The call of the Asian Koel

posted in: Vocalisation | 18

From mid-October 2005 right through to February 2006, I had been hearing the call of the Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopacea) almost every morning at about 6.30 am or thereabout. Sometimes I would hear the call later in the morning and once in a while in the evening as well. I have had people complaining of being awaken by the call as early as 4.30 to 5.00 am but in my area the birds apparently wake up later.

These birds, there must be more than a pair, roost among matured trees growing in an abandoned area between two housing estates, seldom visited by people. As such I never saw them but always heard their calls.

Asian Koels are extremely shy birds. Years ago they were always heard and seldom seen. More recently they had been making their presence known especially when they visited my Alexandra palms (Archontophoenix alexandrae) to feed on the ripe fruits. But they were still shy, flying off once they noted my presence.

From mid-February 2006 the call dried up to an occasional kwaking. Then around the end of June the call was again heard, but not as regularly as previously.

During the first few days of July I had the opportunity to view them close-up. Four male koels flew in at around 5.30 pm and stayed for about an hour to an hour and a half. A bird would suddenly arrive and perch on a fruiting branch of my Alexandra palm accompanied by loud kwaking. Another would soon fly in to be followed by the remaining two. Sometimes they would fly to the Golden Penda (Xanthostemon chrysanthus) tree along the roadside.

A pair, perching on different branches but facing each other, would then indulge in duetting. The perching appeared precarious as the birds rocked forward and backward, as if trying to balance themselves. Their tails would flare out somewhat and sometimes they would touch beaks. During this time one or more may regurgitate seeds from earlier feeds. After some time they would simply perch quietly, not moving much and not appearing to communicate. Then suddenly they would all fly off.

A lone male koel was recently seen perching on a branch of the Golden Penda and wailing continuously. As it belted out a series of koel-koel-koel calls, its wings flap up while the tail feathers flare out. This went on for up to five minutes before the bird flew off.

Account and images by YC Wee.

Gloria and her Pink-necked Green Pigeon 1

posted in: Nesting | 4

On 3rd July 2006 Gloria Seow spotted a female Pink-necked Green Pigeon (Treron vernans ) sitting in a nest lodged between the branches of a tree (possibly Aphanamixis polystachys). The tree was just behind her first floor office in the MacPherson Road area, near to where the regular office smokers congregated to discuss their battle plans. For the first few days she saw only the female bird incubating the eggs. Only much later did she see the more colourful male at the nest.

The bird would sit quietly in the nest, occasionally shifting positions. The sudden appearance of a Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker (Dendrocopos moluccensis) on a branch close by was totally ignored.

As Gloria recounted: “Showed most of my colleagues the female and male birds with my binos. They were suitably impressed and intrigued that there could be green pigeons in Singapore…”

On 11th July the eggs hatched.

“I thought I saw papa regurgitating (at that time I didn’t know what he was doing). He would arch his neck downwards and contraction waves would pass along the length of the body as food pours forth within… Suddenly papa moved and revealed one chick beneath him!” So there were two chicks.

“Papa was feeding the chicks with crop milk every 5 to 15 minutes. When one chick was fed, the other would call out softly in protest. The chicks were covered in yellow down, their eyes appeared to be still closed and sealed within a thin membrane, and they had a yellow beak. I reckon that they were barely 1-2 days old. Papa looked tired, his feathers appeared ruffled and un-preened and he was forever wary of foreign sounds, whipping his head around in alarm with every new aural interference, human or avian made. Thank God such disturbances were few and far between.

“My presence was acknowledged as papa quickly orientated his body and sight line in my direction when initially he was facing the other way. Of course, I posed very little threat as I was seated a good 4 meters below him and every time somebody walked by, I diverted attention away from the nest by fiddling with my other papers and equipment.”

Input by Gloria Seow and images by Chan Yoke Meng – top down: female with chicks, tree where nest was, male in nest, male with chicks. Ali Ibrahim helped identify the tree.

Attack of Dollarbirds’ nest by starlings

posted in: Interspecific | 3

An earlier account saw how a Long-tailed Parakeet (Psittacula longicauda) attacked the nest of a pair of Dollarbirds (Eurystomus orientalis) but was physically evicted from the nest. Here, the attack by a flock of Asian Glossy Starlings (Aplonis panayensis) was under different circumstances.

Meng and Melinda Chan were at Lim Chu Kang when they noticed a pair of Dollarbirds nesting in an open cavity at the top of a dead tree trunk. A small flock of Asian Glossy Starlings was flying over when they noticed the Dollarbirds’ nest. The starlings suddenly flew down to raid the nest. Predictably, the pair of Dollarbirds retaliated, attacking the former. Being outnumbered, the nest was raided and what appeared to be a well-developed embryo was taken away by one of the starlings.

The starlings flew away leaving the Dollarbirds to assess the damage.

Thanks to Meng and Melinda Chan for the observation. Images by YC.

Purple Heron: Feeding behaviour

Herons are carnivores, feeding on a wide range of live animals found within their aquatic environment. These may include fish, frogs, snakes, lizards, birds and small mammals. They also take aquatic insects and crustaceans.

The long neck and sharp pointed bill are well adapted to harpoon preys. The bird stands motionless in shallow water among vegetation until a prey approaches. It then suddenly seizes it with the bill or if large enough, impales it. An account on the baiting strategy of Little Heron (Butorides striatus) has been posted earlier.

Herons swallow their prey whole. They have an excellent digestive system that takes care of their food efficiently, leaving only bones, feathers, exoskeletons and fur that get regurgitated as pellets.

Adults feed their chicks by regurgitating the prey whole. The chick may swallow the food whole or if too large, the parent bird may break it up into smaller bits.

The image above, provided by Chan Yoke Meng, of a Purple Heron regurgitating a rat, tail-first (it cannot be otherwise) to feed the chick, was taken at Yong Peng, Malaysia in August 2005. Obviously the regurgitated rat needed to be repositioned before the chick can swallow it. Or did it swallow the rat tail first?

The image below by YK Chia shows another Purple Heron, this time a juvenile, with a lizard between its beak. If you look closely, you can see where the lizard had its body pierced.
Thanks to Chan Yoke Meng and YK Chia for the use of their images. Check out YK’s blog.

Chestnut-bellied Malkoha manipulating caterpillar

posted in: Feeding-invertebrates | 0

On 23rd June 2006, photographer HP Lim came across a pair of Chestnut-bellied Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus sumatranus), each with a large hairy caterpillar between its beak. The birds were swinging the caterpillars vigorously, obviously to kill them. They next passed the entire length of the caterpillar back and forth between the beak to remove the stomach contents. The image above shows one of the bird with the somewhat flattened caterpillar between its beak.

The video clips that HP Lim managed to capture (1) and (2) show the above in a much more dramatic fashion. In case you are not able to connect properly to the videos, he has given alternate links in (3) and (4).

Caterpillars are a favourite food of many species of birds. The brightly coloured ones can be poisonous while those that are hairy can be tricky to manipulate. An earlier posting gives an account of how birds generally handle these caterpillars.

Another account describes the way a Collared Kingfisher (Todiramphus chloris) manipulated a large privet hawk moth’s caterpillar – in this case the caterpillar was clean shaven, no hairs!

We wish to thank HP Lim for generously sharing his image and videos and to Meng and Melinda Chan for introducing him to BESGroup’s blog.

Pong pong tree

posted in: Plants | 5

The pong pong (Cerbera odollam) is a medium sized tree that was once commonly planted along roads in Singapore. Its popularity then was because there was a plentiful supply of large fruits that collected on the ground below. These were collected and easily germinated to be used as wayside trees. With the maturity of the garden city and availability of a more varied selection of tree species, pong pong became less of a favourite. Its general shape is not all that attractive. Besides, the large, round fruits that litter the ground below became quite of a nuisance. However, there are still many areas where such matured trees can still be seen.

The tree has been called Singapore apple because of the large, round fruits. The green outer covering of the fruit encloses a thin pulp and a thick fibrous stone containing a single seed. This seed is reportedly poisonous, containing the poisonous substances cerebin and odollin. It has been used locally to poison rats.

For a long time now no animals have been observed to eat the fruits, or at least the outer pulp. Being a coastal tree, the fruits are adapted for water dispersal, not animal dispersal.

However, birders have recently observed seeing Tanimbar Corella (Cacatua goffini) feasting on these fruits. Johnny Wee sent an image of this bird eating through the outer part of a green fruit, apparently chewing through the tough fibrous layer covering the seed. The bird is seen perched on a branch with its right leg tightly clutching it while its left leg clutches the green fruit.

At Eng Neo area, certain mornings the pong pong trees will be swarmed with these corellas as they noisily fly from branch to branch and tree to tree, pecking on the fruits. Typically wasteful eaters, these birds end up littering the ground below with the partially eaten fruits.

According to our bird specialist R. Subaraj: “Tanimbar Cockatoo (now known as Tanimbar Corella) was first seen around 1970s when it was misidentified as Little Corella (Cacatua pastinator) from Australia. A visiting Aussie birder in the mid-1980s said it weren’t theirs and that finally lead to the accurate confirmation of the species.”

This is an introduced bird, now getting more common. It has obviously found a feeding niche that no other birds have occupied before. Besides feeding on pong pong fruits, it also goes for green starfruits (Averrhoa carambola) and fruits of sea almond (Terminalia catappa), fruits not popular with other species of birds.

Images by YC Wee except second from top by Johnny Wee and bottom by Chan Yoke Meng.

The elusive mangrove pitta

posted in: Species | 1


The emerging Mangrove Pitta (Pitta megarhyncha) of this habitat heralds news of good birding days ahead for Ayer Itam Dalam, Butterworth but… for a very limited time only for bird watchers (left).

The ability to walk the newly constructed boardwalk of chengal wood was a comforting thought, though the overall workmanship is shoddy and the length of the boardwalk severely compromised with ongoing construction of 2 roads cutting through the forest reserve. One veteran birder estimated loss of the forest reserve and original length of boardwalk to be about 80 % to development (below).


The elusive Mangrove Pitta (Pitta megarhyncha) is often talked about but seldom seen and extremely camera shy. This species has to be the signature bird of the habitat closest to me, and I am adamant to see it (below).

I teamed up with a birding pal and made our way snaking through Ayer Itam Village. We missed the correct turn and ended up helping to level the earthed road still under construction instead. By coincidence or divine intervention, our vehicle came to a grinding halt at the entrance of the designated board walk.

At 8 am, we were ready for our ‘C.S.I.’ walk. I took the lead with my 10×42 binoculars and cat walked stealthily along the board walk.


I took to a squatting position and searched the forest floor and within 2 minutes, heard the rustle of dead foliage coming from my left direction. A quick response led me to this elusive bird that was foraging on the ground unaware of our presence.

The Pitta continued leisurely on its walk and disappeared behind the edge of the Nipah grove before any full clear view of the bird could be had.


Observation of the bird in semi concealed position was had for about 5minutes before the Mangrove Pitta took off with nesting material.

A year later, this feathered friend surprised me by flying in and posed 15 feet from my scope producing a trembling, too close a shot of this elusive bird (right).

Was it the same bird seen before or was it her fledgling that grew up?

Submitted by: DAISY O’NEILL (Avian Writer), PENANG, MALAYSIA.

Apparition pitta on a “trapeze”

posted in: Species | 0

A scheduled Saturday night of owling turned unforgettable for a birding trio. Dressed for the occasion, it was meant to be a night out, putting our new toys-a night vision aid and my ‘third eye’- headlights to a test.

We were just about to call it a night after having seen the owls as hoped. We decided to retrace our steps once more to the known site of the Mangrove Pitta (Pitta megarhyncha) in a hope to chalk up our owling list.

I believe 30th July 06 is to be one and only life time opportunity to bear witness to this account- sighting a juvenile Mangrove Pitta at 12 midnight. It did not occur to us that this species that eludes so many birders in the day time could be possibly seen at night and in deep slumber on a unique, opened perch.

We crept in single file along the short boardwalk into total darkness, under tree canopy of mixed banyan trees and nipah palms (left).

Instinctively, my flashlight went searching for the floor coverings. Subconsciously, I was thinking wishfully and whispering aloud.

“It would be a miracle to see a Pitta at this time of the night!”

One buddy chuckled in disbelief but knew I was not looking for owls but for an elusive hope of sighting a pitta- a chance in a million to ever see one on that night.

That nice, quiet feeling of unexplained euphoria rose to the challenge and continued to hang over me as I led the way in darkness with my searching flashlight.

Suddenly…., I saw a white object hanging in mid-air. Approaching cautiously, there were numerous banyan vines hanging down from tree canopies. Some were twisted while one was dangling across another. The white object appeared to be levitating from this dangling vine in the dark!

‘It’s a pitta! Shh…..” Excitedly, I whispered to one of them who passed the message to buddy photographer cum bodyguard for the night.

We approached just in time to see this white object raised its head that snuggled, in an under-winged position to reveal his identity as the juvenile Mangrove Pitta. This was a fifth week old, juvenile showing its pinkish belly.

We stood on the boardwalk and stared silently at the juvenile in disbelief. We were stunned by the snoozing bird that was just perching on the vine like a trapeze artist. I cautiously waved my flashlight at the bird to observe for any response from the bird.

Bird remained motionless. A total of 20 shots or so were discharged from between the Nikon D200 and D2H. My Coolpix Nikon P4, a toy by comparison delivered 3 blurred underexposed shots. One turned out to be like an apparition Pitta on a ‘trapeze’ (right).

Stalking a pitta in the day time was difficult and sweaty enough. Having a pitta perched and posed in front for as long as the bird wanted to be observed was unimaginable. Photographing one at 12 midnight had to be a miracle. It happened!

There were moments when the juvenile yawned, scratched, opened and shut eyes. At other times, the bird remained quiet.

During those couple of moments when the Pitta yawned and scratched, it showed a crescent nictitating membrane emerging from the inner corner of the eye and this was caught on camera (left).

Yawning action was seen with Pittas’eyes opened. Did the bird not see us? We were less than 10 feet away!

Doesn’t the bird see at night? Was it blinded by our flashlights? These were questions that puzzled us. We decided to put another observation to the test.

From communication with initial hand signals to whispers that got louder and louder, we proceeded to speaking in normal tone and deliberated openly on the subject of ‘nictitating membrane.’

It was hard to believe that our presence and discussion went on until 1am and the bird was still perching on the same vine unperturbed by neither our voice nor our presence.

The conclusion to this juvenile pitta’s behaviour could be, pittas do not see nor hear well in the dark as opposed to extreme acute sight and hearing in the day.

The innocent, 5 week-old juvenile chick had not been exposed to human predatory presence nor acquired survival skills yet. Besides, the tide was high that night and the ground underneath the boardwalk was flooded. No escape for the juvenile but to play, ‘stand and look dead’.

We left thanking the juvenile the way it was first sighted.

For us trio, we each went home with a great feeling that we had struck the national lottery. We took that euphoric feeling to bed.

The juvenile Mangrove Pitta probably thought not, cared not and went back to zzz…

We slept not.

Courtesy documentary image from Michael Ng with thanks.
Submitted by: DAISY O’NEILL (Avian Writer), PENANG, MALAYSIA.

Nesting of Asian Paradise Flycatcher

posted in: Nesting | 0

The Asian Paradise Flycatcher (Terpsiphone paradisi) is an impressive bird, especially the male morph whose long tail can reach more than 27 cm long. As the bird flies it’s long white tail dangles and sways suggestively like a butterfly fluttering about. The bird winters in tropical Asia and is seen in Singapore and Peninsular Malaysia as a passage migrant.

Tan Swee Nam had an exciting encounter with a pair of nesting birds in Taman Negara, Malaysia on 7th June 2006 and brought back the two images shown here. He arrived just a few days too late to see the male flycatcher replenish with his long white tail. A Malaysian birder saw the birds feeding the chicks on 29th May, probably hatched about two days earlier. The male still had its long tail when he left in 3rd June.

The chicks fledged on 9th June at 11 am, about 13 days after hatching.

This species is usually found in forested areas. Three or four eggs are laid in a neat cup-shaped nest, usually lined with hairs and decorated with mosses and liverworts. The male starts life with rufous plumage that develops white feathers by the second year. By the third year the plumage is completely white, other than the black head. The female resmbles the rufous male, but has a grey throat, smaller crest and lacks the tail streamers.

Thanks Swee Nam for the imput and images.

Durians and birds

posted in: Feeding-plants, Plants | 8

About a year ago or earlier, Goh Si Guim came across a durian tree (Durio zibethinus) at Bukit Batok West with a ripenig fruit whose outer skin had a hole, probably gnawed by a squirrel. There was a Laced Woodpecker (Picus vittatus) around the fruit. Whether it was actually eating the durian flesh or looking for insects was not established. Fuhai Heng managed to capture an image of the damaged fruit with the woodpecker on it (below).

There the matter rested until James Heng took a walk along Venus Drive on 10th July 2006 and encountered a tree laden with fruits with many squirrels and birds crowding around the ripening fruits. This is what he wrote:

“This evening I passed a durian tree which was laden with fruits. What was unusual was that there were lots of sunbird and flowerpecker activities.

“As the durians are getting ripe soon, many plantain squirrels (Callosciurus notatus) (with a black and cream coloured band on the side of its belly) have gnawed through many of them. Whenever a squirrel had had enough and moved away, Plain-throated Sunbirds ( Anthreptes malacensis ) quickly appeared and perched on the durian’s thorns and pecked away at the exposed flesh. They were also seen licking the white inner portion of the husk.

“Several Orange Bellied Flowerpeckers (Dicaeum trigonostigma) were also busy darting about that tree. On several occasions, they landed on the durians and pecked away. Unfortunately, from my angle, I could not see if they were reaching into any of those bored cavities in the fruits.

“Hmm, seems that like humans, some birds just cannot “tahan” the lure of this fruit.”

Johnny Wee later visited the tree and took a picture of the woodpecker that was eating away at a fruit with an opening for about 8 minutes before it flew away satisfied (above). Again, Johnny was not sure whether the bird was eating the fruit or the insects/worms found around it.

It has been established that woodpeckers are insectivorous as well as fruigivrous.

We thank Goh Si Guim and James Heng for their input; Fuhia Heng and Johnny Wee for their images; and R. Subaraj for identifying the squirrel.

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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