Nesting Failure of the Red-wattled Lapwing

posted in: Nesting-failed | 1

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On 21st December 2007 KC Tsang was birding with Wang Luan Keng at Tuas. This is KC’s report:

“…as I have not gone to that place for quite some time. The place was quite wet, or flooded up to about knee deep in some places, and it was after some heavy rain during the night (above). Knee high gumboots, or wellington boots are required for the exploration of such a terrain.

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“Snipes, Savanna Nightjar (Caprimulgus affinis) and Red-wattled Lapwings (Vanellus indicus) are bountiful, however getting a picture of anyone of them is really difficult, and especially if one has to balance oneself in knee deep water, and undulating ground. Here is one Savanna that did not get away (left).

“Having enough of chasing birds for the morning, decided to return back to the car, and pack up for the morning. On the walk back I noticed that there were four eggs in a nest just above the water level. On closer inspection the nest was wet just beneath the eggs (below left).

“So without further-a-do, took some pictures of the eggs, and nest. The nest is hidden somewhere in just above the water (below right).

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“Returned the next day to have a look at the nest, everything looks alright with the four eggs still on the nest.

“However on 28th December, two eggs went missing, so we came to the conclusion that a snake might have eaten them. So went about trying to see if we could find a co-operative Snipe who will pose for a portrait shot, no luck there.

“Our final visitation was on 6th January 2008, and to our dismay there were no eggs in the nest. On closer inspection we found them to have also been rolled (?) off the nest, four of them, one broken, and other three intact. So what most probably happened was the first two missing eggs were pushed out of the nest and left submerged under water. And the later two were also then pushed off the nest and left to drown in the water. By the time we came back the place had dried out and thus we were able to see all the eggs on the ground. So on placing them all back into the nest, flies came buzzing around the eggs, which is a bad sign.

“So could it be that the birds had noticed that the first two eggs had failed to develop and decided to remove them from the nest so that it will not affect the other two? The failure of the eggs to develop could also be the result of continuous daily heavy rains, which prevented the eggs developing as a result of insufficient warmth from the sun, or the nest could have been temporarily submerged because of the heavy rainfall, which subsequently killed the eggs.

“According to a knowledgeable birder, a very high percentage of nesting end up in failure.”

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Wang Luan Keng has this to add: “KC made an interesting find. It’s unfortunate that the eggs did not hatch. They are really rotten and I have to master enough courage to blow out the contents.

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“1. The eggs and clutch size matched the size and description of the Red-wattled Lapwing (above). See also Jonanthan Cheah’s photo (right). KC’s eggs have larger black blotches than Jon’s eggs but I think that is just variation.

“2. According to literature, the nest of the RW Lapwing is an unlined scrape in short grass, soil or sand. The nest Jonanthan found was like that – a scrape on the stoney ground. This is where I am a bit puzzled. The nest that KC found was unlined, formed by a clump of grass folded to form a slight platform, where the eggs sit. Rails and bittern typically do that but the eggs do not match the colours of bittern or rail eggs. I thought it might be common moorhen but the colours are also wrong. It is possible that the Tuas lapwings have adapted to using the grassy patch for nest or a slight possibility that that it is something else.

“3. Many reasons would have caused the failure of the eggs. We know it’s not a predator, which would have eaten the eggs instead of dropping them. KC’s idea that the nest got flooded and the eggs were washed away by the water is possible. Another possibility is that the parents are not experienced or disturbed by humans and somehow dropped the eggs.

“4. KC is right that a high percentage of nests fail in the tropics. Unfortunately, local birders do not follow up on individual nest and do not report nesting records regularly, especially if the nest failed. So we don’t have absolute data.“

Images by KC, except image of egg and chick by Dr Jonathan Cheah Weng Kwong.

Barred Eagle Owl sighted last night

posted in: Migration-Migrants, Owls | 1

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Yong Ding Li, Singapore’s up-and-coming birder, encountered a Barred Eagle Owl (Bubo sumatranus) last night (18th January 2008) and sent in this report:

“Singapore’s mysterious Barred Eagle Owl which has been recorded by a handful of birders in the past two decades decides to show up last night at the Central Catchment Forest.

“As we were walking into the forest, the first major piece of clue was the resonant double note ‘hu‘ of slightly different pitch and tone, classic Barred Eagle Owl song. The first ‘hu‘ was longer and more penetrating than the second note and was given by a perched bird at estimated less than 50 metres distance. After vocalising twice, the bird silently flew across the canopy with the beams on it, confirming its identity. Birders visiting the Central Catchment Forest should keep a lookout for this enigmatic individual.

“And as if the night wasn’t enough, two hours after the owl was sighted, at 11.55 pm, a stunning Slow Loris (Nycticebus coucang) appeared and clambered over a giant rattan to cross the canopy in full view for some 20 minutes allowing many minutes of live video footage to be captured and proving its continued existence on the mainland.”

The latest Annotated Checklist has this to say of the owl:

“Status – Very rare non-breeding visitor. Former resident, appears to be not rare in Singapore in the 1920s but it is certainly not so numerous as Ketupa (B & C, 1927). CITES II.

“Records – 1 collected on 1 Jun 1925 (RMBR). No further records until 1 was heard and seen at BTNR on Oct 1996. It was probably a stray from Johor and stayed until at least 4 Jul 1997 (OBC Bull. 25). 1, possibly the same one from BTNR was seen in NS on 28 Jan 1998 (OBC Bull. 27), 29 Jan 1998 and 15 Mar 1998 (SINAV 12-1) and again on 29 May 2001 (OBC Bull. 34).”

Yong Ding Li
Singapore
January 2008
(Image courtesy of Cheong Weng Chun)

Reference:
Wang. L.K. & Hails, C. J. (2007) An annotated checklist of birds of Singapore. Raffles Bull. Zool. Suppl. 15:1-179.

NOTE: Please note that our Nature Reserves are out of bounds at night. Prior permission from NParks is necessary to enter such areas after dark. For the information of readers, Ding Li and his collegues were there conducting research for the National University of Singapore and NUS and NParks have a memorandum of understanding on such studies.

Injured Purple Heron: Update

posted in: Heron-Egret-Bittern | 2

Dr Chua Ee Kiam alerted birders to an injured Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea) found in the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve in mid-October 2007. The lower jaw was torn and a piece of flesh was dangling from it.

On 23rd November 2007, KC Tsang encountered the injured heron and reported that the “plumage has turned out to be well developed and beautiful. However, he tends to be smaller in size compared to others and he tends to hide under plant cover in fear compared to his brothers up on the tree canopy displaying their breeding plumage.” The bird was still alive one month after first sighted.

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Now, Meibao encountered the injured bird on 6th January 2008 (left), three months after it was first reported and writes: “…I managed to get a few shots of it yesterday morning at SBWR. It’s still alive and kicking, but took off after I tried to get nearer to get a close up shot.”

James Gan, a Senior Conservation Officer with the National Parks Board who is stationed in the reserve has this to say:

“The Purple Heron with a gap in its throat has been present in Sungei Buloh for several months. Many people including visitors and photographers have remarked and wondered how this individual ended up with such a distinguishing feature. Some have come up with theories. Others have wondered if it could survive in the wild wetlands. Yet others have wondered if humans should intervene to help this heron. This Purple Heron has needed no human help. It has shown itself to be a true survivor and possess the survival instinct to live and thrive in the wild. We are glad that the heron has chosen to make its home in Sungei Buloh. We hope to see it around the wetland for many more months and years.”

The bird has now shed its breeding plumage. Can photographers and birders please report back if the injured bird is sighted in the future.

KC Tsang, Meibao & James Gan
Singapore
January 2008
(Image top by KC and bottom by Meibao)

Fledglings: Triller and frogmouth

posted in: Feeding chicks | 0

The chicks that hatch out of the eggs in a bird’s nest are commonly known as nestlings. When these nestlings are old enough and actually leave the nest, they are termed fledglings. At the time of fledging these young birds are just learning to fly. They easily fly downwards but flying back to the safety of their original perch is another matter. At this stage they are vulnerable to predators. After all, they have still to learn of the dangers posed by the various predators.

The presence of fledglings is easily located by their constant begging cries to be fed. The parent birds are always close by and are paying close attention to them. The parents feed the fledglings less and less with time so as to encourage them to fly and hunt for themselves.

Susan Wong of Malaysia shares with us her images of two fledglings that she observed and photographed in mid-2007. The Pied Triller (Lalage nigra) is seen stretching its wings while still in the nest (left top). The juvenal feathers are all fully formed and the young bird was preparing for its maiden flight. It would also be stretching its legs and flapping its wings, especially when a strong breeze blows through

The Javan Frogmouth (Batrachostomus javensis) nestling is seen with its male parent in the nest, also stretching its wing (left bottom). Like the triller, it will be fledging in a short while, probably a day or so.

Susan is indeed privileaged to have seen these two birds at their nest, and just before they fledged.

Susan Wong
Malaysia
January 2008

Scratching on the wing

posted in: Feathers-maintenance | 2

KC Tsang was at Turf City on the morning of 7th January 2008 “observing a flock of
swiflets and swallows flying back and forth catching
insects in mid air.

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“I was tracking one of them with my
camera, and taking pictures of them flying.

“However,
this is one photo that had captured one very unusual behaviour of the bird. It was that the bird was able
to fold itself and reach its rump to scratch it in
flight, and in midair… (I use the word scratch
for lack of a better term) and continued flying
without falling out of the air . Amazing!”

Swifts (Family Apodidae), that include swiftlets and needletails, are among the most aerial of birds. They regularly feed on the wing, sometimes even copulate in midair. What is extraordinary is that they even indulge in aerial roosting, although this has been proven with certainty only for the Common Swift (Apus apus).

If these birds can sleep when flying, it is no small feat to scratch while in the air.

On the other hand swallows (Family Hirundinidae), while highly aerial, often land on branches, utility wires, etc. where they can indulge in preening and scratching in the comfort of the perch.

KC Tsang
Singapore
January 2008

Secret life of the Yellow Bittern

On 6th January 2008 Lin Yangchen released his study of a juvenile Yellow Bittern’s (Ixobrychus sinensis) first venture out of the safety of pond bank vegetation to explore the new world (below left) and the hunting skills of an adult.

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“Before it could get very far on the narrow stem, it freaked out and hurried back in, losing its footing in the process and flapping its wings to regain it. A couple of days later, it had become more confident and made its way to the reeds farther out.

“It stayed still for quite some time, its feet straddling the reeds, not knowing what to do next (above right). Its predicament was quite calamitous, with nothing but water below. I was late for work so I could not stay to find out what happened next. The parent was never seen with it.

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“About a week later, when the water level had receded due to dry weather, an adult was seen hunting.

“It is not certain whether this was the juvenile that had grown up, or another bird. It has two modes of prey approach – the slow prowl in the photo on the left (top) and a brisk walk to quickly make up the distance when needed. When there are more underwater obstructions like leaf litter, it lifts its feet higher up when walking, its body leaning more towards the supporting foot (left bottom).

“On 20 Feb 07, there was a post on the blog saying that the bittern needs to move the head left/right and front/back during prey tracking in order for the two eyes on different sides of the head to see the prey. However, my particular bittern did not move its head at all when tracking prey. Maybe it moved its head when walking fast towards the prey area, like most birds bob their heads when they walk, but in the last stages before prey capture, there was no such movement.

“This photo below (left) shows that the monocular camera lens is able to capture both eyes in the same picture, suggesting that the bittern has stereoscopic vision without having to move the head.

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“It seems from the picture that the long bill does not bisect the stereo vision. Indeed, the long bill might increase the accuracy of the stereoscopic system, as any deviation from the correct firing angle will cause the bill to block one of the eyes from seeing the prey. In other words, the straight-line distance between the two eyes may have evolved to be of a particular fraction of the distance between the eyes and the tip of the bill, so as to optimise the accuracy of the aiming system.

“When the bittern has locked on to the target, the neck extends fully (or to the extent required) in a split second, catapulting the bill towards the target (above right).

“Notice that the nictitating membrane is closed during firing to maintain the watertight integrity of the eye socket. The accuracy of the correction for the refraction of light is indeed amazing, as it has only one chance to catch the fish.

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“After catching the fish in the tip of its bill, it flips the fish nearer to the base of the bill in preparation for ingestion. There is a transition moment at which the fish (still alive, with fins flapping) is in midair (right).

“All this happens extremely fast, and before you know it, it has swallowed the fish. It has to happen this fast because the fish would otherwise have a higher chance of wriggling free.

“This bird is a skilled fisherman.”

Lin Yangchen
Singapore
January 2008

Grey Nightjar

posted in: Morphology-Develop., Species | 1

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On 23rd November 2007, Daniel Koh spotted a Grey Nightjar (Caprimulgus indicus), a rare passage migrant and winter visitor. The bird was perching on a large branch (left). Many birders came across the Grey on a branch, unlike the resident Large-tailed (Caprimulgus macrurus) that is usually seen on the ground. Being a perceptive birder-photographer, he noticed that the bird was sitting along the branch and not at right angle to it as with most birds. So he was curious to have a look at its feet.

As luck would have it, it was Chan Yoke Meng who managed to get a shot of the bird’s foot when it was scratching its head (below).

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A nightjar’s feet are weak, as seen in the above image, as they are adapted for resting on the ground. The toes do not have the powerful grip of most other birds and presumably the bird has difficulty perching on slender branches. It is thus able to only perch on a large branch, and only sits along it.

However, this does not mean that the bird is clumsy on the ground. Many species can walk quite strongly, especially the chicks. And many occasionally feed on the ground. The toes are partly webbed and the middle toe is pectinate, as seen in herons. This is possibly used to remove parasites and straightening out the rictal bristles during preening.

Nightjars are nocturnal birds, roosting during the daylight hours. And it is during such hours that they are most vulnerable to predators. This is where their cryptic plumage comes into play, to avoid detection during the day when they are roosting.

The head appears large in relation to the body. The bill is small and appears weak. The gape is enormous and lined with long, extremely tactile, rictal bristles. These bristles are modified contour feathers whose barbs are absent. Such are the adaptations for aerial feeding.

The eyes are large and laterally placed. At night they respond to light by shining, an adaptation to improve the vision during dusk and dawn as well as during the night when the moon is absent from the sky.

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Many have conspicuous white patches in the primary as well as outer-tail feathers, as seen in the Grey above, when it was stretching its wings. When the bird is resting, these white patches are never seen, becoming obvious only when in flight. These markings come into play during territorial aggression, courtship and defence displays as well as to distract predators at the nest site.

When approached, the bird may flatten itself to reduce shadow and outline, as well as close the eyes (see top image). Such behaviour provides total camouflage and it is literally unseen, especially on the ground, until you are very near, when the bird suddenly takes off with a noisy flutter.

The bird is an extremely strong flier, being provided with long, slender wings.

Daniel Koh. Ming and Melinda Chan
Singapore
January 2008
(Top image by Daniel, others by Chan Yoke Meng)

BESG weblog logs 200,000 visitors

posted in: Reports | 0

In July 2007, after two years of blogging, BESGroup’s blog logged 100,000 visitors. Now, exactly six months later, we have reached another milestone – 200,000 visitors.

A recent web-rating by an independent professional editor for weblog “blogged” rates this blog as ‘Very Good” and awarded it 8.3 out of 10.0 points (above). The editor used four criteria: 1. frequency of updates; 2. relevance of content; 3. site design; 4. writing style.

We have linked up with many overseas bird blogs. Many others have discovered us as shown below:

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Based in the US, Birdfreak: The Bird Conservation Blog has been recommending us to birders all over the world (left). So have the Malaysia Bird Forum and thaibirding.com.

GlobalVoices, founded at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, has also made referenceto us. This is a research think-tank focused on the internet’s impact on society.

One of our posts was referenced in an article on the Common Myna that appeared in Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia,

And a Chinese blog based in Biijing literally re-posted chunks of our recent postings, images and all.

OrganicBurials.com makes special mention to our recent post on the Chestnut-bellied Malkoha.

On the local scene, Youth.SG, an online portal for the youth of Singapore, has linked up with BESG. So has Singapore Environmental Blogs.

The above are the new local links. Apologies for not mentioning the many other local links, so as not to make this post excessively long.

Once again BESG thanks one and all for your support – photographers for sharing their bird behaviour images as well as permission to post their images, birders for sending their sightings and observations.

With your continued support, we await the coming of the half million hits.

YC Wee
Singapore
14th January 2008

What do hornbills eat in Thailand?

posted in: Feeding-plants, Hornbills | 1

Hornbills are mainly fruit eaters, although their diet also includes invertebrates including caterpillars, small amphibians, reptiles and mammals.

In Thailand a total of 13 species have been recorded. The different types of foods these spectacular birds take have been well documented by the Hornbill Research Foundation of Thailand.

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Figs (Ficus spp.) are an important source of the hornbill’s diet. There are many species of figs and many of them flower throughout the year. This means that there would always be some trees figging at any time of the year.

Other than figs, a total of more than 60 species of rainforest trees provide these birds with food. These are mainly under-storey trees, many of which are also found outside the forests.

The most important of these plant families include Myristicaceae: Myristica (left top), Knema (left middle) and Gymnacranthera (below, top left); Meliaceae: Aglaia spectabilis (below, top middle), Chisocheton (left bottom), Dysoxylon; Annonaceae: Polyalthia (below, top right); Lauraceae: Litsea (below, bottom left); Myrtaceae: Syzygium; Palmae: Oncosperma; Rubiaceae: Canthium below, bottom right); Sterculiaceae: Sterculia (below, bottom middle) and Theaceae:

Ternstroemia.
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Besides fruits, hornbills have been known to take millipede (below left), caterpillar, grasshopper, beetle (below middle), gecko and rat (below right). An animals diet is most important during nesting as the growing chicks need a constant source of proteins.

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Two earlier posts on hornbills of Thailand are found HERE: 1 and 2.

Input from Hornbill Research Foundation; images courtesy of Dr Pilai Poonswad.

Orange-breasted Green Pigeon sighted in Jurong

posted in: Pigeon-Dove | 8

It has to happen and it did happen – a photographer documenting a new species for Singapore. This elusive bird appeared for just about 15 minutes, after which it has yet to be sighted again. With hard evidence in the form of images, there can be little doubt that the pigeon has to be what it is claimed to be.

In the past there were always doubts in the minds of so-called “experts” when such claims were made by newbies. And new sightings were only recorded long after, when actually seen by these “expert” birders. A new trend is emerging where photographers would be at the forefront of new sightings.

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Dr Jonathan Cheah Weng Kwong was at the Japanese Garden in Jurong on 22nd December 2007 when he spotted a lone bird at the salam tree (Syzygium polyantha). It was quietly eating the fruits for about 15 minutes before it flew off. He posted his best image in Avian Watch Asia (above) and there it would have remained forgotten except that it attracted the attention of birder Albert Low.

On 23rd December Albert wrote: “…What I see, and incidentally what Ding Li sees, in the picture, is a possible Orange-breasted Green-pigeon (Treron bicincta). This species, ironically, was a lifer for both of us when we visited Udawalawe National Park in Sri Lanka just last week. The significant ID feature missing from the picture is the vent colour. For the uninitiated, this species has been recorded as far south as Port Dickson in Penisular Malaysia and a part of me has suspected that just like Jambu Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus jambu), could occur in Singapore, particularly during big figging seasons.

“…I would strongly urge all birders and photographers visiting this area particularly over the Christmas Break to scan the tree diligently for Treron pigeons and attempt to take more shots should there be one or more similar birds around. If it is indeed a OBGP, it would mark a significant range extension for the species, obviously pending debate on its origin.”

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As an update, Albert wrote on 24th December: “Just an update for the seekers. Jonathan has kindly sent another picture of the bird in question (above). In addition, he has mentioned that the pictures were taken last Saturday and at the entrance to Japanese Garden, thus it is not from overseas and isn’t that dated either.”

This is the first sighting of the Orange-breasted Green Pigeon in Singapore, a male bird. The bird looks like the Pink-necked Green Pigeon (Treron vernans) except that the forehead, face and throat are greenish yellow. Also, the mauve-pink upper breast area is smaller and does not extend to the neck. The outer feathers of the tail is blackish, with a broad pale grey subterminal band.

According to Wells (1999), it is found as far south of the Malay Peninsular as Port Dickson. The bird is fairly common in eastern Java and northern Bali.

Jonathan Cheah Weng Kwong & Albert Low
Singapore
January 2008
Images by Johathan.

References:
1. Baptista, L. F., Trail, P. W. & Horblit, H. M. (1997). Family Columbidae (pigeons and doves). Pp. 60-245 in: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. & Sargatal, J. eds. Handbook of the birds of the world. Vol. 4. Sandgrouse to Cuckoos. Barcelona: Lynx Editions.
2. Gibbs, D., Barnes, E. & Cox, J. (2001). Pigeons and doves: A guide to the pigeons and doves of the world. Sussex: Pica Press.
3. Wells, D.R. (1999). The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsular. Vol. I, Non-passerines. Academic Press, 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

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