Red-crowned Barbet feeding on a snail

Barbets are stout birds with a prominent bill and bright, colourful plumage. Another characteristic feature is the prominent nasal and rictal bristles. They nest and probably also roost in tree cavities, thus they are found in wooded areas with old trees.

On 3rd April 2006 Johnny Wee came across a Red-crowned Barbet (Megalaima rafflesii) eating a forest snail at the Upper Peirce Reservoir forest.

Now barbets are predominantly frugivorous. Their favourite fruit is fig but they also eat other fruits as well. Small fruits are swallowed whole and if they have large seeds, these are regurgitated. Larger fruits are pecked down to manageable pieces and chewed before swallowing. The brush-like tongue helps in breaking down or manipulating pieces of fruits. Some species also eat nectar from the flowers of Erythrina, Bombax and Butea. %pD

But barbets are not exclusively frugivorous. They can be opportunistic feeders, seeking out insects, especially when there is a termite hatch. They also eat insects and other arthropods when available. During the nestling stage the young birds are fed with animal food immediately after they hatch out of the eggs.

There are records of Lineated Barbet (Megalaima lineata) eating bird’s egg and nestling, as well as catching lizards and frogs.

A Red-throated Barbet (Megalaima mystacophanos) was reported by Medway & Wells in 1976 feeding on a 3nail in Ulu Gombak, Selangor, Malaysia. A male bird was seen passing a snail, after much beating against a branch, to a female, in an apparent courtship feeding.

Although the observation by Johnny is not new, it is probably a new record for Singapore. According to Leong Tzi Ming the snail looks like an Amphidromus sp.

Thanks to Johnny Wee for the observation and image, Wang Luan Keng for the lead to the reference and Leong Tzi Ming for the tentative ID.

Roost of the Great Hornbill

posted in: Hornbills, Roosting | 2

As far as we know, there is only one Great Hornbill (Buceros bicronis) in Singapore. And this bird is an escapee, probably from the Jurong Bird Park some years ago. For some months now, this bird has paired up with a Rhinoceros Hornbill (B. rhinoceros), another escapee. Two earlier reports (1, 2) give accounts of the activities of these two hornbills prospecting for a nesting cavity in an old albizia tree (Paraserianthes falcataria) around the Eng Neo area. They arrived during most mornings of late February and March 2006, spent half an hour to an hour around the area before leaving. Sometimes they also came during the evenings. Towards late April and May these birds appeared less regularly.

We have always wondered where the birds ended up at night. At last we have part of the answer.

Brian Ng alerted me of a Great Hornbill that regularly arrived every evening around 7.00 to 7.15 pm to spend the night on a branch of a rain tree (Samanea saman) outside his fifth level apartment window around Adam Road. The hornbill stayed all night in this tree but come morning, usually around 6.45 to 7.00 am, it started moving, stretching its wings and preening before flying towards Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. Or that was what Brian thought.

But I think it flew to nearby Eng Neo where it met up with the Rhinoceros Hornbill.

The Great was always alone at the roost. And Brian never saw the presence of the Rhinoceros. Now where can the Rhinoceros be roosting at night?

Towards the end of April onwards the bird visited less regularly, coinciding with its irregular visits to the Eng Neo area. Brian has since confirmed (30th May 2006) that “The Great hasn’t returned… in the past weeks…”

Thanks Brian for the alert. Image by Chan Yoke Meng.

Brian’s video can be viewed here.

Great and Rhinoceros Hornbills: More images

posted in: Courtship-Mating, Hornbills | 11

The courtship behaviour of a Great (Buceros bicronis) and a Rhinoceros Hornbill (B. rhinoceros), both female, at Eng Neo has already been told. However, through the generosity of Meng and Melinda Chan, we are able to showcase here more of what actually happened around the old albizia tree (Paraserianthes falcataria).

The pair would meet in the morning and/or evening and the Great (above right, taking on the role of a male) would always check on the cavity. “He” would then fly back to join the Rhinoceros on a nearby branch and delicately fed the latter with a fig. This is the standard courtship ritual.

Possibly, this was to reassure her that “he” would keep on feeding her should she be sealed up in the cavity during egg incubation and after (should this happen). Only then would the Rhinoceros fly off to check the potential nest cavity. In the image below you can see a Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus paradisus) harassing the Rhinoceros. There was always a pair, probably breeding nearby, that followed the hornbills around.

The image on the left shows the Rhinoceros, with her head inside the cavity, checking the interior. The Great is perching on the tree trunk below, waiting for her decision.

The pair has been visiting the tree during February to May, as this is supposed to be the breeding period. There is a report of someone seeing the Rhinoceros entering the cavity, to move out soon after. But there has not been any attempt of the Rhinoceros sealing herself inside the cavity. This would be a distinct possibility, considering that both are females. And a female bird would only enter the cavity and seal herself in after copulation.

Such aberrant behaviour probably arises out of desperation. After all, there is only one of each bird in Singapore, both escapees. And they have come together out of loneliness.

Text by YC Wee, images by Meng and Melinda Chan.

Myna-horse relationship

We are used to seeing mynas hovering around grasscutters or even garbage disposal people. But to see one around a horse? Or chasing the horse when it gallops around the course? Well, Leykun had such an experience, as seen in a letter written on 12th April 2006:

“I was at the Saddle Club recently to practise photography.

“The Common Myna ( Acridotheres tristis) was seen hopping, chasing and even flying after the horse (picture above). I think it was the horse’s butt or smell that attracted the bird. It was very purposeful in its actions as it practically chased the horse for several hundred metres until the horse turned a corner and got out of my sight. I am curious to know what the mynah was going after.”

R. Subaraj has this to say: “Possibly flies or some parasite that were on or around the horse. These could be near the rear end of the horse, causing the myna to follow the horse

“The Jungle Myna (Acridotheres fuscus) of Malaysia and northwards was formerly called the Buffalo Myna as it was often found around water buffalos and cows, picking off the ticks and insects on or around the animal. The Javan Myna has also learnt the value of larger domestic animals pushing up grasshoppers and the like from grassy areas and follow them around. In Singapore, Javan (and Common) Mynas can often be found following lawn mowers, picking up the insects stirred up. Other birds like Cattle Egrets (Bubulcus ibis) do it too.”

Thank you Leykun for the interesting story and image; and Subaraj for your comment.

Life around a rotting tree trunk 2: Collared Kingfisher

posted in: Interspecific, Kingfishers | 3

A pair of Collared Kingfishers (Todiramphus chloris) was nesting in a cavity found at the central point of a rotting tree trunk in a small piece of secondary growth at Eng Neo. Most of March 2006 the birds were flying in and out of the nest. Sometimes the arrival would be accomp!nied by the shrill cries of the bird. At other times the bird would fly in silently.

The hungry nestlings needed to be fed regularly and the parents worked hard bringing them food. There would always be some invertebrates like a centipede or a grasshopper. The birds would stop over at a nearby tree, checking to see whether it was safe to proceed, before flying to the nest. Initially, it entered the cavity to pass on the food but later it just stopped at the entrance. Sometimes both parent birds approached the cavity at the same time. In such cases one would veer off and wait its turn. There had also been a few cases when the morsel brought to the nest was not accepted by the nestlings (see above). In such cases the parent bird flew off to a nearby perch to consume it.

At the upper end of the trunk was another cavity. Here, a pair of Long-tailed Parakeets (Psittacula longicauda) initially took occupancy. The presence of the parakeets nesting above caused no problems to the kingfishers. Both species coexisted peacefully. However, when the hornbills were around the rotting trunk, which was not often, the kingfishers as well as the parakeets were invariably frightened away.

Text by YC; images by Meng and Melinda Chan (Great Hornbill, bottom) and YC (the rest).

Nest raiding

posted in: Interspecific, Nesting | 0

April 22nd was Earth Day. It was quite busy for Timothy Pwee in many ways. In the morning around 9.30am, one of the Nature Society (Singapore)’s Education Group volunteers, Hui Ping, spotted an eggshell with a fully developed embryo on the grass in the Palm Valley of the Singapore Botanic Gardens. Together with Goh Si Guim, Tim went to take a look. They found several clusters of light blue eggshell fragments around one of the palms. There was one with a fully developed embryo totally out of the shell.

As Tim narrates: “Because the eggshell had cracks radiating from more than one spot, we suspected that the egg had been attacked rather than just dropped from the nest. Another almost complete shell on the other side of the palm appeared to be around one and a half times larger. This larger eggshell did not have speckling. Wang Luan Keng suggested that this shell belonged to the Black-naped Oriole (Oriolus chinensis).”

Si Guim continues: “Besides the shattered egg and the spilled embryo of an incompletely developed bird, there were other empty shells around the tree. All were empty. They could be empty shells ejected from the nest(s) above, meaning that the chick had hatched out and fledge. Or the eggs could have fallen and the content decayed some time ago.

“Please note the markings on these two shells (image above). The one on the right does not have brown specks, suggesting different species of birds nesting among the many woody leaf bases on one palm tree. There were many Asian Glossy Starling (Aplonis panayensis) visiting these palms.

“Would forensic birding reveal how these eggs got onto the ground? Were the eggs cracked by raiders or did they break up on impact with the ground i.e. whether they were ejected by parasitic birds or the nest were raided by other birds.

“In the 90s, while exploring the still untouched Bidadari Cementery (Muslim side), I encountered an oriole raiding the nest of other birds. Egg yolk was seen dripping from the branches. I also had a close encounter with the Changeable Hawk-eagle (Spizaetus cirrhatus), now that I recall those nostalgic moments.”

R. Subaraj has this to say: “We know that crows raid nests of birds and consume the eggs and chicks. However, I have not heard of orioles doing so too! We must not rule out the Plantain Squirrel as being another potential culprit (especially at the Singapore Botanic Gardens). However, we need documentation to prove whether they simply are destructive or if they actually feed on the eggs.

Input by Timothy Pwee and Goh Si Guim, ID by Wang Luan Keng. Top image by Tim, the rest by Si Guim.

You can view Tim’s posting here.

Baya Weavers

posted in: Nesting | 6

In Singapore, Baya Weavers (Ploceus philippinus) build their nests in colonies of 20-30, preferring coconut palms or low trees. The nest is expertly weaved from long thin strands of leaf blades that can come from the Guinea grass (Panicum maximum), strips of palm fronds or other tough fibres. A completed nest looks like an upside down flask with a downward pointing entrance chute. Within the swollen portion is the nesting area.

The nest has been described as: “a stocking hung by the toe, the heel enlarged to receive the eggs, while the entrance and exit are made through the leg.”

The nest hangs on a long thin structure (up to a metre long) tightly woven with grass leaves, swinging freely in the wind. This ensures that it is not easily accessible to potential predators, either from above or from neighbouring branches. Thus they are attached to the terminal of palm fronds or from the ends of branches. The birds recycle old nests, repairing any damage before reusing them. This can be easily detected by the colour of the fresh and dried grass blades.

The male bird builds the nest half way after which he tries to seduce the female by his courtship displays. If the female is interested, she will examine the uncompleted nest, after which he will complete building it or both will work together.

Sometimes the birds may bring in lumps of wet clay that are stuck to the interior wall of the nest.

Once the female lays her eggs, the male will move on and build another nest, leaving the female totally to herself to incubate the eggs and raise the chicks. However, there are reports that this may not always be so – males have been observed bringing insects for the nestlings.

Text by YC Wee and images by KC Tsang.

R. Subaraj has this to add: Have you heard the story about the female Baya Weaver snipping off the connecting cord if not satisfied after inspection, so the male has to start from scratch? Do you know if this is true for sure.

An excellent account of the nesting behaviour of Baya Weavers by Graeme Guy of the Nature Photographic Society (Singapore) can be viewed here.

Nesting of Scarlet-backed Flowerpeckers

posted in: Nesting | 3

Thanks to a lead by Morten Strange, I was able to record the nesting of a pair of Scarlet-backed Flowerpeckers (Dicaeum cruentatum) and the antics of the two nestlings during April this year.

The nest was an oval pouch woven from grass blades, plant fibres and narrow dried leaves. There was a large opening near the upper end. The inner surface was comfortably lined with white plant fibres, probably floss from the fruits of the kapok tree (Ceiba pentandra). The entire structure was firmly attached to a slender outer branch of an Horsfieldia tree whose numerous flower buds were about to burst into blooms. The nest hanged between the two ranks of large leaves that provided shade from the rain and sun.

Peeping out of the large opening were two large nestlings, with darkish heads and prominently large orange beaks. The parent bird was around somewhere, tick-tick-ticking all the time. Whenever I imitated the sound, the two nestlings immediately opened their beaks to expose the reddish inner lining of the buccal area.

I managed to observe only the female bird feeding the nestlings, bringing them green mistletoe fruits that the babies eagerly gobbled. I was told by Morten that the male bird was extremely shy, not wanting to approach the nest whenever there was someone around. This was not so with the female bird, who fed the nestlings at the rate of once every few minutes, even when I was below the tree. And Morten detected a distinct difference in the calls of the two sexes.

The parent birds regularly removed large faecal sacs that were packed with green mistletoe seeds. Apparently such a service was not efficient. When a parent bird removed the sac from one nestling, the other simply turned round, pointed its posterior towards the entrance and started to excrete the mucous-covered seeds one by one.

Checking the ground below, I was surprised to find masses of mistletoe seeds coated with mucilage lying on the ground.

The nestlings had since fledged, leaving the empty nest hanging from the branch between the rows of leaves. However, a few days later the empty nest disappeared.


Text and images by YC.

Life around a rotting tree trunk 1: Introduction

posted in: Interspecific | 1

The location: A small piece of wasteland around Eng Neo bordering the Pan Island Expressway on one side and a sprawling low-rise housing apartments on the other.

The vegetation: A young secondary growth dominated by clumps of palms and bamboos overgrown with mainly exotic weeds. A few scattered emergent old albizia (Paraserianthes falcataria) trees.

The cast of characters: Hill Myna (Gracula religiosa), Javan Myna (Acridotheres javanicus), Collared Kingfisher (Todiramphus chloris), Dollarbird (Eurystomus orientalis), Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus paradisus) and Long-tailed Parakeet (Psittacula longicauda), Rainbow Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus), among others.

The attraction of the area: The presence of a few tall and old albizia trees. These trees provide excellent perches for birds, perches where they can get a bird’s eye view of the surrounding area. These old trees, as well as at least one dead and semi-rotting tree trunk are full of cavities, natural as well as otherwise, that many of these birds nest in. Also, the overgrown vegetation is rich in invertebrate fauna, besides providing fruits, like melastoma (Melastome malabathricum) and white-leafed fig (Ficus grossularioides).

The focal point: A rotting albizia trunk that is infested with termites. Half way up the trunk is a number of cavities, with more at the top.

This rotting trunk is the focal point of many birds during the early morning and late evening. A pair of Collared Kingfishers was nesting in the cavity around the centre of the trunk while the upper cavities were inhabited, at different times, by Long-tailed Parakeets and Dollarbirds, among others.

With these different species congregating around this single rotting tree trunk, it is inevitable that conflicts will occur. And occurred they did. In subsequent postings we will bring to you the various dramas that unfolded in this very interesting area, small as it is, in urban Singapore.

PS: This is also the area where a pair of Great (Buceros bicronis) and Rhinoceros Hornbills (B. rhinoceros) was prospecting a potential nesting hole in a living albizia tree. But that is a story already told.

Thanks to Ng Bee Choo and Eng Tow who introduced me to the site. Text and images by YC, except Great Hornbill image by Meng and Melinda Chan.

Tingfang and her Olive-backed Sunbirds

posted in: Nesting, Nesting-failed, Sunbirds | 2

Tingfang, an undergraduate of the National Technological University, found traces of plant materials around her clothes pegs one day in March 2006.

The very next day when she returned from lectures, she spied a pair of Olive-backed Sunbirds (Nectarinia jugularis) around. The pair continued building their nest every morning from about 7am and “.. their sharp yet sweet chirps served as my second alarm clock. After a week, it looks more like a nest… I have seen how the birdies worked their ass… or probably their beaks off to get this up… now I have a worry – will the cleaner clear it away?”

“After completing the nest, the birds flew in and out of the nest. Sometimes they made a lot of noise.. .. (hmm.. wondering what they are doing inside.. HmmMmm.. *roll eyes, drum fingers*).. can’t get too near to the nest else they would fly away… usually I could get slightly nearer during the night though.”

At night there would always be one bird in the nest, which she presumed to be the female. On12th April she found two eggs inside the nest. While the female was incubating the eggs, the male visited and brought food for her. He would always be “hopping around.” Seven days later, she noticed the male “suddenly became very noisy” and both birds started chirping. There in the nest was a “wormy thing hatched out from the egg… an orange wormy like thingy.” It was a blind and naked nestling. The other egg hatched the very next day.

The female bird stayed in the nest for most of the next two days while the male was busy foraging for food. By the third day both birds were busy looking for food to feed the nestlings.

Although blind at birth, the nestlings opened their beaks wide at the slightest noise or vibration, expecting food from the parents. By age five they had their eyes opened. Feathers developed around the ninth day. By day 13 the nestlings had grown too big for the nest and a side opening appeared.

Fifteen days after hatching Tingfang returned to her unit to find the nestlings gone. They must have fledged. But the nest was also gone. Only the peg and traces of nesting materials remained. Thinking that the nest with the nestlings inside must have fallen, she panicked and looked frantically around in the units below.

Naturally Tingfang felt sad and empty inside. Who wouldn’t? She had been keeping an eye on the birds for weeks, peeping at them to see their progress. And now, they were gone.

Our bird specialist R. Subaraj is of the opinion that the nestlings must have been taken, nest and all, by some predator bird, as this was a time when their presence was conspicuous.

Thank you Tingfang for agreeing to share your account and images with us; and to Goh Hanlin for alerting us to her blog.

You can also log in to her blog for a more personal account.

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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