000 birds, this number probably declining with the years.

“Plovers are small wading birds that are widely distributed throughout the world. They belong to the Family Charadriidae that comprises three Subfamilies: Charadriinae or plovers (41 spp.), Vanellinae or lapwings (25 spp.) and Pluvianellinae or Magellanic Plover (1 sp.).

“These birds are characterised by their relatively short bill. They feed in pairs on remote sandy beaches, hunting by sight rather than by feel as longer-billed waders like snipe do. They feed on worms, especially polychaetes and other invertebrates like small crustaceans, shrimps, amphipods and isopods. They have a typical run-and-pause technique of hunting, rather than the steady probing of some other wader groups. The birds wait for prey to reveal itself, then run towards it. They then wait quietly for another opportunity. If no more prey is detected, they move on to a new site.

“The plumage of brown, grey, black and white provides excellent camouflage for the birds in the uniform sandy shore they congregate. The sexes lack size dimorphism but show plumage differences. The male is easily recognized from the thin black band round its neck while the female has a rufous brown band.

Input and images (top, male; bottom, female) by Philip Tang.

Red-crowned Barbet : Feeding of nestlings

Barbets are hole nesters. They are capable of excavating cavities for their nests from dead and rotting trees. Thus they do not nest in cavities previously used by other birds. These birds are frugivores, feeding mainly on fruits that include figs, oil fruit (Elaeocarpus), Singapore rhododendron (Melastome malabathricum) and mistletoes. They are also opportunistic feeders, able to shift to feeding insects when the opportunity arises. Their young, especially immediately after hatching from the eggs, need a diet of animal protein, necessary for growth and development. But with development these nestlings are fed mainly with fruits.

In a series of observations made recently by Melinda Chan on a nesting pair of Red-crowned Barbets (Megalaima rafflesii), she found that the parents were kept constantly busy bringing food to feed the hungry nestling. Every few minutes a parent would fly to a nearby branch before flying straight to the nest with a variety of fruits and insects. Invariably the nestling would pop its head out, beak agape, to receive the food. Fruits would be brought in twos and threes in the beak of the parent bird.

Those fruits that were properly identified include the oval and bluish Elaeocarpus and the smaller round and reddish salam (Syzygium polyanthum). Animal food included a praying mantis.

Feeding was frequent, averaging ten per hour. These feeds may be at intervals of a few minutes to as long as ten minutes or more. Fruits were regularly brought, occasional some form of animal food or other.

With such frequent feeding, the nest obviously got dirty fast. Once every few feeds the parent bird would enter the nest to do house cleaning. Sometimes cleaning would only be done after a series of feedings. Conspicuous among the wastes were regurgitated fruits of Elaeocapus with the thin fleshy layer and skin intact, probably indigestible to the nestling. The messy portions of the waste consisted of partially digested fruits as well as excreted matters. Barbets are supposed to remove wastes via faecal sacs but in this case wastes were removed by the beakfuls. With the waste in its beak, the bird flew to a nearby branch, shook its head to release the wastes. These collected on the ground below. After wiping its beak clean against the branch six to eight times, it then flew in the opposite direction to collect more fruits.

Input by Melinda Chan and images by Chan Yoke Meng.

Breeding Distraction: Lapwing and waterhen

posted in: Nesting | 0

“During the breeding season, eggs, chicks and fledlgings are vulnerable to many predators, including man. In many species, parent birds will go to all lengths to protect their brood. The female drongo will pluck off her long racket-like feathers to be less conspicuous when sitting in her nest; cisticolas will land several metres from the nest and run on the ground through thick grass to where the nest is located; many normally mild-mannered species will viciously chase away much larger would-be predators with great gusto.

“Some birds, like certain shorebirds will pretend to have a broken wing to distract the predator from the retreating chick. A couple of years ago, I observed a Red-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus indicus) run towards our vehicle, screaming loudly and feigning a broken wing as her young chick retreated quietly into the long grass adjacent to the dirt track that we were driving along.

“On May 5th this year, I had the pleasure of witnessing two more such displays. First, at Serangoon, as Anthony Mercer, Shamla Subaraj and I were in our car driving slowly down a rough road, we stopped to observe a couple of White-breasted Waterhens (Amaurornis phoenicurus) (above and below) ahead of us. Immediately, one waterhen started running towards the car with wings held outstretched and above its head. While appearing in mock surrender, it also appeared to be charging our vehicle. It moved to the right of our vehicle and the reason for its display became apparent. We had inadvertently stopped right next to her small black chick, which was at the edge of a grass tussock. The adult carried a caterpillar and fed the chick upon reaching it, while shepherding it further into the vegetation. Later, we were to see a total of four small black chicks at the spot.

“Later that day, as the three of us drove around the reclamation area at Changi Central, we came across a strangely bold male Malaysian Plover (Charadrius peronii). This vulnerable resident is a sandy shore specialist and is highly localised in its local distribution. The male stood right in front of our car and seemed quite unafraid, providing excellent views. It literally tried to block us from turning our car into another track! Yet, this is a species that is normally fairly shy and would run quickly away from observers who moved too close. It did not dawn on me that it was trying to distract us, by making us focus on him, until the female materialised on the left of the vehicle. It too appeared quite unafraid and my conclusion was that they must have a nest nearby, though we did not look for it as we did not want to further disturb this threatened resident.

“The breeding season is upon us and lots of species are deeply involved in nesting. It would be most interesting to keep an eye out for other protective parents and their interesting methods of distraction.”

Account by R. Subaraj and images by YC.

Little Terns: Foraging behaviour

posted in: Feeding strategy | 0

Terns are smallish birds with a prominent forked tail and sharply pointed wings. They are noisy and gregarious and prefer areas around water bodies, whether coastal, rivers or reservoirs.

They feed mainly on fish and crustaceans, foraging over water to get their food. The bird may suddenly dives into the water to catch fish or hovers above to suddenly plunge down. Sometimes it may fly close to the water to swoop down whenever it spots a prey. Certain species may sit or swim on the water surface to pick up food items from the water surface of just below. Many species also indulge in piracy to get their food, especially when male birds bring fish to the female during courtship feeding.

Terns have also been known to hawk insects on the wing, especially when there is a termite hatch.

The Little Terns (Sterna albifrons) that Meng and Melinda Chan observed last year around the Neo Tiew Road area were mostly interested in foraging for fish in the Kranji Reservoir. The birds were mostly flying above the water surface, hovering around an area once they spot fish, to suddenly dive down and make a catch (see images below). With the fish firmly in its beak, the tern would fly off to land to complete its meal.

Input and images by Meng and Melinda Chan.

Oriental Pied Hornbills in Pangkor Island, Peninsular Malaysia

posted in: Hornbills | 6

Pangkor Island is a scenic island resort off the west coast of Peninsula Malaysia. And that was where Susan Wong was holidaying recently. What impressed her most was the Oriental Pied Hornbills (Anthracoceros albirostris). There were hornbills everywhere. On rooftops, perching on high-tension wires and along roads. She even saw one bird with a deformed bill. She thought that they were as common as crows that can be seen in many Malaysian towns.

We in urban Singapore consider ourselves fortunate to be able to see a pair of these hornbills flying overhead or even visiting our urban gardens. In Pulau Ubin we can see more, but as common as crows? Unbelievable to most of us! I have therefore managed to persuade her to share her images of these impressive birds from Pangkor Island for this post.

According to Susan: “The birds have been behaving this way for the last ten years.” They have been attracted to certain touristy areas where hotels and restaurants are plentiful. The residents feed them with leftover food as a tourist attraction. Because of this the birds have become so tame that it is almost possible to touch them. In fact Susan says that they look ”…more tame than the birds at bird parks and zoos.” In fact they have become as tame as the Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus). Although there is a patch of lowland rainforest nearby, the hornbills were content to be around people.

Our bird specialist R. Subaraj has this to say: “Based on the timings for flock gatherings at Pangkor, given by Susan, I am of the opinion that while this hornbill is unquestionably common on the island, the larger gatherings are because they roost communally. From dawn onwards, they are together drying and warming up before dispersing to find food while in the evenings they probably start gathering until near dusk, when they go to roost together.”

Input and images by Susan Wong of Malaysia.

Rainbow Lorikeet 3: Ilsa’s correspondence with Marion Massam

posted in: Parrots | 1

Alerted by Jeremy Lee about the CITES listing of the Rainbow Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus), Ilsa Sharp wrote:

“Thanks Jeremy – that’s an interesting point, about the CITES listing, and I will follow it up for more information. This is an example of how not all invasive or pest birds are necessarily alien species – it is possible for nature to get so out of synch that even indigenous birds become pests, or develop population imbalances etc. It is at this point that human beings have to decide, reluctantly, whether or not to ‘manage’ or even ‘cull’ such pest native species.

“The Rainbow Lorikeet is native in northern/eastern Australia (also in Indonesia and New Guinea) but alien in western Australia. However, in both locations, regardless of its native status, it is capable of being a serious pest to fruit orchards and other agribusiness ventures. So whether or not it is on CITES, I guess it could also become a pest, in purely local contexts anyway. Just goes to show how complex the whole alien species thing is. The problem for Singapore’s Botanic Gardens, if they are still there, could well be destruction of fruit and flower displays etc, and also these parrots will almost certainly be aggressive to native birds. Perhaps the CITES listing refers more to the lorikeet’s status in its native Indonesia/New Guinea? As said, I will check.”

And check, Ilsa did. She wrote to Marion Massam, a pest specialist in the Western Australia Department of Agriculture, about pest birds and suchlike, and told her how she had seen (eastern Australian) Rainbow Lorikeets in the Singapore Botanic Gardens etc.

Marion’s advice is that these birds are difficult to eradicate and recommends shooting them as soon as possible. But the problem, according to Ilsa, is they are pretty, “…so any such shooting probably best done out of sight of the public – but is this possible in so public a place as the Gardens, and in so densely populated a place as Singapore?”

Ilsa further wrote: “Yes, Marion, as an occasional birdwatcher over ‘the other side’ for many years (I lived and worked in Singapore from 1968-1998), I have long been an observer of the autumn (northern hemisphere autumn) migratory routes from Siberia down through SE Asia to Australia, and out to New Zealand – the north-coast Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve has always been a good observation post for this phenomenon in Singapore.

“But the ‘hitchhiker’ traffic is two-way – at least a pair of Rainbow Lorikeets are established now at the Singapore Botanic Gardens, and I have seen another small flock elsewhere in Singapore too, just for example, not to mention Sulphur-crested Cockatoos on the southern-coast offshore island of Sentosa in Singapore!”

Marion’s reply: “Thanks Ilsa – we actually get hitchhiker birds directly from Asia on a very regular basis, so raising awareness of this in that part of the world can only be a good thing.”

The two earlier postings on this bird are at 1 and 2.

Thanks are due to Ilsa Sharp, Jeremy Lee and Marion Massam for their contributions. Image of Rainbow Lorikeets at the Eng Neo area by YC.

Oriental Pied Hornbills and Dollarbirds

posted in: Hornbills, Interspecific | 0

Most birders would have given up on the Eng Neo area by May 2006 as the pair of Great (Buceros bicronis) and Rhinoceros Hornbills (B. rhinoceros) has been visiting rather infrequently. But Meng and Melinda Chan were persistent. They returned to the area again on 20th May and were rewarded with an exciting encounter.

The location was not the rotting tree trunk. Part of this trunk had collapsed earlier, possibly trapping the nest of the Dollarbirds (Eurystomus orientalis) as that portion of the trunk was firmly buried in the ground. The Dollarbirds apparently moved to another cavity found in the nearby living albizia tree (Paraserianthes falcataria).

This cavity was a few months ago occupied by a pair of Hill Myn!s (Gracula religiosa). Subsequently Tanimbar Corellas (Cacatua goffini) were seen around the cavity. Now the Dollarbirds had taken over the cavity and nested there.

On that morning when Meng and Melinda were there, three Oriental Pied Hornbills (Anthracoceros albirostris) visited the tree. These hornbills were seldom seen around the albizia trees, preferring the many wayside trees that dot the sprawling apartment blocks nearby. The Dollarbirds were around and put up a spirited defense, bravely attacking and chasing off the larger birds.

As an added bonus,kthey witnessed the return of the Great and Rhinoceros Hornbills to the neighbouring tree. Both birds followed the same old routine, checking on the cavity. But there was no feeding of the Rhinoceros by the Great.

Input and images by Meng and Melinda Chan.

Nesting of the Oriental White-eye

posted in: Nesting | 2

This is the first nesting report of the Oriental White-eye (Zosterops palpebrosus) after 1970 for Singapore. Yen Lau and K.C. Tsang first spotted a pair of the birds checking Yen’s 3 m high potted Australian bottlebrush (Callistemon rigidis) trees in her garden on 18th May 2006. Three days later they noticed a neatly weaved, cup-shaped nest that was 5 cm across. The nest, about 2 m from the ground, was constructed mostly of plant materials using cobwebs to attach it firmly to the branches.

Five days later the parent birds were in the nest most of the time. On 7th June three reddish chicks were seen crowding the nest. The adults took turns bringing food for the ever-hungry chicks every 15 minutes or so. The moment the chicks felt an adult landing on a nearby branch, they would eagerly raise their heads high with gaping beaks and made barely audible sounds. They were ever ready to receive whatever food brought to them. Between feedings, one or the other of the adult bird would sit in the nest to comfort the chicks.

By 11th June the chicks had a sparse cover of black and yellow feathers. Of the three, one was larger and more boisterous than the rest. The nest was over-crowded and the youngest chick apparently fell off the nest three days later and died. Even with the remaining two chicks the nest was too small, but by then the older fledged. The adults were nearby encouraging it. By the same afternoon the second chick also fledged. Although neither Yen nor KC noticed the adults removing any faecal sacs, they must have as the nest was always tidy and the surrounding was free of excrements.

Our consultant ornithologist, Wang Luan Keng, confirmed that this is the first report for modern Singapore (i.e. after 1970). There have been old records of nestings in Sime Road (1950), Pulau Tekong (very young birds,1920s) and Malaysia. Luan Keng thinks that there might be newer records too but she is not aware of. This bird disappeared from Singapore during the 1970s and there were only records of escapees. Since Gibson-Hill’s 1950 record from Sime Road, there have been no confirmed records for Singapore until now.

Luan Keng added: “It’s a good record. Looks like we need to re-evaluate the status of this species. Currently it is recorded as “extinct, former resident, common escapee”.

Lim Junying wrote on 30th June, after KC’s report was circulated: “Indeed, they are very versatile when it comes to nesting spots. I once had a nest in a Chinese Juniper tree. Chicks didn’t really show much activity whenever I came over to observe them, just a little movement.” It is a pity that Junying did not record his observations then.

This shows the importance of publishing your findings, however trivial you may think. After all, we are usually not aware of what is new and important until we let the ornithologists and experienced birders know about it. So keep your observations and findings coming and we at BESGroup will do your reporting and recording for you – within days if not a week or so, not months or years!

We thank Yen Lau and KC Tsang for the above report and images; Wang Luan Keng for technical information; and Lim Junying for additional information.

Forensic birding 5: Red-crowned Barbets’ wastes

posted in: Barbet-To'can-H'guide, Waste | 0

One evening I found a package in my mailbox, left there by Meng and Melinda Chan. The pair was returning home from photographing a pair of nesting Red-crowned Barbet (Megalaima rafflesii) and left me the messy collection of partially digested fruits. Apparently Melinda collected them from the road nearby after the parent birds cleaned out their nest and dumped the trash some distance away.

The collection of fruits was fascinating. A few of the fruits had their bluish outer skin intact. Others were without the skin, the pulp greenish. There were a few other fruits/seeds as well, all covered with a dark, sticky and messy substance, probably originating from the rear end of the nestlings.

The bluish fruits still had a distinctive aromatic smell, reminiscence of some fruits or other that I cannot recollect. My first thought was Elaeocarpus or oil-fruit trees. These small to fairly large trees are common in our secondary forests. Their fruits ripen blue-green or blue-grey. The greenish pulp also pointed to this plant.

I checked with Ali Ibrahim who gave me some leads. Lauraceae or Elaeocarpaceae he suggested. The first includes wild cinnamon (Cinnamomum iners) while the second the oil-fruit trees, Elaeocarpus spp. The aromatic smell of the fruits suggested that it could not be the first. Cleaning the fruits and cutting it into two showed a very hard stone enclosing two seeds, each with its own cavity. Bingo! Elaeocarpus it is.

So these barbets eat Elaeocarpus fruits. They were brought to the nest and fed to the nestlings in twos and threes. Apparently the nestlings could not handle these fruits and most were probably regurgitated and deposited in the nest cavity. The parent birds had a hard time cleaning out the nest, literally carrying out these partially digested fruits in their beaks and dumping them onto the road nearby.

It has been reported that the nestlings of barbets dispose of their wastes through faecal sacs. Apparently these fruits/seeds were too large to be contained in such sacs, making it necessary for the parent birds to “shovel” them with their beaks.

Thank you Meng and Melinda Chan for collecting the fruits and for the image of the Barbet, and to Ali Ibrahim for help in the ID. Image of fruits by YC.

Malkoha in the sun

posted in: Feathers-maintenance | 2

Wu Weizen was walking in the MacRitchie Reservoir forest one afternoon in May 2006 when he suddenly came across a Chestnut-bellied Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus sumatranus) sprawled in the middle of the path. It had its wings stretched and tail feathers well fanned, showing off the brilliance of the feather colours.

“As I approached, it folded its wings somewhat, moved a little to the side (as in the photo), then unfolded its wings again. I watched for a while, and wondered if it was injured. But it flew into the nearby trees as I passed.” The bird was apparently sunning itself in the middle of the forest path. As Weizen added, “It didn’t rain that morning, so what did it do to get itself so wet that it needed to dry off? Took a dip in the reservoir?”

The way the bird was stretching itself reminded Jeremy Lee of anting: “Did you see any ants around the spot? It could be anting. Or maybe just using some of the sun’s heat to get rid of the ticks or mites it has.”

The bird could be sunning itself. Or it could be anting, as suggested by Jeremy. After all, this is a typical posture if it is lying on an ants’ nest to allow the ants to swarm all over it in an effort to rid its feathers of ectoparasites. Obviously if I am to suddenly come across a stunning bird like the makolha stretched out in the middle of the forest path, I would not have thought of anting. Nor would I have examined the site after the bird flew off to look for signs of ants.

If it were really anting, the above image would be a rare shot.

This report by Weizen should make birders aware of the possibility of such an activity. And the next time should anyone come across a bird in this posture, he or she should spend some time quietly observing it. If it is anting, it may subsequently do a little dance and maybe peck off the ants from its feathers. And do not forget to examine the site for the presencer of ants.

Our bird specialist R. Subaraj has this to say: “Sunning or anting….both perfectly feasible. More interesting is that this normally arboreal species does descend to the ground from time to time.”

Thank you Wu Weizen for this unusual observation and the rare image.

26 Responses

  1. kris

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

  2. Iwan

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

  3. Khng Eu Meng

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

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

  4. Jess

    Bird Sanctuary At Former Bidadari Cementry

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

    2)Where this bird usually resident at?

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

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

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

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

  5. YC

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

  6. Firdaus Razak

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

  7. Chung Wah

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

  8. Geam Liang

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

  9. Lee Chiu San

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

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

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

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

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

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

  10. Lee Chiu San

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

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

  11. Geam Liang

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

  12. Lee Chiu San

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

  13. Geam Liang

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

  14. Lee Chiu San

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

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

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

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

  15. Geam Liang

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

  16. David Thackray

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

  17. Emily Koh

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

  18. Emily Koh

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

  19. Mahadevi Bhuti

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

  20. Martin Nyffeler (PhD)

    Dear Sir / Dear Madame,

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


  21. Wee Ming

    Hello Besgroup,

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

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

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

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

    Warmest Regards,
    Wee Ming
    SPACElogic Pte Ltd

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