Nesting of Coppersmith Barbet

posted in: Barbet-To'can-H'guide, Nesting | 2


As Tang Hung Bun was walking along Jalan Keli in the late afternoon on 16th April 2007, he spotted a bird flying towards a clump of palms (left bottom). The bird was not behaving normally and this made him curious. It was a Coppersmith Barbet (Megalaima haemacephala) and it was about to enter a hole in a tall, slender trunk of a dead lipstick palm (Cyrtostachys renda) (left top). It was obviously nesting.

He kept close watch for the next four weeks, documenting the nesting with his digital and video cameras – see his webpage.

Coppersmith Barbet is a common colourful resident bird. Most of the time it is found around the tree canopy, often heard but seldom seen. It likes to perch high up on a branch, where it utters its repetitive tonk that sounds like the beat of the coppersmith’s mallet, thus its common name.

The bird excavates a cavity in a semi-rotten tree trunk or branch where the female lays her eggs. According to Madoc (1956) it excavates more than one cavity, using one to lay the eggs and the others to roost at night. The Coppersmith roosts singly, unlike other species where two or more may roost in a single cavity.


Hung Bun managed to distinguish the sexes, although sexual dimorphism in barbets is not strongly marked. According to him the male has a richer red patch across his breast. He believes that there were at least two chicks in the nest. Both parents fed the chicks mainly with fruits, probably figs. Feeding was somewhat interesting. The parent bird flew in with up to three figs in its beak (above left). Arriving at the nest, it looked over its shoulder just once before poking its head into the nest cavity to feed the chicks. Withdrawing its head with a remaining fig, the bird nervously looked around – left, right and left again, checking to see if everything was alright. With a last turn of its head to see whether it was being followed, it poked its head in again. By then a chick had lost its patience and stuck its head out to receive the fig (above right).

After a few visits the female was seen entering the nest immediately after feeding to emerge with her beak full of wastes. Poking her head out, she paused for a while before flying out to dump the waste away from the nest (below). The male was not observed doing this chore. Both parents were observed picking ants from the nest.


Just before the chicks were about to fledge, they would vigorously peck the breast of the parent after a bout of feeding.

On 11th May, 25 days after he first spotted the barbet entering its nest, Hung Bun recorded on video a parent bird trying very hard to pull a dead chick out of the nest. With its beak firmly clamped on the dead chick’s head, it managed to partially pull it out. Only the head was out, but the body was still hanging inside (below left). The bird flew out to return and tried again. Perched firmly on the outside of the nest, it again tried pulling the body out by the head. Again it failed. It flew off again to return with renewed energy (below right). This time it managed to pull the dead body totally out and let if fall to the ground below. The chick was at an advanced stage of development.


The questions that need to be asked are: What caused the death of the chick? Was it killed by its sibling? By one of the parent birds? Can space constraint triggered the killing of the chick? After all the stem of the lipstick palm is 7.5 cm in diameter and the palms where the birds were nesting appear to be more slender than normal.

Another possibility was predation by snakes, squirrels or whatever.


The next few days the parent birds did not fly directly to the nest as was the case before. Instead, they perched on a nearby branch for some time before approaching the nest. This was obviously to encourage the chick to emerge. On 15th May the surviving chick finally fledged. It poked its head out of the nest entrance, stayed that way for a few minutes (right). All the time it was calling softly. It then flew to a nearby tree, continuously calling to its parents. The next day the fledgling was not seen nor heard. It must have flown away with its parents.

Tang Hung Bun
May 2007

Oriental White-eye: Feeding the chicks

posted in: Feeding chicks | 6


Most birds feed their chicks with animal food during the few days after hatching, even those birds that feed mainly on fruits and grains. The Oriental White-eye (Zosterops palpebrosus) is no exception. This bird feeds on insects, fruits and nectar from flowers. The young have been observed to be fed mainly on caterpillars. The images above show the chick at various ages being fed with succulent caterpillars. Other invertebrates like spiders and ants are also popular (below). However, no plant food was seen delivered to the chicks. This is understandable, as growing chicks need proteins more than sugars and carbohydrates.



The parent birds are kept busy all day long, flying off to forage and returning to feed the chicks. But when they return, they do not fly directly to the nest. They perch nearby and survey the surroundings (left). Only when all is clear do they fly to the nest. Once the bird lands by the nest, the vibrations will cause the chicks to open their mouths fully, even just after hatching when they are blind. And without fail, every chick in the nest will strain its neck upwards with mouth wide open, ready to be fed.

Unlike raptors and such where the parent tears off pieces and feed the chicks one by one, here, every trip brings only food for one chick. Therefore the oldest and naturally the most aggressive of the chicks usually ends up with the most food. In the recent nesting of the white-eye at Kent Ridge, the original three chicks ended up two. The missing chick, obviously the youngest and weakest, was probably dumped out of the nest by its two siblings or else fell off. This was the case in an earlier documentation where the third chick was found on the ground below the nest.


What becomes apparent once the chick gapes is the reddish colouration of the inner area of the mouth, lined with prominent swollen yellow oral flanges, believed to be “food targets” for the parents (right, arrows).

Immediately after feeding a chick, the adult moves to the rear of the fed chick to await the faecal sac. With its beak, it carefully picks the sac as it appears from the cloaca to disposes it some distance away.

YC Wee & Melinda Chan
May 2007
(Images by Chan Yoke Meng)

Adult koel feeding a juvenile

posted in: Feeding chicks | 5

The Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopacea) is a brood parasite. In Singapore the bird lays its eggs in the nest of the House Crow (Corvus splendens). In India it parasitises the nest of the House Crow as well as that of the Jungle Crow (Corvus macrorhynchos). Once the koel’s egg hatches, the chick will be looked after by the crows until the former is able to fend for itself.

It is thus surprising when Sunjoy Monga reported seeing an adult female Asian Koel feeding a juvenile koel in Mumbai, India:


“Earlier this morning (28th Apr, c. 0730 hrs) when on a walk along Lokhandwala Back Road and near the BMC lagoon (in Andheri west, suburban Mumbai), I came across some weird shrieking calls from the overgrown foliage along the path.

“A closer check revealed the presence of an adult female koel (left bottom) and near it was a wee-bit slender-of-form, much-darkish, speckled bird that she was feeding, in fact just had finished a bout of shoving food in the juvenile’s beak that was responding as is typical of a just-fed fledgling. The juvenile was instantly recognisable as a (full-fledged) juvenile koel that I have seen on numerous occasions earlier (left top).

“A bit too early in the season to see a juvenile koel got me wondering. Then I recollected having seen a Large-billed (Jungle) Crow pair nesting not far a few weeks ago near the electric sub-station not far from here (and which I checked today had fallen off considerably). This species invariably breeds earlier than the commoner House Crow and it is not often that I have come across the Large-billed’s nest parasitised by a koel in this region (in fact I think only on a couple of occasions years ago have Jos and I definitely seen so).

“What was most interesting was watching the female koel feeding the juvenile of her species even as a solitary Large-billed Crow twice made a charge at the scene of activity, evidently to flush away the adult koel who responded with her typically boisterous screams and flew off across into the mangrove and foliage. The young koel meanwhile continued with its hysterical shrieking and the crow appeared as if to feed it but was disturbed by much human movement (morning walkers and a gawking birder I guess) and retreated. A White-eared Bulbul (Pycnonotus leucotis) pair called hysterically which I knew was agitated because their own nest was not very from this spot.


“I waited not far to observe and about two minutes later the female koel reappeared a tree away but was chased away by the crow that arrived at the scene. Pretty soon the juvenile koel too took off across the waterbody with the crow trailing it.

“I made a dash home, about half a kilometre away to pick my camera and try capture this scene and waited an hour more. However, during this time I could not relocate the birds though the crow continued to appear around intermittently and the koel’s familiar crying could be heard in the distance.

“Years ago, we had seen in Kandivli, a female koel feeding a lone koel fledgling. I wonder if any other cuckoo species have been seen feeding their own juveniles reared by another species? Has the koel adult ever been observed feeding juvenile crows too?”

Sunjoy Monga
Mumbai, India
May 2007
(Images by YC Wee)

Oriental Pied Hornbill: Failed nesting at Changi

posted in: Hornbills, Nesting-failed | 3


There were two reported cases of Oriental Pied Hornbills (Anthracoceros albirostris) nesting in Changi in February 2007. The female hornbill was sealing herself in the shorea cavity fron 8-21st Ferbruary while another was sealing herself in an angsana cavity from early February to the 24th. Based on the observations made in Pulau Ubin, the female would remain in the nest from 65 to 78 days. This would imply that the bird would emerge from the nests between late April and early May.

No details are available for the shorea nest but it is believed the bird broke out sometime in April and was not seen to return. As for the angsana nest, the bird was still inside on 6th April. The image above was taken on that day showing the male above the nest, behind a newly emerged leafy branch. The image below (top), taken 16 minutes later, shows the male feeding her. However, in mid-April the bird broke out of her nest. A nearby resident reported seeing her emerging from the nest and flying away. Again, she did not return to the nest. This would imply that there were no chicks to feed.

The images below show the angsana cavity ten days apart at about the same scale. Note the size of the openings – the top with the bird still inside while the bottom showing the mud seal broken. The entrance has remained unsealed.


Usually, once the chicks are big enough, the female breaks the seal, leaves the cavity and the chicks inside reseal the entrance. They would emerge a few days later. Sometimes she will emerge followed by her chicks on the same day.

The fact that the cavity was not resealed and the birds did not return means that nesting must have failed. It is possible that the eggs were infertile and failed to hatch. Apparently this appears to be relatively common in the wild population in Pulau Ubin as well as the captive birds at the Jurong Bird Park. However, unless the nest is checked, this cannot be confirmed.

These are the first two cases of hornbill nesting in Changi. These two pairs of birds must have moved from nearby Pulau Ubin to seek out new territory. It is possible that they are first timers at breeding. Hopefully, subsequent nesting will be successful and we will see more hornbills around Changi.

YC Wee
May 2007
(Images by Chan Yoke Meng)

Javan Myna – gecko

posted in: Feeding-vertebrates | 1


On the morning of 15th April 2005 at about 7.40 am, as I opened my bedroom window, there was a sudden flutter of wings and something collided with the window. Thinking it was a bird-reflection affair, I drew the curtain and peeped out.

There on the lawn was a Javan Myna (Acridotheres javanicus) with a tailless gecko in its bill, eagerly trying to swallow it. Nearby was its mate, excitedly trying to see whether there was another gecko around.

The detached tail of the gecko was lying on the ground outside my window, still wriggling. But not for long. The other bird went for it, having to make do with a lesser meal.

Both called out kreep-kreep-kreep noisily or a few minutes after, hoping to catch another morsel. They left after a while, convinced that there was not another gecko around.

I was not able to identify the species of gecko the bird snatched, which was swallowed in due course. The image above is that of another specimen that has yet be encounter a myna.
YC Wee
May 2007

Strange behaviour of Asian Glossy Starling

posted in: Feeding chicks | 3

On 23rd April 2007 I received a couple of interesting images from Heng Fook Hai (left). At the Changi boardwalk he noticed an Asian Glossy Starling (Aplonis panayensis) flying into the hollow top portion of a palm post and emerging with what looked like a fig in its bill. Fook Hai was intrigued, and so was I.

The hollow tops of these posts are favourite nesting sites of Dollarbirds (Eurystomus orientalis). The starling was taking out fruits rather than bringing them into the hollow portion. So it was obviously raiding someone’s larder, possibly the Dollarbird’s. And Dollarbird does indulge in courtship feeding. But does the male Dollarbird places fruits inside potential nesting cavities to persuade the female to enter it and lay her eggs? Birders have yet to report on this behaviour.

However, the Oriental Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris) does this regularly (1, 2, 3). The pair of female Great (Buceros bicronis ) and Rhinoceros (Buceros rhinoceros) Hornbills playing house at Eng Neo similarly indulge in the same thing. And regularly, Hill Mynas (Gracula religiosa) and Javan Mynas (Acridotheres javanicus) raid the tree cavity of food.

Subsequent images sent in by Meng and Melinda Chan helped solve the mystery. They noticed starlings flying above to swiftly dive into openings at the tops of palm posts with food in their beak. After a few minutes these birds emerged with what must be seeds for disposal. The images on the left show a bird dropping the seed into the sea below.

The birds were obviously nesting at the top of the semi-rotting posts sunk into the seabed. They were feeding their young, bringing in fruits with large seeds. It is possible that the young swallow the fruits to regurgitate the seeds and the adult then remove them. Adult starlings regularly swallow palm fruits and regurgitate the seeds.

YC Wee (text), Heng Fook Hai (images: top two) & Meng and Melinda Chan (images: bottom two)

Cattle Egret: A potential urban scavenger?


Currently we have three urban scavengers – Javan Myna (Acridotheres javanicus), House Crow (Corvus splendens) and Rock Pigeon (Columba livia). Will the Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis) become the fourth in the near future?

In May 2007 Joseph Lai encountered a Cattle Egret waiting on tables for food-scraps at a Makan Centre in Kranji (left). He commented: “Sad sight of a new beggar on the block. It also begs the question why there are increasing numbers of people begging in town as well as in HDB estates.”

Cattle Egret is an example of avian adaptability in a changing world. In fact it has managed to colonise all six continents of the world.

The bird used to be a common winter visitor and passage migrant in Singapore. In the 1950s and 1960s it was roaming the island, following cattle and catching insects that were disturbed by the latter. With the disappearance of cattle from our roads, the bird is still commonly seen. Most of these are free-flying birds from the Jurong Bird Park, often seen in western Singapore but spreading rapidly throughout the country. They are breeding in large numbers within the park, establishing its status as a feral species.

Now, it may have found a niche among the open-air food centres. There is always the chance that Cattle Egret may one day be a common sight competing for scrap of food in urban areas. Being a larger bird it can easily bully smaller birds in their quest for food. I have seen pigeons pecking the back of mynas when both were competing for left over scraps in an open-air café along Orchard Road.

Joseph Lai
May 2007

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve: Water Regime Management

posted in: uncategorised | 0


Have you ever visited Sungei Buloh and seen the two brackish water ponds in front of the Main Hide filled with water? And at other times found that one pond has exposed mudflats while the other is completely filled with water and vice versa regardless of the tide (below)? What is the rationale for this water level regime?


The idea of managing the water levels in a wetland began with the desire to increase the number of migratory shorebirds that make use of Sungei Buloh. You see, historically and currently, Sungei Buloh acts as both a high tide roost site and a feeding ground for shorebirds but mainly as a high tide roost (top). When the tides are low across the northern coast of Singapore, these birds fly out from Sungei Buloh and forage on the tidal mudflats for polychaetes and mollusc. A few hours later when the water rolls in and submerge these mudflats at high tide, the birds need to find a roost to wait out the tides. Sungei Buloh serves to provide them this roost site within the ponds that have low water levels. And this is possible in Sungei Buloh, a forested mangrove area because of the network of existing bunds that have created ponds whose water levels can be regulated through the use of sluice channels and sluice gates (below).


Water levels in three brackish water ponds within the wetland are currently managed as a system on a fortnightly cycle generally between the shorebird migratory months of July and April. Outside of the migratory months, the water levels are generally not regulated and natural tidal influences are maintained. At no point in time are any of the three ponds mudflats submerged for more than four days (or left exposed to dry out for also more than four days). For perspective, there are five other brackish water ponds in the wetland whose water levels are not regulated at all and are subject only to natural tidal influence.

What might happen with respect to shorebirds should the water levels in all the ponds be left to natural tidal influences? The first effect would be the loss of valuable exposed mudflats for shorebirds to roost (and to a lesser degree, feed) on during high tide. These birds will have to find other areas to roost since the northern coastal flats of Singapore as well as Sungei Buloh would be submerged under water. And this will directly affect the number of shorebirds that are present (and can be observed) at Sungei Buloh during the high tide period. Should the shorebirds be unable to find alternative high tide roosts within close proximity to their feeding grounds, there is a possibility that the entire high tide roost cum feeding ground system (that is Sungei Buloh – Singapore north coast mudflats) may be abandoned for more suitable alternative systems in the region.

Tha above account and images are from the April 2007 issue of Wetlands, courtesy of the National Parks Board, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.

Collared Scops Owl: A failed nesting

posted in: Nesting-failed, Owls | 1

Collared Scops Owl (Otus bakkamoena) is a common resident. It is a small, stocky owl that got its name from the pale collar across the hind-neck. It is typically a nocturnal bird but during the daytime it can occasionally be seen dust and water bathing.

The nest is a tree-hole or hollow stump-top, usually 3-9 m up, devoid of any lining. It usually lays two near-spherical eggs – inside a cavity nest there is no danger of the eggs rolling off. The chicks are hatched blind and with a sparse covering of down. A second, thicker covering of down develops soon after.


In late March 2007 a nest was located in an old angsana tree (Pterocarpus indicus) when some pruning work was conducted on the tree in Mount Faber. The incubating bird suddenly flew off, thus exposing its nest site. The bird was nesting in a shallow cavity formed where the main branches develop from the top of the trunk. The image on the left shows the bird well camouflaged in the nest.

Because of the inaccessibility of the nest, it was decided not to document the stages.

Richard Nai of The Jewel Box kept a lookout of the owls and reported their presence throughout most of April. However, towards the end of the month the parent birds were not seen. It rained almost every day and there was the possibility of the nest being flooded.

The birds did not return subsequently and the landscaping workers managed to retrieve a single egg in a semi-flooded cavity.


The egg is near-spherical, white, plain, smooth and matt. It measures 34 x 29 mm (right top). There is a dead embryo inside, at an advanced stage of development, with traces of early down (right bottom).

Well, not every nesting ends in a success story. A high percentage fails, due to disturbance, weather conditions, egg predation, death of parental birds, etc.

Dr. Fazalur Rahman Mallick discovered the nesting; Richard Nai and Priscilla Pey of The Jewel Box provided progress reports and retrieved the damaged egg.

Yellow-vented Bulbul feeding snails to chick

posted in: Feeding chicks | 0

Photographer Wee Hiang Her captured a couple of shots of a Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier) feeding its chick with a batch of tiny snails and published the images in Avian Watch Asia’s website (left).

These freshwater or terrestrial molluscs, probably Melanoides sp., are usually found around drains, ponds and even moist soils in urban areas. The snails appear empty, and if so, then the adult is feeding its chicks calcium.

An earlier post document a male Oriental Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris) bringing to the female sealed inside her nesting cavity pieces of snail shells. This is not unusual as such behaviour in hornbills has also been reported in Malaysia

There are enough reports of birds consuming shells as well as other materials for their supply of calcium in the literature. Whether it is for the female during her long period of confined incubation or for the recently hatched chicks, the birds need this element for bone formation and egg laying.

At the same time the shells are useful as grit in the gizzard of the bird, assisting in the grinding of the food. Our field ornithologist Wang Luan Keng says that there were always pieces of shells in the gizzard whenever she dissected this organ.
Credit: Wee Hiang Her (images), Wang Luan Keng (comment).

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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