Laughing Kookaburra

posted in: Feeding-vertebrates, Kingfishers | 0

The kookaburras are the largest members of the kingfisher family and they are heard as much as they are seen. The Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae) is well known for its loud crackling laugh, usually heard at dawn and dusk. At other times during the day, sudden outbursts may occur when the bird succeeds in capturing a prey.

The bird that Gloria Seow saw in the Blue Mountains in New South Wales, Australia in September 2005 did just that. Despite having a field mouse clamped tightly between the mandibles, the bird was making its infamous laugh.

The bird usually perches for long periods on a branch or tree stump keeping both eyes open for any possible prey. Once it spots one, it pounces on it to take it in its bill. Small items are swallowed whole while large prey are beaten against the ground or taken back to the perch where it is first bashed against a branch before swallowing. It takes frogs, lizards, snakes, insects, snails and even small birds and their eggs.

Generally these birds are tame and allow one to come quite near. Thus Gloria was able to come pretty close to take the picture above using a x6 zoom camera.

The bird was perching on an eucalyptus tree (Eucalyptus sp.), also known as a gum tree. Thus Gloria actually saw the kookaburra “sitting on an old gum tree” alright. And heard it laughing.

Input and image by Gloria Seow.

Common Moorhen

posted in: Interspecific, Nesting, Raptors | 3

The Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) is a bird of wetlands. It is easily recognised from its red bill and prominent shield against a blackish plumage (above). The juvenile is dark brown and pale below, with an olive bill and without the prominent shield (below).

Allan Teo recently spent over three hours in a rice field in Malaysia observing a family of Common Moorhens. Enclosed within his cameo sheet hide and comfortably seated on his field chair, he set up his equipment and waited patiently for the family to reappear. His camera was directed at the exact spot where the birds were earlier foraging, but went into hiding among the rice plants when he appeared.

The birds benefitted from the limited shelter provided by the rice plants but the shelter was not dense to totally cover them up. The birds were shy and skittish, moving between the narrow spaces where the plants were sparse and swimming in small pools where the plants were absent or trampled (above).

The parents were always on the lookout for danger, especially from the many raptors that roamed the sky above. Besides, there were also other predators among the paddy.

As Allan recounts, “It took about 20 minutes from my arrival and installation of the hide before the parent birds reappeared. They cautiously emerged from between the rice plants. They swam around in the pool of water for 5-10 minutes before they called for the chicks to come out from among the rice plants.”

All the time the chicks stayed hidden among the tall rice plants, staying very still. They were not visible at all. Cautiously, they emerged, entering the water only when the parents coaxed them (above). Every 10-15 minutes the chicks would touch beaks with the parents, probably for re-assurance.

Then suddenly from above, there appeared a black kite with its head looking downwards at its flight path (above). It must have spotted the moorhens. Immediately the family scrambled for cover and disappeared form sight.

Large migratory raptors like Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus) [Please see HERE] and Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis) can easily take an adult moorhen. In the above image, the former is clutching a bird in its talons with the latter trying to snatch it or to make it drop its prey. There were also White-bellied Sea Eagles (Haliaeetus leucogaster) above, patrolling the area over the rice fields the year round. These birds have sharp eyes and can easily spot the moorhens.

When the coast was clear, the cycle repeated itself – the parents came out alone, tested the waters after which they called the chicks out to the water and performed the re-assurance ritual of touching beaks.

Moorhen chicks are precocial, meaning that they hatch in a relatively developed state, with the body covered with down and the eyes open (above). They leave the nest soon after hatching, usually after one to two days, swimming by the third and diving by the eighth. Both parents feed and care for the chicks. Immature birds of the previous brood as well as adults of the group may also chip in. Brooding may continue until about 14 days. The chicks can feed by themselves around 21-25 days but continue to be fed for up to 45 days. They fledge at 45-50 days.

The chick above is one of four from a family of the moorhen Allan spotted. There were at least three families in all.

Around the end of October 2006 Cheong Weng Chun also encountered Common Moorhens in the paddy fields of Malacca, Malaysia (below). The parent birds were feeding the chicks with apple snails that were collected from the shallow areas. Only small snails were selected, the larger ones were not taken. Weng Chun thinks that the shell of the smaller snails is probably softer than that of the bigger ones.

Input by Allan Teo and Cheong Weng Chun. Images by Weng Chun (top two and bottom) and Allan (the rest).

Nesting of Dollarbirds

posted in: Nesting | 3

Dollarbirds (Eurystomus orientalis) are hole nesters. They do not excavate their own nests but make use of old nests made by woodpeckers and barbets. The nests can be in a dead tree or tree trunk or in living trees but the nest seen by Jonathan Cheah in late April and early May 2006 was the rotting top of a palm stem, probably a nibong (Oncosperma sp.).

The nest is usually unlined and the bird lays a clutch of two white eggs, although in this case only one chick developed. Both parent birds helped in the feeding of the chick. What they brought were mainly insects, high protein food.

As rollers generally eject pellets of the undigested insects that they ate earlier, it would be interesting for future observers to note whether the chicks also cast pellets.

Our bird specialist R. Subaraj has added that Dollarbirds commonly nest at the top of rotting coconut trunks.

Input and images by Jonathan Cheah; comment by R Sunaraj

Frolicking Black-naped Orioles

posted in: Species | 0

During the months of February and March 2006 there were always a few Black-naped Orioles (Oriolus chinensis) perched on the fronds of my palms every morning. Most mornings I was awaken by the loud fluty whistles of these attractive yellow birds. The duetting lasted at least 10-15 minutes before the birds flew off to some other trees to continue with their singing.

On and off one or more birds would return during the late morning, making loud sounds or singing. Sometimes a small flock of up to eight birds would frolic around, flying from tree to tree. Two to three birds would frolic together, chasing one another as they expertly maneuvered with wings outstretched, flying between trees, to end up on either the palms in my garden or the wayside trees along the road.

At times when I was around observing their antics, they would fly close to me, making high pitch sounds as they pass close by. On and off, two of the flying birds would make contacts, either in fun or otherwise.

When not making their maneuvers, a pair would duet, one making a short call to have a reply.

Whether they are playing, doing their courtship things or two males confronting each other, I do not know.

According to our bird specialist R. Subaraj, this was still the migratory season and the birds could possibly be migrants.

Input and images by YC Wee.

Nest of the tailorbird

posted in: Nests | 4

An abandoned tailorbird nest was found by Melinda Chan’s friend among the bushy simpoh air (Dillenia suffruticosa). The large leaf of the plant was folded and the edge neatly stitched together using spider webs that were threaded through holes made for the purpose. Within the resulting pouch was the oval nest, 12 cm long, 6.5 cm at the upper broader end and 4.5 cm at the narrower end. The nest opening was 5 x 4.5 cm and 6 cm deep.

Nesting materials consisted of dried grasses, plant fibres and other plant materials. The white winged seeds of African tulip (Spathodea campanulata) figured prominently among the brown materials.

Inside the nest were two un-hatched eggs. The eggs were empty and had holes on the shell. A slug was seen inside the nest feasting on the damaged eggs.

Note: When smaller leaves are used to build the nest, more than one leaf may be involved. A commonly used material to line the nest is the fibres of the kapok tree (Ceiba pentandra). These nests are usually built less than a metre from the ground. The stitched part of the leaf is usually facing downwards such that the nest is kept dry from the rain.

Input and images by Meng and Melinda Chan (except bottom image by YC Wee).

Tricks of the trade: 1. A photographer’s questionable method

posted in: Illegal-Irresponsible | 1

At Punggol Park in late September 2006, some enthusiastic but misguided person has interfered with the nesting of a sunbird in order to get his or her perfect shot.

The nest was attached to a bulrush reed (Typha sp.) that was growing by the water’s edge. The photographer, obviously troubled by the constant swaying of the reed and nest, solved the problem by tying the stem where the nest was attached to the surrounding plants.

It was possible that the reed where the nest was attached was subsequently cut and firmly secured to a bunch of other reeds, again to ensure that there was minimum swaying of the nest with every breeze.

The nest was then still active as a female sunbird was seen flying back and forth from the nest. There must have been eggs inside, or else chicks.

A week later the nest appeared ‘loosened’ and abandoned.

The bottom portion of the nest was damaged, possibly by predators – whether two-legged or four legged cannot be established. The nest contents were probably gone.

Now can we blame the birds for building their nest by the water’s edge where people are constantly moving around? Do we blame the guilty person for such unethical method to get perfect shots of the nesting birds?

One happy photographer has obtained his/her perfect shots. But one nesting effort has gone to waste. Pity!

November 2006

Oriental Scops-owl: The bird

posted in: Owls | 2

The Oriental Scops-owl (Otus sunia), a smallish bird (16-20 cm) that is a winter visitor and passage migrant to Singapore, was sighted on 12th November 2006 at MacRitchie.

It roosts in holes or against tree trunks or even under dense foliage. When sighted, the owl was on a branch of a tembusu tree (Fagraea fragrans). When it realised that is was spotted, it remained quietly on the branch, eyeing suspiciously the birders around. Although its eyes were half-opened, it continuously kept track of the people around. When more people arrived, the bird remained unconcerned, or so it seemed. This could be because its perch was high enough to be well away from the birders below.

According to the literature, it assumes a “tall-thin” posture when spotted. This it does by stretching vertically, compressing its plumage and erecting its ear tufts. At the same time it keeps its eyes almost closed.

Thus most of the images show this phase, the body slim, the plumage compressed and the ear tufts erect (above and below). However, a few images taken some time after most of the people drifted off showed the owl in a more relaxed mood. It’s body was puffed up but the ear tufts were still erect.

Oriental Scops-owl takes a wide variety of prey, especially insects and spiders. It also eats moths, beetles, cicadas, grasshoppers and small rodents and birds. It generally hunts from a perch, swooping down to catch prey on the ground, in flight or from the forest canopy.

And according to KC Tsang, “…it was an adult Rufous Morph, but I am not sure if it is of the stictonotus race.”

Warning on owl pellets: Owl pellets may contain harmful and dangerous bacteria such as salmonella and hantavirus that can cause mild influenza to respiratory and kidney failure. Do not handle with the bare hands and wear a dust mask. Pellets should be wrapped in aluminum foil, heated in a conventional oven for 45-60 minutes at 300ºF (approx. 150ºC). Only then should you examine the contents, usually small bones. So birders, be warned! Source: “Owls: A wildlife handbook by Kim Long, Johnson Books, Boulders.”

Input by Melinda Chan, KC Tsang and YC. Images by Chan Yoke Meng.

Oriental Scops-owl: Addendum

posted in: Owls | 8

“Since the posting of the signting of the Oriental Scops-owl (Otus sunia) and the discussion on past records, R. Subaraj has responded with the following;

“With regards to the Oriental Scops-owl article posted in the blog, I have the following comments.

1. The latest record of sighting on 12th November is not the earliest date. I finally managed to dig up the details. The bird that crashed into a house at Jalan Belatok, off Upper Changi Rd (an additional location) did so on November 9th 2003 and was found by Chew Ping Ting. I retrieved it, fed it and then sent it to Sg Buloh Wetland Reserve, where they measured, weighed and ringed it before releasing it. This would therefore be the earliest date of arrival of the owl.

2. Prof Sodhi’s mist-netted bird was also from the mid-1990s and was captured near Upper Peirce (another additional location).

3. Old museum specimens, without specific sites but labeled “Singapore”, have always been suspicious as the actual location of collection may not have been Singapore, as in those days, specimens were often labeled as being from the country where they were processed or shipped, due to lack of more information.

4. Luan Keng’s opinion about races is that of an academic… definitely not that of a field person. Feld researchers/observers use all field identification markings available to determine facts, including the race of a bird. The race of a bird tells us quite a bit including where the bird is from and whether there are behavioural differences with other races. Through field studies, much information can be learnt. Determining true species should not be dependent on DNA alone but should include morphological studies as well. Many of the world’s top specialists are using a combination of both in their field research and to make decisions about species.

At the end of the day, the Oriental Scops-owl has helped highlight and confirm just how fragmented the local bird (and nature) community really is, as different factions have different ideas of just how many records of the species really exist for Singapore… and none are accurate and up-dated! Not everyone wants to share and combine their data or knowledge and we find ourselves truly lacking the accuracy that once was. Why? Different reasons really… elitism, ego, keeping secrets before publication… you name it. It all exists and is part of the ongoing saga of this soap opera!”

Comments by YC:
1. It may not be fair to say all colonial specimens labeled “Singapore” are suspect. Those who work in museums may be able to differentiate between the different collectors – some are more reliable than others. And we can reliably assume that W. Davison’s specimen was from Singapore.

2. Birders have always been individualistic, selfish, and what have you – just like any other groups. And they always will be. But we have to realise that unpublished private records remain useful only to the person/s keeping them. Until and unless they are published, these private records are not part of the public domain and cannot claim precedent if subsequent claims
appear in print. Thus unless you publish, you cannot make any claims, period!

3. We can always make this blog a medium for such records. After all, web publication is slowly being accepted as a valid medium and many scientific journals are now going online. Thus future sightings, etc could be sent to this blog for posting – it would appear faster by light years than any print media.

Image courtesy of Chan Yoke Meng.

Courtship feeding of a Red-bearded Bee-eater

posted in: Bee-eaters, Courtship-Mating | 3

Ashley Ng shared an image of a male Red-bearded Bee-Eater (Nyctyornis amictus) with a cicada in its bill trying to attract a potential mate. Bee-eaters do indulge in courtship feeding and this may be a rare image of the ritual. This species does not occur in Singapore but can be seen in Peninsula Malaysia.

As with bee-eaters, it hunts from a high perch keeping close watch on the airspace around. Once an insect is seen, it dashes off to capture it. The bird has been recorded to take carpenter bees (Xylocopa spp.), cicadas, beetles, crickets, termites and ants.

As with many insectivorous birds, bee-eaters cast pellets of indigestible insect parts regularly. This is also the case with most carnivore species such as raptors, owls and shrikes.

Input and image by Ashley Ng.

Oriental Scops-owl: Sighting

posted in: Owls | 0

The Oriental Scops-owl (Otus sunia) is a rare winter visitor and passage migrant to Singapore. So when a bird was spotted during the early morning of 12th November 2006, birdwatchers of every genre were out in force to view it.

It all started when R. Subaraj was conducting a bird-tour of the MacRitchie area. While scanning the trees with his binoculars, he was pleasantly surprised to see an Oriental Scops-owl roosting in a tembusu tree (Fagraea fragrans). As most birders have not seen the owl before, he immediately phoned a few close contacts, giving the location. Within a few hours, a few birders and photographers were at the scene. And by afternoon, more came.

Why the excitement? According to DR Wells (1999), Birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula, “There have been no recent records from well-monitored Singapore island.”

One of the first to arrive at the scene, KC Tsang managed to take a few pictures of the owl. And according to KC, “…I was informed that this bird was sighted, and recorded some four times only in Singapore, and is considered a vagrant by C. Robson.”

Whoever passed on this information to KC is obviously wrong. Subaraj was the first to disagree. He believes that there were more sightings than that. According to him there were at least six other sightings, and he referred me to the cover photograph of the Iora, the so-called Journal of the Nature Society (Singapore) Bird Group. The issue was the inaugural and only issue, published in 1994 (below).

The image of the Oriental Scops-owl that graced the “journal” was taken in Mount Faber by Goo Chuen Hang on 13th November 1994. In an article by Lim Kim Seng entitled “Singapore Bird Report” it was reported that this was the second report for Singapore (p 49).

Apparently this is again incorrect. The Mount Faber sighting was the fourth.

Our sometime field ornithologist, Wang Luan Keng, who is attached to the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, NUS, has this to say: “I have a total of 13 past records. Most people missed out the museum specimens, which are important sources of records.”

The 13 previous records of Oriental Scops-owl encounters are:
1. An undated specimen collected in Singapore in the late 19th century by W. Davison (Hume Coll.)
2. A bird collected on 22 Dec 1916, Fort Canning (RMBR collection).
3. One bird collected in Singapore, 16 Nov 1938 (RMBR collection).
4. One bird photographed at Mt Faber, 13 Nov 1994 (Iora 1).
5. One bird seen at Mt Faber, 19 Feb 1995, most probably the same bird spotted on 13 Nov 1994 (SINAV 9).
6. One bird ringed at Sg Buloh Wetland Reserve, Jan 1996.
7. Another bird ringed at Sg Buloh Wetland Reserve in 2000.
8. One bird found dead, 13 Nov 2000 (donated to JBP).
9. One bird salvaged in Singapore in 2001 (donated to JBP).
10. Another salvaged, 26 Feb 2002 (donated to JBP).
11. One bird found dead in 2003 (no other information, donated to JBP).
12. One bird was found unable to fly at Lower Kent Ridge, 14 Nov 2003 (Kelvin Lim, pers comm..).
13. One grey morph seen in MacRitchie, 18h Dec 2005 (C. Moores, in litt.)

In addition, Subaraj reports that a bird was mist-netted by Prof NS Sodhi of NUS when he was undertaking a survey of the nature reserves. Also, one crashed into a home in Changi, cared for by Subaraj to be later ringed and released in Sg Buloh.

As Luan summarises, “You can certainly say that the bird is probably more common than recorded, judging from the museum specimens that everyone excluded. Most people dismiss museum specimens as useless but surely dead birds were once alive and should be counted as records too and not just what the birders can see?

“I don’t know why people are so obsessed with races. Races of birds are not very meaningful at all. If they are distinct enough and their genetic makeup proves so, they should be treated as distinct species. Until then, you can only call them populations. And most of the time you can only tell them apart if you have the bird in the hand.”

Birders seldom sight the Oriental Scops-owl not because it is not there. Birders tend not to be aware of its presence, considering that the bird tend to remain silent during its wintering period here. So birders are not alerted to its presence, as in the case of other owls.

It is to be noted that the previous early arrivals of this owl were 13th November while this time the bird arrived on 12th November, one day earlier.

Important Notes:
Range: Breeds in the Indian subcontinent, Sri Lanka, Pacific Russia, Japan, Korea, China, and Indochina; migrates through the Indian subcontinent, S. China to Malay Peninsula, Singapore, N. Sumatra.
Locality: Fort Canning Park, Lower Kranji Reserve, Mount Faber, MacRitchie, Sg Buloh Wetland Reserve.
Habitat: Wooded areas, parks.
Early and late dates: (12)13 Nov – 26 Feb
Materials examined: BM 1 (1 AA), RMBR 3 (3 FF), UWBM 4 (3 FF, 1 MM).

Input by R. Subaraj, Wang Luan Keng, KC Tsang and YC. Images of the owl by KC. And thanks to Subaraj who generously shared his sighting, many birders got to see this rare owl.

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

Leave a Reply to Emily Koh Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.