Long-tailed Sibia eating mollusc

posted in: Feeding-invertebrates | 0

KC Tsang was at Fraser’s Hill, Malaysia on 16th February 2008 when he encountered a Long-tailed Sibia (Heterophasia picaoides) picking up snails (mollusc) and eating them (below). The sibia is a lower and upper montane forest species, uncommon below 1,200 metres altitude. The very long tail and white wing patch of this bird makes it easy to recognise in the field. It is abundant around this hill station, tame and occurs in small flocks moving around the forst canopy, the prominent long tail dangling behind.


The bird is a generalist, eating flower buds, fruits like berries and figs, insects like cicadas and swarming termites and small frogs. It has also been observed harvesting nectar from various flowers like silk-cotton (Bombax ceiba), coral tree (Erythrina spp.) and cherries (Prunus spp.).


The snail, tiny and slender, occurs among rotting wood in the forest floor. The sibia is eating it as a food as well as a calcium supplement. Note that it swallows the snail narrow end first (above and below).


Various snail species have been recorded eaten by different birds like Oriental Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris), Dollarbird (Eurystomus orientalis) and Red-crowned Barbet (Megalaima rafflesii) [here]; Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier) [here]; and Ruddy Kingfisher (Halcyon coromanda) [here].

Nesting birds need calcium for egg production and to feed the growing chicks

Strange, M. (2004). Birds of Fraser’s Hill: An illustrated guide and checklist. Nature’s Niche, Singapore.

Javan Pond Heron in flight

posted in: Heron-Egret-Bittern | 0

It is fascinating to watch the Javan Pond Heron (Ardeola speciosa) taking off in flight. From the ground it bends its legs to a crouch, then jumps up, to gain the initial impetus. As it jumps, its huge pair of wings unfolds and begins flapping (below). The downward strokes lift the bird into the air. Once airborne, the bird begins a continuous series of flapping to maintain its altitude.


When level flight is reached, it has its legs and feet fully extended backwards and neck drawn into an “S” position. It may flap some more to maintain its altitude for some distance before gliding, with wings fully extended.


The wings are typically broad and elliptical. Note the large primaries and secondaries that make up the major wing feathers (above). Note also the short, rounded tail. Unlike many raptors that need longer tails for maneuvering as they chase preys, herons do not need to maneuver about. A shorter tail allows the bird to take off quickly but it reduces its ability to make sharp turns.


The dramatic image above shows the powerful large wings in their down stroke, providing its initial lift.

Since this pond heron was recently sighted, photographers had a field day documenting its presence and flight (1, 2).

Mark Chua
April 2008

prices on staining decks test

Oriental Pied Hornbill manipulating hairy caterpillar

posted in: Feeding-invertebrates | 2


In March 2008, Allan Teo sent in an image of an Oriental Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris) manipulating a hairy caterpillar. The hornbill was observed rubbing the caterpillar against a tree branch to rid it of the hairs before swallowing it. Or is it to remove the stomach contents?

HornbillOP-rubbing cat [AllanTeo]

Allan also provided a file, showing the bird doing just that (above).

The hairs of such caterpillars can be irritating to predators, many of which simply leave them alone. However, some birds are capable of handling them and the hornbill is obviously one of them.

The Chestnut-bellied Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus sumatranus) is reported not to be bothered by the hairs – they line the stomach to be eventually regurgitated as a pellet. Swiping the hairy caterpillar is not to remove the hairs but to empty the gut contents. Other birds squeezes out the stomach contents before swallowing the caterpillar.

Storm’s Stork sighted at Panti Forest, Johor

posted in: Species | 1


A Storm’s Stork (Ciconia stormi) was sighted flying over Panti Forest Reserve, Johor, Malaysia on the morning of 14th April 2008 (above). It was flying south and of the many who witnessed the bird, only “flexi” of NaturePixel.org succeeded in getting an image that is posted here.

The sighting of the Storm’s Stork around Johor’s Panti Forest is not the first. Wells (1999) reports the sighting of two birds in 1995 by R. Subaraj.

This is a relatively large bird that is found around Borneo, Sumatra and Peninsular Malaysia. In Malaysia, whether in Peninsular Malaysia or in the states of Sabah and Sarawak in the island of Borneo, it is either a rare resident or an irregular visitor.

According to Elliott (1992), the bird was sighted some time ago in Thailand but probably now extinct. Its status globally was listed as “indeterminate,” but most probably it is now endangered.

Most of the world’s Storm’s Stork are confined to Indonesia, with an estimated population of less than 300. It is generally found in undisturbed freshwater habitats, especially peat swamp forests. However, with the current rapid destruction of the country’s peat forests, it is fast becoming endangered. The bird is not well adapted to disturbed habitats.

There is limited information on the stork. It is generally known that it feeds on fish. However, what other food it eats is hardly known. Its breeding behaviour is similarly poorly known.

Image courtesy of “flexi” of NaturePixel.org.

1. Elliott, A. (1992). Family Ciconiidae (Storks). Pp. 436-465 in: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. & Sargatal, J. eds. Handbook of the birds of the world. Vol. 1. Ostrich to Ducks. Barcelona: Lynx Editions.
2. Wells, D.R. (1999). The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsular. Vol. I, Non-passerines. Academic Press, London.

This post is a cooperative effort between www.naturepixels.org and BESG to bring the study of bird behaviour through photography to a wider audience.

Lesser Shortwing at Fraser’s Hill, Peninsular Malaysia

posted in: Species | 1

The Lesser Shortwing (Brachypteryx leucophrys) is a bird that not many birders have the opportunity to see. More often than not, it is heard than seen. And once heard, its rich and melodious song remains with you.

But even after hearing its vocalisation, it is extremely difficult to locate the bird. It lurks on or near the ground, alone or in a pair. And mostly, it remains within the tangle of vegetation in the forest understorey, or at the forest edge hidden among the thicket.


Yet, KC Tsang managed to photograph both the male and the female in Peninsular Malaysia’s Fraser’s Hill. He did not encounter both sexes on the same visit. In July 2006 he managed to see and photograph a female bird when it emerged from hiding to take a bath in a forest stream (above). As for the male, he only got his shot two years later, in March 2008 (below).


The Lesser Shortwing is mostly a montane forest bird, found generally at an altitude of 1,500 and 2,100 metres. According to Wells (2007), it’s “advertising-song is surprisingly loud and intense: two deliberate, well-separated notes, who, hee, followed immediately by a sweet but explosive jingle lasting about a second, too fast to unravel by ear (slightly slower on the E-coast Range), but with sharply up-and-down notation and some doubling of sounds.” Its alarm call “is a 3-6 repetitions of a low but sharp monosyllable, tuk or tak, answered with a fine, thin see or whee.

Wells, D.R. (2007). The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsular. Vol. II, Passerines. Christopher Helm, London.

Barbet, woodpecker, myna and an empty nesting cavity

In the town of Raub, in Pahang, Malaysia, Muhammad Firdaus Redzlan was observing a Gold-wiskered Barbet (Megalaima chrysopogon) cleaning up a nesting cavity in a trunk of a tree. Young Muhammad informed his father who kept watch the next morning.


The barbet returned to check on the cavity. But before Dr Redzlan Abdul Rahman could record the visit, the bird flew off. He waited for an hour that morning but the barbet did not return. Instead, a pair of Common Flamebacks (Dinopium javanense) arrived and duly inspected the cavity (above: male left, female right).


In the evening Dr Redzlan again kept watch. No barbet. But this time a pair of Javan Mynas (Acridotheres javanicus) came, poked their heads into the hole to inspect it (above). They were probably looking for food. Or were they prospecting for a nesting cavity?

Then late that evening he saw a Gold-wiskered Barbet (probably male) perched high up on the tree with food in his mouth. The bird did not inspect the hole but instead flew off with the food in his bill.


This barbet arrived from the west the next day to perch on the branch of the same tree (left). It rested for a while before proceeding east, always with some yellowish food in his bill. Parent birds normally do not fly directly to its nest to feed the chicks. They always land some distance away, to check whether it is safe to proceed, before flying to the nest. This may be what the barbet was doing.

The cavity appeared to have been abandoned as there was no sign of the barbet visiting it during the following two weeks. But the mynas and woodpeckers kept on checking the cavity.

Many birds are hole nesters but not all such birds are capable of excavating their very own nesting cavities. Only birds like barbets and woodpeckers excavate cavities in old and rotting tree trunks and branches. Others have to make do with natural cavities that develop as the wood rots. Or else depend on second-hand cavities, cavities once used by other birds but now abandoned.

Old and dying trees are never permanent. As they rot, the limbs collapse and eventually even the trunk gives way. Such trees pose a danger to life and limbs, especially around human habitation, so they are routinely removed.

Nesting cavities are thus always in short supply. Competition will always be fierce and some birds even go to the extent of physically removing the residing birds. See HERE for an account of the confrontation between the Long-tailed Parakeet (Psittacula longicauda) and the Dollarbirds (Eurystomus orientalis).

One way to reduce this housing shortage is to provide nest boxes. However, we are way behind the west in the use of and research on nesting boxes. But we have made a start with the Oriental Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris).

Should we remove chicks that fell out of their nests?

posted in: Rescue | 3

What would you do if you come across a helpless chick on the ground, crying softly to its parents? Would you simply walk away? Would you pick it up and look after it, or seek out someone to do so?

Many people believe that the chick will die as it has been displaced from its nest. And they will pick it up and take it away. But what exactly is the situation?

Most chicks when they first leave their nest, or what birders call fledge, are just learning to fly. The may end up on the ground but the adults will always be around to feed and encourage them on. You may not see the aduls but they are there somewhere. But once you pick it up and take it away, the parents will not be able to look after it.

Chicks may also accidentally fall out of the nest. These will be younger chicks that are a long way to fledgling. Sometimes they may be pushed out by their siblings. Invariably, these younger chicks will not survive if left on the ground. This will be a slightly different situation from the fledging chicks discussed above.


So what should you do? If the chick is fully feathered and can run away and flap its wings, the best thing to do is leave it alone. If necessary, pick it up carefully and replace it back to the nest if you can locate it or if it is within your means to do so. If not, place it somewhere above ground – on a twig, on the roof of a nearby shed, in an open box above ground or anywhere that it cannot be easily trampled or snatched by a passing cat. The parents will easily locate it and take over.

Taking the chick home to look after it may not be the best thing to do. For one, it is a full time job. It needs to be fed a few times an hour throughout the day. Only at night will you get any peace. And even if you succeed in raising the chick to eventually release it, are you sure that it can adapt to a free adult life?

Calvin Simonds, in his 2000 book, Private Lives of Garden Birds (Storey Books), in his aside entitled “A bird in the bush is worth two in the hands” has this to say:

“The fledgling period is an important period of training for the young birds, one in which they learn from their parents what they should eat and what dangers they should look out for. Male fledglings even learn something about how to sing. Even with all their natural training, young birds have a terrible time making it through their first year. Do you really, honesty, think your ignorant, hand-raised baby could survive?”


I have been foster parent to three chicks now, a Little Heron (Butorides striatus) (top) and recently, two Javan Mynas. These were given to me well after they were picked up. The heron was eventually released; one of the mynas was subsequently predated by a cat (above left) while the other successfully fledged (above right). What happens after release is anybody’s guess.

The pair of Malayan Whistling Thrush chicks that was nesting in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia fledged naturally. Their first flight out of the nest landed them on the ground of the warehouse where the nest was built. They were hopping about and the adults were around them all the time. To ensure that the fledged birds were safe from wandering dogs, they were put in a box and left outside the warehouse. Within two days they were flying around and the adults were busily feeding them. Now what woul happen if a concerned person took them away to look after them?

Now, would you still pick up a seemingly helpless chick should you come across it?

YC Wee
April 2008

Alan and Meg Kemp

posted in: Travel-Personality | 2






Alan and Meg Kemp were in town recently, on their way to Mulu National Park, Sarawak (left).

Alan’s interests include hornbills, raptors, owls and behavioural ecology of birds. He PhD research was on hornbills, undertaken when he was a research assistant in Kruger National Park. He was the ornithologist at the Department of Birds, Transvaal Museum, Pretoria from 1969-1999 and Manager of the Museum until his early retirement in 2001.

I first met Alan in September 1998 when I joined his South African Kalahari Desert tour. It was a camping trip of sort except that we slept in lodges along the way, not in tents, and cooked our own meals. That was the first time Eileen and myself were exposed to an African safari. Most times we saw sand dunes and more sand dunes, with isolated trees here and there. Once in a while we would be fortunate to view large mammals.

When asked what happened to all the animals, we were told they had gone to neighbouring Botswana. It was then that we decided to visit Botswana. But we never got to do that. We went to Kenya and Tanzania instead.

The 1998 trip was the first time I was exposed to birdwatching. I still can remember vividly, focusing my pair of opera glasses at something in the distance to be told that it was a Cory Bustard – whatever that was, until I realized that it was the name of the bird.

And my collection of South African birds images were simply the desert landscapes with tiny blobs here and there that were supposed to be birds.

Getting seriously involved in birds during the last few years means that I was in contact with Allan, but only through his many publications on hornbills.

And after nearly ten years, I have managed to meet up with Allan and Meg once again.

Images from top down: Allan and Meg Kemp, stopover in the Kalahari Gamsbok National Park, herd of springbok, Kori Bustard, and oryxes.

YC Wee
April 2008

Greater Racket-tailed Drongo mobbing Changeable Hawk Eagle

posted in: Interspecific, Raptors | 6

KC Tsang was at Bukit Brown cemetery on the morning of 3rd April 2008 observing swifts and swallows. His mission was to photograph these birds and try develop a field photographic identification guide (see 1, 2 and 3).

While at Bukit Brown, he noticed an approaching raptor. As the bird flew nearer, he recognised it as a Changeable Hawk Eagle (Spizaetus cirrhatus).

His full attention was drawn towards it by the cacophony of loud bird cries. The eagle was being pursued by a pair of Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus paradisus) and all three birds were calling excitedly.


KC managed to capture the magic moment when the eagle was making a powerful downward flap of its huge pair of wings to gain altitude. The lead drongo was way behind and below it, its pair of racket-tails trailing like a pair of black blobs (above).


As the lead drongo approached nearer (above), the eagle suddenly maneuvered around. Instead of being the pursuer, the lead drongo became the pursued. The eagle came very near to the drongo and could very well have grabbed it (below). Maybe it was not hungry then. It merely flew away after scattering the panicking pair of drongos, satisfied with just getting rid of the irritating mobbers.

It should be noted that the Changeable Hawk Eagle is an expert aerial acrobat, capable of zooming up vertically and nose diving, or stooping at lightning speed, even doing a complete looping-the-loop turn in the air.


The Greater Racket-tailed Drongo has a reputation of being aggressive and fearless. It will attack much larger birds, including raptors, especially when they are brooding chicks. These birds have been known to also attack people walking near or below an active nest. Goh Si Guim was once attacked in the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and live to tell his tale.

Drongos also indulge in kleptoparasitism, snatching food from smaller birds as well as mammal species. They have been known to follow groups of foraging babblers. When any of these babblers capture a large prey, the drongo may give an alarm call frightening the foraging individual. When the latter drops the food item, the drongo swoops down and claims it. In this incident of the eagle and the drongos, it was not about kleptoparasitism, as the former was not clutching any prey. Besides, the eagle is a much bigger bird than the drongo.

Raising Kings II

posted in: Feeding chicks, Kingfishers | 1

This is a continuation from the previous post… Raising Kings I.


The chicks continued to be fed dependant on their parents in the first two weeks. When Zena gave the rattling ‘come and get it call’ with rations sandwiched in her beak, hungry chicks usually responded quite immediately. She made them fly and scurry along the tight wire to reach for their food. Feeding stopped when Zena received no more response. She swallowed the left over.

Zena, having gone slimmer would then partake of a late, deserving breakfast alone. See how soiled her beak showed after a tiresome morning of chick feeding? No different from human parents who had to attend to their school children’s needs (left top).

It was also observed that parents practiced selective feeding to ensure survival of their brood. At times, Zena would turn away an approaching, begging chick only to call to another or fly off to feed another (left bottom).

Consistent observations provided opportunities to differentiate behavioural patterns of each chick. I soon learnt to tell them apart from one another.

On the 7th day, while half the world slept or rested, Modesto was seen exercising and testing out her beak and figuring out how to use it like Mom and Dad (below: left, middle).

She put her skills to test, staring into the water for any edible movements that may have caught her eye but saw nothing except murky water. “How on earth did Mom see those juicy river snails?” she wondered (below right).


Modesto is recognised as the slimmer chick female with an attitude. She was observed to be facing away from the river frequently and preferring to stare into a grass sprouted river edge. On the 11th day, she made her first brave attempt to dive from the tight line for an insect- perhaps a grasshopper. She came up with a beakful of mud instead feeling fuzzed.

Allegro was making speedy progress on day eleven. He finally succeeded in fishing for a river snail but had yet to acquire the skill of keeping it in his beak. He cringed when he saw his precious catch dropped into the river (below: left, middle). Whenever food became available from parents, his response was indeed swift.


Piccolo, the last chick fledged was lagging behind in maturity and at times was observed to be still hiding under her roost. Zena had to fly in to feed him. Being the youngest, the apple of his father’s eye, protector Hector made a point to be all seeing and all hearing. He was quick to replenish an overdue feed to his favourite. The image above (right) shows Hector overlooking Piccolo.

A surprise observation was made when a fourth fledgling was sighted very briefly on only two occasions. The prodigal fledgling stayed only for a very short moment for roll call. I called him Prodigo. The fledgling was swift and flighty with highly sensitive, predatory instincts and he/she truely was born to be free and wild. I had neither photo opportunity nor a chance of a better glimpse of this fourth.


From day 12, the chicks were beginning to look smart with more changes seen to their feet, downy feathers turning darker and colour of pink breaking through grey beaks. White eye rings were fading away (above).

Images of Allegro and Piccolo on the 17th and 18th day showed the body language of the chicks. One was looking confident, the other- still unsure and timid of himself (below).


It became clear that it was increasing difficult to photograph family feeding times together as the chicks became more independent and scattered. Window period of stealing a glimpse of them during roll calls became shorter by the day. To be able to chance seeing them, I had to be at the feeding site by 7.30 am each day.


The last opportunity to observe and to photograph the avian family came on the 17th day. It was also observed the fledglings had learnt the skills of survival and self sustenance and soon to be known as juveniles. It was also the last time I was able to see the trio-Allegro, Piccolo and Modesto perched together (above).


A quiet moment saw Hector with two river snails- a goodbye, love package. He flew in and perched beside Piccolo. It was the 21st morning (right).

“Here Pico, this is the last time I can be feeding you. Here is one and the other is for the road”.

Piccolo never flew far and was seen in the following days alone on the feeding wire. He waited and waited but food never came. Zena would still be around somewhere and occasionally flew in to offer a treat now and then. It was hard to let go, hard to see her chick go hungry alone. Piccolo was simply… not quite ready. Hector watched with self restraint (below top).


One day, Piccolo was seen attempting to chase a small moth. He was weaving for his breakfast in the air. The moth was desperate to get away. So was hungry Piccolo for the moth. They both disappeared behind a bush in a rising cloud of moth dust.

D-day came on 31st day. Mom kept a little distant. It was time to see her last chick fly to independence. To fly he must for he was born to be free… (left bottom).

Hector, the White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis) moved on and was seen no more. Both parents have done exceedingly well in successfully bringing up a fine brood to propagate their species.

Observation came to an official close on 1st March, 2008. It has taken two months of observations and time consuming effort in documenting Hector and Zena breeding and nurturing their young.

Committing my time to follow through to the finale with Hector and Zena, have been fulfilling moments. To be able to write about it, only serves to substantiate credibility to these photographic bird images, making them ever so worthwhile to dwell in the art of digiscoping birds in the wilderness.

Hector and Zena have both given me this privilege to be a window opener into their lives, to reach readers, share, understand and enjoy them in the wild from an armchair. I am grateful. All they ask in return is, “Please save my habitat and admire us from afar”.

I am glad I do not have a problem doing just that. The latter at least that is within my control……

(Most images had to be taken more than 50 feet away from a river bank by digiscopy method. While they are not really of photographic quality, they are just about satisfactory to substantiate this article. I hope readers have enjoyed them).


25 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…

  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!


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