Eurasian Bullfinch or Grey-bellied Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula griseiventris

posted in: Species | 0
Male.

“Eurasian Bullfinchs or Grey-bellied Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula griseiventris are beautiful birds but it seems that more is required to work out differences between subspecies. A number of authors (Brazil 2018 & HBW 2019) call the north Japan (Hokkaido, north Honshu) subspecies the Grey-bellied Bullfinch (Pyrrhula griseiventris). Most descriptions of the male P. p. griseiventris are of a black cap and lore contrasting with bright pink cheeks and throat and distinct grey underparts (Brazil 2018, Clement 1993, Moores 2012).

“This is in contrast to the pyrrhula, cassinii, and rosacea subspecies which have pink on the breast and underparts. P. p. griseiventris birds move during the winter; although predominately within Japan but also to Primorsky Krai (far eastern Russia) and South Korea. Hence intergrades are possible.

Male.

“We saw a number of birds and you can see, in some of the males, a clear pink wash to the breast; brighter in some (top, above). This is unlike the pure grey expected.

1. Peter Clement (writing in HBW 2019 with Christie) suggest that there are two ‘variants’ of the P. p. griseiventris (see drawings in HBW 2019). They say ‘underparts soft grey ….. extent of pink suffusion below variable, some have sides of breast and belly tinged or washed pink or pinkish-orange (‘roseacea‘)’.

2. The article by Moores 2012 is worth a read on colour variation.

3. Koji Tagi, posting in the OBI database on this bird says ‘Probably, all individuals photographed here are of the subspecies griseiventris. However, most of males show a hint of pink on the breast and belly like rosacea”.

4. Note that some bird images taken in Japan in the OBI database are labelled ‘Pyrrhula pyrrhula rosacea‘. Most authors I have read would suggest only the Pyrrhula pyrrhula griseiventris subspecies for Japan. I recognise the OBI editor’s note that ‘some authorities merge rosacea in griseiventris‘.

Male.

“Note the prominent white rump in the above image, another feature of this Bullfinch.

Female.

“Female birds are shown above and below.”

Female.

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
8-11th June 2019

Location: East Hokkaidō, Japan

References:
1.
Mark Brazil. Birds of Japan. Helm Field Guides 2018
2. Peter Clement, Alan Harris, John Davis. Finches and Sparrows: An identification Guide. Princeton University Press. 1993
3. Nial Moores. Bullfinches in the ROK: From Pink to Grey and Much Between! Birds of Korea. 2012 (available HERE.
4. Clement, P. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Eurasian Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona LINK.

The Subaraj I knew…

posted in: Miscellaneous | 3
Subaraj – 2012
I am saddened by the passing of Subaraj Rajathurai on 22nd October 2019 at the age of 56. I came to know of him about two decades ago when I was Hon. Secretary of the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch) and he was an active member of the Bird Group. When I led the newly formed Nature Society (Singapore) in 1990, we worked closely together to save a large chunk of the Lower Peirce forest from being turned into another golf course.

Self-taught naturalist
He was a self-taught naturalist, being able to identify most of the resident birds as well as the migratory species that visit during the northern winter. Not only could he identify a bird from afar, he was also one of the very few that can identify birds by their calls. This naturally gave him an advantage during the annual Bird Race where he was actively involved in during the initial years. Participants of the race were supposed to identify all the bird species encountered during a 24-hour period. Indeed, in many races his team was top scorer, so much so that subsequently the rules were changed to ban the use of calls in the identification of birds.

Subaraj (sitting, third from right) at happier times among the participants of the 1986 Bird Race.

Subaraj’s personal bird race
In the 2012 race, his team was barred from participating due to late registration. Subaraj had a medical condition then and his wife Shamla was against him joining… but relented when his two sons protested. Initially his application was accepted when Shamla phoned the society’s office but when the written request was received by the organisers rejected his application. Determined not to disappoint his sons, Subaraj went on a “personal bird race,” parallel with that of the official race LINK. His unofficial team scored 141 species spotted as compared to 120 species spotted by the official Bird Group winning team. Naturally Subaraj team’s score was not recognised – but it gave him great satisfaction in beating the official winner.

Subaraj and family.

Subaraj interest in nature went beyond birds
His interest in nature was not confined to birds alone. He was an all-rounder and served as a resource person on other faunal groups like termites; dragonflies; butterflies; spiders; skinks; lizards; toads; snakes; rats; flying foxes; fruit bat; flying lemurs; mousedeer, etc.

Common Tree Nymph (Photo: Johnny Wee).

While birdwatchers only notice birds in the field, Subaraj never failed to notice other life forms
At the Jelutong Tower in Sime Forest to observe birds in October 2005, he was fascinated by the Common Tree Nymphs (Idea stolli), a whitish butterfly with numerous white spots “floating around like a white tissue paper with dark spots…” as well as seven other butterfly species, in addition to spotting many birds LINK.

Seeing beyond the plumage
Subaraj had the ability to see beyond the plumage of birds. Yes, you need to know the plumage to be able to identify the species. But after identifying the bird, instead of moving to look for another, he stayed to study its behaviour. When he came across a Javan Myna (Acridotheres javanicus) with whitish feathers, he recognised it as being leucistic. Being different in colour from the normal species, it is usually ignored. In this case the leucistic bird was accepted by the normal mynas LINK. And when he heard a Grey Nightjar (Caprimulgus indicus) calling, he concluded that it must be a winter visitor to Singapore, not a passage migrant LINK. After all, a winter visitor needed to create a territory for itself… not so a passage migrant.

While other birdwatchers were watching birds, Subaraj was studying them
In an effort to encourage birdwatchers to study birds and their behaviour, a handful including Subaraj, got together in 2005 to form the Bird Ecology Study Group (BESG) LINK. He remained an ardent supporter and regularly contributed his observations on bird behaviour to the BESG website.

Starling with a beak-full of ants just before applying them on its feathers. (Photo: Subaraj Rajathurai)

Subaraj and anting
In 1988, a young student by the name of Kevin KP Lim noticed a Javan Myna (Acridotheres javanicus) placing ants on its plumage and jumping around as the ants moved through its feathers. No local birdwatchers could provide an explanation for such a behaviour then. However, with the formation of BESG in 2005, Subaraj related the incident. This led to subsequent Google search that provided the answer. The myna was anting, using ants to rid its feathers of ectoparasites LINK. Had it not for Subaraj’s memory for such unusual behaviour, the incident would have been forgotten.

Branch of a fig tree with figs.

An astute observer
Whenever the large fig tree at the summit of Bukit Timah was in fruits, hordes of birdwatchers gathered to list the different species feeding on the figs LINK. Subaraj was the first to suggest that observers should also take note on whether the birds swallowed or bit at the figs; time of arrival of the different species; whether they arrived alone, in small groups or in flocks; the interactions between the species; whether there were pecking orders among and between species, etc.

Straits Times May 26th 1992

A hard-core conservationist
Subaraj was a conservationist at heart, opposing many proposals to clear habitats, etc. In 1992, when Government proposed to excise a large tract of protected secondary forest at Lower Peirce for a golf course, Subaraj was naturally at the forefront protesting the move LINK. He was among the many who came forward to compile lists of flora and fauna that were found in the area to make up the environment impact assessment report. The report was distributed to policy makers and to generate public awareness. The government eventually abandoned the proposal. To date, this was one of two major successes of the Nature Society (Singapore), the other was to successfully persuade government to set aside a piece of degraded mangrove into what is now the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (Photo credit: Wang Luan Keng)

Subaraj and Sungei Buloh
When Richard Hale came across Sungei Buloh and its swarming migratory birds, he approached a handful of birdwatchers that included Subaraj to compile a report. With the report, Richard worked behind the scene to eventually get government’s agreement to set an area as a bird sanctuary. When subsequent claims by certain birdwatchers for credit in “Saving Sungei Buloh” LINK Subaraj was quick to put the record straight LINK and LINK.

Immature Asian Emerald Cuckoo (Photo: KC Tsang).

Subaraj’s “Field Checklist of the Birds of Singapore”
Since long ago, Subaraj maintained a personal “Field Checklist of the Birds of Singapore” LINK. This checklist differed from the official checklist maintained by the Bird Group of the Nature Society (Singapore). Why, you may ask? To be included in the official checklist, the bird needed to be seen by experienced senior members of the group. Subaraj was a senior member when the group was formed. In fact, he was the “Official Recorder” of the group. However, when he got married and went on his honeymoon, he was replaced by another during his absence. So he was not a member of the “in group”. And as far back as 1998, Subaraj’s checklist included the Asian Emerald Cuckoo (Chrysococcyx maculates). But this was not recognised until 2008 when a decision was made to include this cuckoo into the official list. This came two years after photographer-birder KC Tsang managed to photograph an immature bird. This episode reflects the superior skills of Subaraj in the field of birdwatching.

The publications of Subaraj
Subaraj published extensively in popular as well as scientific journals, a selection of which is given below.

YC Wee
1st November 2019
Singapore

Addendum: Selected publications of Subaraj Rajathurai
1. Avadhani, P.N., Y. C. Wee, L. M. Chou, C. Briffett, R. Hale, H. C. Ho, K. Lim, K. K. Lim & R. Subaraj, 1990. Master Plan for the Conservation of Nature in Singapore. Malayan Nature Society, Singapore Branch. 152pp.
2. Hale, R., G. Pereira, R. Subaraj & Y.C. Wee, 2006. Announcement of a new bird group affiliated to the Nature Society (Singapore). BirdingAsia 5: 5.
3. Lok, A. F. S. L. & R. Subaraj, 2008. Porphyrio porphyrio viridis Begbie, 1834 (Purple swamphen), gem of Singapore’s marshes. Nature in Singapore 1: 219-224.
4. Lok, A. F. S. L. & R. Subaraj, 2009. Lapwings (Charadriidae: Vanellinae) of Singapore. Nature in Singapore 2: 125-134.
5. Lok, A. F. S. L., B. S. Tey & R. Subaraj, 2009. Barbets of Singapore Part 1: Megalaima lineata hodgsoni Bonaparte, the lineated barbet, Singapore’s only exotic species. Nature in Singapore 2: 39-45.
6. Subaraj, R. 1988. Migrating sunbirds. Singapore Avifauna 2(2): 27-29.
7. Subaraj, R. 1988. Discovered at last! A Night Heron Heronry in Singapore. Singapore Avifauna 2(2): 32-34.
8. Subaraj, R. 1996. The birds of Batam and Bintan islands, Riau archipelago. Kukila 8:86-113.
9. Subaraj, R., 2006. The nuptial flight of termites makes a veritable winged feast. Nature Watch 14(4):10–13. (With additional input by Y C. Wee.)
10. Subaraj, R., 1991. Conservation proposal for Marina South. Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch Group). 12pp.
11. Subaraj, R. & H. C. Ho, 1989. Conservation proposal for Khatib Bongsu (Yishun) heronry. Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch Bird Group). 9pp.
12. Subaraj, R. & A. F. S. L. Lok, 2009. Status of the Lesser Adjutant (Leptoptilos javanicus) in Singapore. Nature in Singapore. 2: 107-113.
13. Teo, R. C. H. & S. Rajathuari (1997). Mammals, reptiles and amphibians in the nature reserve of Singapore – diversity, abundance and distribution. In: Chan, L. & R. T. Corlett (eds.). Biodiversity in the nature reserves of Singapore. Gdns. Bull., Singapore 49: 353-425.
14. Tsang, K. C., R. Subaraj & Y. C. Wee. 2009. The role of the camera in birdwatching in Singapore. Nature in Singapore 2: 183–191.
15. Wee, Y.C., Y.M. Chan, M. Chan, G. Sreedharan, Philip Tang & R. Subaraj, 2006. Battle for nest-holes in urban Singapore. Nature Watch 14(3):6–10.
16. Wee, Y.C. & R. Subaraj, 1994. A guide to Orchard Road. Singapore: Mobil Oil Singapore Pte Ltd & Nature Society (Singapore). 13 pp.
17. Wee, Y.C. & R. Subaraj, 2005. Of palms and birds. Nature Watch 13(4):7–11.
18. Wee, Y.C. & R. Subaraj, 2006. The Bird Ecology Study Group, Nature Society (Singapore): one year on. BirdingAsia 6:6.
19. Wee, Y.C. & R. Subaraj, 2006. Aberrant behaviour of a pair of female Great and Rhinoceros Hornbills in Singapore. Birding Asia 6:18–22.
20. Wee, Y.C. & R. Subaraj, 2009. Citizen science and the gathering of ornithological data in Singapore. Nature in Singapore2: 27–30.
21. Wee, Y.C., K.C. Tsang & R. Subaraj, 2010. Birding in Singapore and the challenges of the 21st century. Nature in Singapore 3:53–58.

Pied Triller – foraging behaviour

posted in: Feeding strategy | 0

“Saw two Pied Triller (Lalage nigra striga) females foraging together on the ground for an extended period (25 minutes). This is less common foraging behaviour. Wells (2007) states ‘more rarely, hunts on the ground…‘ I have usually seen them in trees foraging but at time seen them descend to the ground to get prey. Not seen them walk about on a lawn foraging like Mynas.

“The presence of two female together may suggest a family unit.”

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
1st October 2019

Location: Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Habitat: Urban environment

Reference:
Wells, D.R., 2007. The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsular. Vol. II, Passerines. Christopher Helm, London. 800 pp.

Plantain Squirrel – calling and tail flicking

posted in: Mammals, Videography, Vocalisation | 2

Plantain Squirrels (Callosciurus notatus) are common in Singapore’s urban gardens, feeding on flower nectar, fruits, figs, palm shoots and even birdlings.

When danger lurks, as when a Reticulated Python is nearby, it gives out its characteristic call LINK.

This squirrel, resting on a trunk of a wayside tree, was heard making the same call. However, no predator was seen nearby (see video below).

As it calls, it flicks its tail up and down. This flicking may carry a message as from where the predator is coming from. Vocalisation may be used to warn off the predator or to alert the predator’s presence. Tail flicking and vocalisation can also be an alarm signal.

An earlier post shows the squirrel being mobbed by a bird.

YC Wee
Singapore
10th October 2019

Red Junglefowl chicks jump across drain…

posted in: Fledgling-Fledging, Videography | 0
Video grab.

MeiLin Khoo’s October 2019 video shows how an adult female Red Junglefowl (Gallus gallus) jumps over a wide drain thus encouraging her three chicks to follow suit.

This led Jeremiah Loei to comment: “So life skills are parental taught in the animal kingdom?”

Video grab.

YC Wee responded: “The recently fledged chick sticks to the adults for a certain number of days during which the former is taught how to find food, how to recognise and avoid predators, etc. This is why you should not pick up a helpless looking chick that crashed to the ground during its first flight and bring it home to care LINK. We are not able to teach the “rescued” chick “life skills” and when it is ready to fly off, it becomes easy target for predators.

For more of the Red Junglefowl’s fledging moments, see HERE and HERE.

MeiLin Khoo (video), Jeremiah Loei & YC Wee (comment)
Singapore
20th October 2019

Malayan Water Monitor preyed on a sunbird chick

Video grab.

“It seemed like a typical sunny day for one of the two Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis) chicks inside their nest hanging over a body of water to explore the world outside (above, below). One of the chicks moved out of the nest entrance but lost confidence and tried to move back in. However, it lost its footing and struggled to hang on to the nest.

“The adult sunbird, apparently watching from nearby, flew to the nest but was unable to help the struggling chick.

Video grab.

“As the chick clung onto the nest, its struggle caught the attention of a Malayan Water Monitor (Varanus salvator) in the water below.

“The monitor lizard waited patiently for 10 to 20 minutes before the helpless chick finally fell into the waters. It was an easy meal for the opportunistic monitor lizard.

“This could be an attempted fledging incident with the adult nearby encouraging the chick to make its first flight out of the nest. Unfortunately the nest was built above the water and a monitor lizard was lurking below.

“No further nesting activity occurred in the days that followed this incident. I am assuming the other chick perished as the adults stopped coming.

“The drama happened some years ago at the Hippo Pond, Gardens by the Bay.”

Jia Wei Woo
Singapore
20th October 2019

White-throated Kingfisher – courtship display

posted in: Courtship-Mating, Kingfishers | 0

“As part of the courtship display, the presumed male White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis perpulchra) spreads out the wings repeatedly for 1-3 seconds. This is repeated a number of times. There was a second White-throated Kingfisher watching from a nearby perch, the presumed female.

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
1st October 2019

Location: Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Habitat: Semi-urban part of city

Asian Paradise-flycatcher feeding on a dragonfly

This white ‘morph’ Asian Paradise-flycatcher (Terpsiphone paradisi) was documented by Alfred Ng at Bidadari Park around noon on 16th October 2019 (below).

Photo: Alfred Ng.

A migratory bird that winters in tropical Asia, it usually arrives in Singapore from late September to early October.

Sim Chip Chye’s video clip below documented it feeding on a dragonfly after its long journey south… to fatten up before flying back north to its breeding grounds.

When in Singapore, it feeds mainly on small winged insects like flies, beetles, butterflies, praying mantis, grasshoppers, cicadas

Sim Chip Chye & Alfred Ng
Singapore
17th October 2019

Common Myna Acridotheres tristis tristis

posted in: Feathers-maintenance, Species | 0

“I was watching this adult Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis tristis) forage on the ground by turning over dead leave to look for worms and insects underneath (above).

“I was also interested in the circular array of silvery white spots in the iris (‘stars in the eyes’) and the discoloration at the base of the lower mandible (above).

“Of interest was the accompanying bird, a juvenile (above, below). As I have posted before (12 May 2013, in OBI database) the juvenile’s plumage is in moult, especially in the head and neck. The bare skin around the eye is increased in volume.”

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
1st October 2019

Location: Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Habitat: Urban environment

25 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. 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

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