Cattail

posted in: Plants | 3

Cattail, also known as bulrush (Typha angustifolia) is an aquatic plant with 2 m long, narrow leaves that grow vertically up. The unisexual flowers are small and densely crowded along the end of an equally tall spike. The male flowers are crowded along the tip of the spike while the female flowers, appearing more compact, darker brown and distinctly cigar-like, are found below. The two types of flowers are separated by a short bare portion of the spike. The fruits are minute and covered with fluffy hairs that help them in wind dispersal.

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Scarlet-backed Flowerpeckers (Dicaeum cruentatum) regularly collect the hairy fruits when they ripen. These birds can be seen perching along the spike and carefully picking at the fluff. In the process they shake off more of the fruits than they collect. This no doubt helps in the natural dispersal of the fruits (below).

The fluff is used to line the inside of their pouch-like nests. Various sunbirds also use these fluff to line their nests.

According to our bird specialist, R. Subaraj, cattails make an excellent habitat for certain birds such as bitterns, reed-warblers and rails. They also provide a good hiding place for various waterbirds.

Sighting of Sooty-headed Bulbul

posted in: Species | 2

At about 4.00 pm on 12th December 2006, K.C. Tsang sighted a small flock of the birds at the Punggol grasslands just before the rain. As can be seen in the above image, the birds were caught in the rain, and trying to dry themselves.

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Sooty-headed Bulbuls (Pycnonotus aurigasteris) is native to Myanmar, South China and discontinuously through Southeast Asia to Java. The first sighting of this exotic species was reported in the early 1920s. The bird was recorded on and off, albeit rarely, throughout the remaining part of the century. A small feral population appears to have established in Tampines since 2003. Obviously the bird is breeding successfully.

According to our bird specialist R. Subaraj, “Sooty-headed Bulbuls (both gold-vented and red-vented forms) have occurred as escapees for many years now due to their popularity in the bird trade.

“In the 1970s, a feral population established itself and the species was listed on the Singapore checklist but that population apparently died out and the bulbul was subsequently removed from the list.

“There now appears to be a feral population in the Punggol-Serangoon area and a breeding record seems to have been obtained. As a result, it was been reinstated on to the Singapore checklist as a feral species in October.”

Jerdon’s Baza: Fourth sighting

posted in: uncategorised | 0

“On 1st Jan, New Year Day, I was alone birding at Lim Chu Kang as the usual birding kaki were either overseas or suffering from hang-over from the previous year’s indulgence.

“Just before 9.00 am, I caught sight of a raptor perched on a bare branch of an Albizia tree (Paraserianthes falcataria). Through the scope, the white tipped blackish crest was outstanding. I took a few shots but the bird had its back to me and the sun was not really favourable.

“Happy to have sighted the Jerdon Baza (Aviceda jerdoni), I took a loop trail hoping to get in front of it to have a better view but lost it. Shortly before 9.30 am I received a recall msg from home and had to turn back. On the way out, the raptor was back at the same perch. Perhaps another day.

“Viewing the not so sharp ID picture, there were doubts about the obvious shaded eye band of the bird – could it be a juvenile Rufous-bellied Eagle (Hieraaetus kienerii)? The best way was go find it again!

“The following morning Jia Sheng was with me at Lim Chu Kang. Moments after arrival, we spotted the raptor but it flew off (mid-canopy flight) in the opposite direction. Happy it was around, we continued with our birding routine hoping it would return. Around 11 am we decided to leave. On the way out, the raptor flew in and landed on a tree just behind me. Out of the tree another raptor flew off. There were two of them! The raptor which flew off landed on the same bare branch as previous but this time there was no eye band but again, its back was facing us. After a few shots it flew off.

“Following the flight, we spotted both raptors in a cluster of Albizia trees. They were behaving like what I’ve observed of parents and fledged juvenile White-bellied Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster). The juvenile raptor was trying to get close to the adult but every time it did, the adult would fly off, though never too far away.

“Later with the help of some experienced birders and sharper pictures taken by Jia Sheng, there was consensus about the raptors as an adult and a sub-adult. However, there was no frontal picture of the adult raptor. Hopefully someone could ID the sub-species.”

Happy Birding,
Danny Lau & Lau Jia Sheng.

This extremely rare passage migrant was spotted around the same area in early December 2006, the third time seen locally (see 1, 2 and 3). The current sighting by Danny Lau and his son Jia Sheng, less than a month later, would make it the fourth.

Our bird specialist, R. Subaraj has this to say: “Actually, the Jerdon’s Baza was always considered a sendentary resident until the first one turned up as a roadkill a few years ago. As there are only 4 records (I have only seen 2 photographed records), it is too premature to determine the true status of this species. Thus, we should not say passage migrant as we are unable to confirm this yet. I would consider this bird a scarce visitor for now until we can formulate a better impression with more confirmed records.”

Input and images by Danny Lau and his son Jia Sheng.

Oriental Pied Hornbill: Courtship at Changi

posted in: Courtship-Mating, Hornbills | 2

“Oriental Pied Hornbills (Anthracoceros albirostris) (above), Tanimbar Corellas (Cacatua goffini) and Red-breasted Parakeets (Psittacula alexandri) making loud squawking and screeching sounds got me to abandon my figging at Turnhouse Road in Changi last week. “The birds all seemed to have a stake in the two Heritage trees (above); the parakeet flew in and then out. Eventually the corellas settled for the smaller cavity in the Gluta malayana while the bigger hornbills claimed the bigger hollow in the Shorea gibbosa tree. “The male hornbill waited outside while his female disappeared into the Shorea cavity (above, left). After a while he flew off and brought back a red fruit, possibly jumbu bol (Syzygium malaccense) which he fed to the female when she peered out from the tree-hole (above, right). It must be quite spacious in there because the male had to dip his head right into the hollow before she reappeared. They flew off after a while. An hour later they were back again for another short visit.

“I’m wondering if these activities in the hollow of the Shorea will harm the tree. Although there are only a few short branches high up there, clumps of fresh young leaves are growing at the ends. The Gluta seems to fare better with more foliage.

“Has the courtship ended? And then will the female be sealed in?”

Angie Ng
27th November 2006

Note: Oriental Pied Hornbills are getting common on mainland Singapore. There is an earlier account on the courtship behaviour of a pair at Changi, seen in October 2006.

Input and images by Angie Ng.

Retraction of the first record of Long-billed Plover for Singapore

posted in: Waders | 1

On 24th February 1990, Volker Konrad encountered and photographed a plover new to Singapore at Changi. He sent his observation, including a picture, to the Singapore Records Committee set up by the Bird Group of the Nature Society (Singapore). The committee identified the bird as a Long-billed Plover (Charadrius placidus). This was reported in the Singapore Avifauna 11(4) that appeared only seven years later.

Subsequently Konrad published his finding, based on the identification provided, in the Oriental Bird Club’s scientific journal, Forktail (2005).

In the December 2006 issue of the OBC’s bulletin, BirdingASIA, Paul J. Leader, a birder based in Hongkong, successfully challenged the identification of the bird. According to Leader, the bird seen in Singapore way back in 1990 was actually a Kentish Plover (C. alexandrnius), not a Long-billed.

Konrad, the birder who sighted the bird at Changi, has so far retracted his published record and according to Birding ASIA, “…the Singapore Records Committee (Nature Society Singapore) now agrees that this record concerns the Kentish Plover.”

Well and good. A mistake has been rectified. There were no ornithologists in the Singapore Records Committee then, only experienced recreational birders. Even if there were, the best of ornithologists do sometimes make mistakes in identification.

It may therefore be a good idea if in future, to avoid mistakes as much as possible, the photographs of rarities reported are sent for their opinions to leading ornithologists overseas who have long experience of birds in Asia.

According to our bird specialist, R. Subaraj, “To put everything in perspective, regardless of the status of local records, the only confirmed Malaysian record is of one at Tanjong Rhu, Pulau Langkawi, on 19th March 1968 (Wells, 1999).

“This far south, many vagrants occur in heavily moulted, winter or juvenile plumages and this emphasises the value of exercising great caution when considering such records. One must always seek advise from those with greater experience and knowledge of such birds!”

References
Konrad, V. (2005). First record of Long-billed Plover Charadris placidus in Singapore. Forktail 21:181-182.
Leader, P.J. (2006). Comments on the purported first record of Long-billed Plover for Singapore. BirdingASIA 6: 45-47.
Wells, D.R. (1999). The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsular. Vol. I, Non-passerines. Academic Press, London.

Romancing ‘Laura’ – the Yellow-vented Bulbul

There are several species of birds in Malaysia that are often seen flying in pairs. Some pair for life, some for several seasons and some just a single season only. The Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pyconontus goiavier) is just about the most frequently seen paired resident species in my area and this particular pair catches my eye for some particular reason (below). They became frequent visitors and nesters in my private garden balcony the last few years that we decided to name them Laurie and Laura.

The birds took up residence besides a family of White-rumped Munias (Lonchura striata). Every hanging fern species that thrives in the balcony carries a nesting history. Some of the nests were made over from previous season. Last year, no nesting was observed. While the environment remained peaceful and conducive to raising their brood, Laurie and Laura did not bring in any nesting materials. I began wondering why and soon found out.

Since last September 2006, tinkling sounds, ‘tink.-tink-tink’ were heard coming from the driveway. Initially I passed then off to be a dribbling garden tap with droplets of water hitting a hollow tin can. It continued intermittently during the daytime and for several consecutive days until the sounds got into my nerves’ edge and I simply had to investigate.

A fascinating and entertaining observation of endearing avian showmanship followed.

It was Laurie, the male Yellow-vented Bulbul who flew into the driveway and became fascinated with the winged mirror of my parked vehicle (above). He perched and stared so hard onto the shiny chromed mirror as though to say, ‘I wish, I wish… mm… Am I the most handsome guy in town?’

Laurie was not alone. He flew in with Laura but she decided to take to a more discreet and observation perch on the Christmas tree, about 15 feet away. Laurie with his broad and black loral stripe, stared into the mirror and saw another competitor, a look alike and furiously began pecking vigorously at the chromed mirror. He was pecking at a brown feathery bird – his own reflection!

Over the period of weeks, Laurie became extremely obsessed with the winged mirror – his competitor. He continued relentlessly to impress Laura and showed off his skills of showmanship by roll flying around the mirror, performing balancing tricks, tap dancing and doing the flamenco, ballet and butterfly stance to just name a few (above). He was working and trying very hard to be the hero.

Occasionally, Laurie would pause to await and listen for the approval of ‘Bravo! Bravo!’ coming from Laura’s chirping calls (above). Laurie would courteously give a bow showing his broad striped dark crown and threw a deep side glance at his ‘competitor’ as if to say, ‘Hey! This is my territory and that’s my gal, so clear off!

Laurie did not fail to soil the mirror to get the message over and would end his performance by shining his yellow vent at my scope to ensure I did not miss out his bright rear plumage (above).

Is this a kind of challenging courtship display or is Laurie a weirdo with an obsession?

I wonder if Laura is tired of seeing Laurie’s repeated performances. He was unperturbed by the family’s pet dog who had seen them all and more often than I had witnessed. She would just lie in the garage, her right ear cocked up and eyes rolled to the rhythm of Laurie’s performances just 8 feet away. At times, I could hear her sighed aloud as if to say, ‘Oh, for heaven’s sake not again, bird!’

My camera certainly did not give up that easily but provided additional silhouette shots through my spotting scope to look like an evening performance of a Yellow-vented Bulbul, romancing his beau with a repertoire of courtship tap dancing!

I found out these birds disliked my ornamental Chinese bronzed bells with red tassels hung in the balcony garden, beginning of last year. I had them removed recently. Soon enough, they both flew in to prospect a new nesting site.

It was ‘Home Sweet Home….’

SUBMITTED BY: DAISY O’NEILL (Avian Writer), PENANG, MALAYSIA.
21st January 2007

Check out our earlier postings on how birds react when they see their reflections on a mirror: (1 and 2).

Starfruit tree

posted in: Plants | 5

The starfruit tree (Averrhoa carambola) grows wild in Java and possibly in Borneo and the Philippines. However, there are people who believe that it originated from tropical America. Whatever its origin, the tree has been in cultivation for centuries and it has been grown in Singapore for a very long time.

This bushy, 15 metres tall tree is grown for its fruits that may be sweet or sour, depending on the cultivar (left). The tree flowers and fruits regularly throughout the year. The lilac flowers are small and borne in loose bunches (below). The fruit has five deep wings along its length and in cross-section appears star-shaped, thus the common name. It ripens golden yellow.

I have the tree growing in my garden for years now. The ripe fruits have always been attacked by fruit flies, falling on the ground to rot. It was some years ago that I noticed green, unripe fruits littering the ground below, always partley eaten.

And then I noticed the visits of the noisy, white Tanimbar Corella (Cacatua goffini), an exotic species (below). These corella prefer the green, unripe fruits to the succulent ripe ones. They are wasteful eaters, pecking out pieces and leaving the many partly eaten fruits to rot below the tree.

It would appear that this corella has exploited a food niche that other species of birds have been avoiding. It has similarly taking to eating the green pong pong fruits (Cerbera odollam) that no animals had previously been eating (see 1 and 2).

The flowers of the starfruit tree attract ants, bees, moths and others (above), and these insects in turn attract birds. But I have so far failed to see many birds on this tree besides the corella. Except the smallish Common Tailorbird (Orthotomus sutorius) that regularly visits the tree, quietly gleaning for insects. The bird in the photo below is a male in breeding plumage, with long central tail feather and blackish sides to the neck.

Now who says exotic plants do not attract wildlife?

If any birders have observed other birds visiting this tree, please leave your input here. Thanks.

Input and images by YC.

Javan Myna

posted in: Nesting | 1

“It is perhaps by some freak chance that I actually chose to figure out where the incessant kaeeu kaeeu kaeeu sounds were coming from, and that I had the patience to wait quietly, hidden, till the creature appeared. After a minute or so, I noticed some movement on the roof of a nearby house. It was a Javan Myna (Acridotheres javanicus). Soon after, two myna nestlings appeared from the small cavity under the “wavy” roof tile (below). I moved in closer to get a better view, rather conspicuously I might add, and consequently startled the wary adult. It fluttered and stood on the roof, and then took off to a nearby grass patch, its eyes fixed on me.

“It was only then I realize what I had discovered – it was a myna’s nest! Mynas, like many members of the Starling Family are hole-nesters. While some species may not be obligate hole-nesters, others often take advantage of such cavities, whether man-made or natural. This is reflected in the unmarked, blue eggs laid by Javan Mynas, which indicates the reduced need for camouflage for cavity nesters.

“This was a chance discovery, so I wasn’t blessed with the opportunity to clarify incubation periods. Neither would the eggs be openly viewable, in any case. According to the literature, Javan Mynas lay a clutch of 2–5 eggs at a time and incubate for 13–14 days in captivity. It is also probable that Javan Mynas, like many species of Asian sturnids, both sexes participate in incubating, though males contribute for only a portion of the day. This is unconfirmed and almost impossible to determine, as both sexes look identical and the nest is concealed.

“Juveniles, unlike the adults, are paler and browner, and has a white iris (as compared to the lemon yellow iris of adults). The bird on the right (above) seems to be older and more active. My personal observation is that there appears to be many more juveniles during these few months. It is thus tempting for me to assume that breeding season is in the later part of the year. Would any ornithologist like to clarify or correct this?

“As and after the juveniles fledge, they continue to be fed by the adults (above). Such food, which includes seeds, fruits or insects, is given whole and not regurgitated (at least at this stage). Pleas for food (kaeeu kaeeu kaeeu) are accompanied by the youngster’s half-flaps and wing “quivering”. This parent totally ignores the youngster.”

Lim Jun Ying
3rd January 2007

Input and images by Lim Jun Ying except bottom image by YC.

Antics of the Pied Fantail

posted in: Feeding strategy | 2

The Pied Fantail (Rhipidura javanica) is a small bird that is never still. The bird is constantly moving around, at the same time turning from side to side in a jerky way, lowering its wings, cocking up its head and constantly fanning its tail – opening and closing.

It moves alone or in pairs, disturbing insects among vegetation with its movements and the fanning of the tail, to sally forth once an insect is disturbed from its rest. Sometimes it perches on a branch, but never remaining in one place for long, to hawk for flies and other insects.

Its antics are always amusing to watch. So much so that the Malays call it merbok gila, gila meaning mad. It is also known as murai gila, meaning crazy songbird or thrush.

K.C. Tsang wrote: “This bird, according to the books, is supposed to be found in most areas in Singapore, from mangrove swamps, to parks, to gardens etc. In reality I have found it in the Singapore Botanic Gardens and Sg. Buloh Wetland Reserve. Maybe it has been hiding from me in, say, MacRitchie and other reservoirs. Also, I have found that it shares the same kind of food as the Ashy Tailorbird (Orthotomus ruficeps), taking insects from under leaf cover.

“It is an extremely shy bird and rarely do you find it out from under the cover of dense vegetation.”

Our bird specialist R. Subaraj replies: “It is primarily a mangrove species but is also found in smaller numbers in various parts of Singapore. They are commonest at places like Sungei Buloh, Pulau Ubin, Pasir Ris mangrove and other natural coastal areas. Inland sites include Singapore Botanic Gardens, Bukit Batok Nature Park and many of the areas that support old abandoned farmland, particularly where there is water.

“Although it is occasionally found on the edge, where old farmland exists, this species does not normally occur within our true forested areas and this includes most of the margins of the reservoirs within the Central Catchment, including MacRitchie.

“On the balance of things here, this is still a common and fairly widespread bird.”

Images by Chan Yoke Meng.

Changeable Hawk-eagle attacking colugo

posted in: Feeding-vertebrates, Raptors | 2

Colugo or flying lemur (Cynocephalus variegates) is a mammal that goes back to ancient times (left). Colugo is a better name as flying lemur can be misleading. Why? True lemurs are primates that are only found in the island of Madagascar. The images below show the Ring-tailed Lemur (Lemur catta), a true lemur, basking in the sun (below, left) and huddling from the cold (below, right).

Colugo is also a mammal but it is neither a lemur nor a primate. It belongs to a separate order of its own, the Dermoptera (Greek derma = skin; ptera = wing). It does not fly but actually glides. This it does with the help of a special membrane that extends from the neck region to the fore feet and the hind feet and thence to the tip of the tail (below the lemurs).

In Singapore, Colugo is found in the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and the Central Catchment Forest.

Hot from the press is a book on this fascinating animal, written by Norman Lim with Morten Strange as editor (left). The book is published by Draco Publishing and Distribution Pte. Ltd. in conjunction with Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore. It is currently available at the Botanic Gardens Shop, Nature’s Niche.

The diet of this animal is mainly leaves, young shoots and flowers of selected plants. During the day it rest high up in the tree, clinging to a tree trunk or hiding in a tree hole. Comes dusk, it becomes active, gliding from tree trunk to tree trunk. The young is carried clinging to the flight membrane.

Cited in the book is a report by Tan Choo Eng; “On Aug 6, 2006, I was at an uncompleted stretch of the new Baling Gerik highway on the Perak section in Peninsular Malaysia together with two other members of the Malaysian Nature Society. We witnessed a Changeable Hawk-eagle (Spizaetus cirrhatus, pale morph) attack a Colugo.

“After the failed attack, the Colugo stayed motionless (11am) on an exposed mid section of a tree trunk for about 40 minutes, even after the threat was gone (11.40am). Then it scampered up the tree trunk and glided into some more leafy trees.”

The image on the left is that of a Changeable Hawk-eagle, pale morph.

Images from top, of Colugo clinging on to tree trunk and palm frond by Johnny Wee, Ring-tailed Lemur by YC; Colugo gliding by YC; book cover by Morten Strange; and Changeable Hawk-eagle by Johnny Wee.

26 Responses

  1. kris

    I just found a young dollarbird in the garden.. It seems to have left the nest too early and cannot fly yet. How am i to keep and feed it for a few days untill it can fly.???

  2. Iwan

    We have a small pond in our garden surrounded by trees and steep bedrock. The other day we saw a heron flying over and attempting to land – I guess to try to eat our small stock of fish. We managed to frighten it away before it landed, and have since installed trip wires around the pond in order to dissuade the bird. The amount of shelter around the pond means that a heron would have to land practically vertically. Does anyone know whether these birds have the agility to hover and land in this way, or do they always need a “glidepath” in order to land successfully?

  3. Khng Eu Meng

    Today, at the former Bidadari Cemetery, there was a buzz about a sighting of a Grey Nightjar (Caprimulgus jotaka). I heard some birders say this nightjar isn’t commonly seen in Singapore. After some hunting, we spotted it asleep on a tree branch, some 15 m above ground. This was rather interesting as my previous encounters with nightjars have been on either terra firma or on low branches.

    Is this perching so high up the tree normal or is it unusual? I have posted a photo of it on my Facebook Timeline: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151125012234135&set=a.108191464134.96538.617499134&type=1&theater

  4. Jess

    Bird Sanctuary At Former Bidadari Cementry

    1)Which is the best spot in Bidadari cemetery for bird watch?

    2)Where this bird usually resident at?

    3)What are some of the rare bird species that can be found at Bidadari?

    4)Where is the particular hot spot for the hornbills, eagles, kingfishers and some of the rare migratory bird?

    5)Which part of Bidadari are richest in it wildlife?

    6)Can you name me the 59 migratory bird species found?

  5. YC

    Why not search the website using the word ‘Bidadari’ to obtain the information you need. There should be sufficient info in past postings to satisfy you.

  6. Firdaus Razak

    Hai, I just want to ask did anybody had an experience bring bird from oversea via MasKargo? Did the bird will stress at high altitude?

  7. Chung Wah

    Hi, I am new to bird photography! Could anyone advise a good pair of binoculars to get for this hobby?

  8. Geam Liang

    I ‘acquired’ a female Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot 5 days ago – was in a public place when the bird flew overhead hit the wall and dropped right in front of me dazed. I picked it up, it appeared unhurt but could not sustain it’s flight. I have since constructed a fairly large ‘cage’ for it, about 4ft x 2fx x 2ft and placed it there last night. I temporarily placed her in a normal bird cage until I had completed the build.
    From what I have read up, it’s a fruit, seed and insect feeder and also nectar, flower buds. It’s doing as well as it can on bananas, papaya, jack-fruit (didn’t touch the grape) and seeds (black and white sunflower and other smaller ones). It loves to bathe so I’ve gotten it a tray and from what I read it’s important to keep things clean as it easily succumbs to infection.
    Does anyone else have any useful experience and sharing on it’s upkeep? I suspect this bird is an escapee – as far as I can read up, it’s not common, if at all, found in Georgetown, Penang where I am. I’m also not optimistic that it can survive if I were to set it free – assuming it can sustain it’s flight and not go crashing down and if there were dogs/cats around that would be the end of it.
    I can attach some pictures but not sure how to do this…
    thanks.

  9. Lee Chiu San

    The blue-crowned hanging parrot, even though very closely related to the lovebirds, is a nectar feeder. You would raise it the way you raise a lorikeet – which is a messy process. And because you are mixing batches of food for just one little bird, whereas I used to do it for about half a dozen pigeon-sized lorikeets each morning, I don’t know how you are going to get the portions down to manageable sizes. Anyway, here goes, with my recipe for feeding big lories. You can adjust the proportions down accordingly for your little bird.

    The staple diet would be a couple of slices of soft fruit (papaya, apple, grapes, even though I am surprised that you said the bird would not eat any) and a mixture of cooked rice sweetened with nectar mix.

    How to make nectar mix? Go to a pharmacy and get a can of food for invalids or infants. I use Complan, but I am sure any good baby formula would do. I usually make up enough to fill a beer mug, but there is no way you need that amount for a day’s feeding. If in doubt, make the mixture thinner, not thicker. Birds cannot digest baby formula that is too thick. If it is too thin, they simply have to consume more to get the required amount of energy. Then to this mug, add half a teaspoonful of rose syrup. Also stir in about a cup of cooked rice, well mashed up.

    In the case of your bird, I suggest that you pour this lot into an ice-cube tray, freeze the mixture, and defrost one cube to feed it each day.

    Now, you said that this bird eats sunflower seeds. This is most unusual for a blue-crowned hanging parrot. Are you sure that this is actually the species you have? Could it be possible that you have actually got a pet lovebird that escaped? There are so many different artificially-created breeds of lovebirds in so many colours that you might have been mistaken.

    If you actually have a lovebird, feeding is much simpler. Just go to the nearest pet shop, buy a packet of budgerigar or cockatiel seed of a reputable international brand, and offer it to the bird. You can supplement this with a couple of slices of fruit each day, and that will be all. Plus of course fresh water and a piece of cuttlefish bone to nibble on.

  10. Lee Chiu San

    About nectar feeding birds. I forgot to add that feeding nectar is messy, and it goes rancid very quickly in our tropical weather. Feeding containers have to be removed and thoroughly cleaned at the end of each day. The birds also splatter the mixture and wipe their beaks on perches and the bars of the cage. All my lories and lorikeets used to be housed in outdoor aviaries which were hosed down daily.

    If Geam Liang does not think the bird will survive if released, I really hope that it is a case of mistaken identity, and that you have a lovebird, rather than a blue-crowned hanging parrot. In our part of the world, all available lovebirds are domestically bred, take to captivity readily, and are easy to feed with commercially available seed mixtures. Yes, and being domestic pets, they would not survive if released.

  11. Geam Liang

    Thank you Chiu San for your inputs. Thus far, bananas and papayas work well. I’m not sure why it did not take to grapes – will try again. Am I supposed to peel it? I didn’t the last time, basically skewered a couple of grapes to a satay stick and positioned it as I did for the sliced and skinned papaya and peeled bananas.
    I have yet to try rice and certainly not nectar but will try out your concoction – have half a mind to go to a pet shop to see if they carry nectar for birds. The ice-cube freeze method is a good one, will try that. I might be mistaken on the sunflower seeds… not touched but it did eat the much smaller roundish, mixed colored seeds. Will remove the sunflower seeds.
    I’m sure it’s a female blue crowned hanging parrot.. it sleeps like a bat every night.

  12. Lee Chiu San

    When feeding local birds which are unfamiliar with imported fruits such as grapes, it helps to split the fruits to expose the edible parts. As to your remark that the bird sleeps hanging upside down like a bat, yes, that is the way blue-crowned hanging parrots sleep.

  13. Geam Liang

    Thanks… I need to think like a bird – yup. She has probably not seen a grape much less know that it’s edible, unless the previous owner has fed her with grapes… even then… Today she’s done pretty well making the most of the banana and all of the papaya plus quite a bit of seeds. Will try the baby food + mashed rise + rose syrup.
    Will regular honey do instead of rose syrup?
    Thanks.

  14. Lee Chiu San

    About making nectar to feed birds. Most aviculturalists do not use honey for two reasons: 1. It is expensive and does not seem to give any added benefits. 2. Honey is made by bees, and the composition varies wildly. Some honeys are also known to cause fungal infection in birds.

    If you do not want to buy a huge bottle of rose syrup just for one tiny bird, there are cheaper alternatives. The first is plain table sugar, though most don’t seem to like it very much.

    What many birds will accept quite readily as a sweetener is condensed milk – the type with sugar that coffee shop owners use.

    Many, many birds have a sweet tooth (or should I say sweet beak?) Besides the usual suspects of lories, lorikeets, sunbirds and hummingbirds, for whom it is an essential part of the diet, nectar mixture is readily consumed by mynahs, leafbirds, fairy bluebirds, barbets, doves, parrots of all kinds, and a whole host of other species.

  15. Geam Liang

    I tried the condensed mild, placed in in a small bottle cap.. only the ants showed interest. Am I supposed to dilute it? I didn’t =( I took you advice and refrained from honey. Have yet to find Rose Syrup from the shelves of TESCO… will try to mix the baby food + mashed rise + rose syrup/sugar syrup this week…

  16. David Thackray

    Can anyone help me identify a bird I saw in Singapore last week. Size of a smakll dove or thrush. Dark metallic back. Grey breast with red throat, chest.

  17. Emily Koh

    Lately I bought a bird feeder which I fill with 4parts water n 1 part white sugar. Sunbirds come regularly to drink and they are really lovely to watch. May I know if it is bad for them to feed on this? Previously they would sometimes pierce and drink from my potted flowers

  18. Emily Koh

    Lately I bought a bird feeder which I fill with 4parts water n 1 part white sugar. Sunbirds come regularly to drink and they are really lovely to watch. May I know if it is bad for them to feed on this? Previously they would sometimes pierce and drink from my potted flowers.

  19. Mahadevi Bhuti

    One of best souce for the bird watcher’s enjoying knowledge about ornithology

  20. Martin Nyffeler (PhD)

    Dear Sir / Dear Madame,

    I am a Senior Lecturer in Zoology at a University in Switzerland and I urgently need to get in touch with photographer Chan Yoke Meng, who takes beautiful photographs of birds near Singapore. Would you please mail me the email address of this photographer!

    Thanks,
    Martin

  21. Wee Ming

    Hello Besgroup,

    Trust this email finds you well. We chance upon your photograph on your website and found the amazing image of the Laced Woodpecker and durians. We would like to explore the possibility of getting permission to use them for a new Bird Park in Singapore.

    Spacelogic is a company based in Singapore and we have been contracted by Mandai Park Development to carry out design and build works relating to the exhibition interpretive displays in this new Bird Park.

    Some background of the new Mandai Bird Park project; it will build upon the legacy of the Jurong Bird Park – https://www.wrs.com.sg/en/jurong-bird-park.html by retaining and building upon a world-reference bird collection and creating a place of colour and joy for all visitors. The new Bird Park will have a world-reference ornithological collection displayed in a highly immersive way with large walk-through habitats. To enhance visitors’ experience with storyline and narrative of the bird park, transition spaces are added to display exhibits that provide a varied type of fun, intuitive, interactive and educational experiences for all visitors. One of the habitats features the Laced Woodpecker on a flora panel It is in this flora panel that we are seeking your permission to feature the Laced Woodpecker. We are looking to use the first image on the link here.
    Link can be found here: https://besgroup.org/2012/06/28/laced-woodpecker-and-durians/

    We would like to ask if this is something that we can explore further and if yes, how can we go about with putting through a formal permission request. Thank you so much for considering our request and we look forward to hearing from you.

    Warmest Regards,
    Wee Ming
    SPACElogic Pte Ltd

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