Wednesday 28 February 2018

26-11-2015 JURONG, SINGAPORE - SADDLE BILLED STORK (Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis)

19-3-2015 JURONG, SINGAPORE - BLACK CROWNED NIGHT HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax)

26-11-2015 JURONG, SINGAPORE - AMERICAN FLAMINGO (Phoenicopterus ruber)

The American flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) is a large species of flamingo native to the West Indies, northern South America (including the Galápagos Islands) and the Yucatan Peninsula. It is closely related to the greater flamingo and Chilean flamingo, and was formerly considered conspecific with the greater flamingo, but that treatment is now widely viewed (e.g. by the American and British Ornithologists' Unions) as incorrect due to a lack of evidence. It is also known as the Caribbean flamingo, although it is also present in the Galápagos Islands. It is the only flamingo that naturally inhabits North America.

It is a cultural icon for the U.S. state of Florida, where it was formerly abundant in the southernmost regions, although it was largely extirpated by 1900 and is now only an uncommon visitor with a few small, potential resident populations.

The American flamingo breeds in South America (in the Galápagos Islands of Ecuador, coastal Colombia and Venezuela, and northern Brazil), in the West Indies (Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola (the Dominican Republic and Haiti), The Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, and the Turks and Caicos Islands), and tropical and subtropical areas of continental North America (along the northern coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, and formerly southern Florida in the United States). It is a vagrant to Puerto Rico, Anguilla, Barbados, Honduras, and (following its extirpation) Florida, although some Florida populations are now thought to be year-round residents. The population in the Galápagos Islands differs genetically from that in the Caribbean; the Galápagos flamingos are significantly smaller, exhibit sexual dimorphism in body shape, and lay smaller eggs. They are sometimes separated as Phoenicopterus ruber glyphorhynchus.

Its preferred habitats are similar to those of its relatives: saline lagoons, mudflats, and shallow, brackish coastal or inland lakes. An example habitat is the Petenes mangroves ecoregion of the Yucatán.

The American flamingo is a large wading bird with reddish-pink plumage. Like all flamingos, it lays a single chalky-white egg on a mud mound, between May and August; incubation until hatching takes from 28 to 32 days; both parents brood their young. They may reach sexual maturity between 3 and 6 years of age, though usually they do not reproduce until they are 6 years old. Their life expectancy of 40 years is one of the longest in birds.

Adult American flamingos are smaller on average than greater flamingos, but are the largest flamingos in the Americas. They measure from 120 to 145 cm (47 to 57 in) tall. The males weigh an average of 2.8 kg (6.2 lb), while females average 2.2 kg (4.9 lb). Most of its plumage is pink, giving rise to its earlier name of rosy flamingo and differentiating adults from the much paler greater flamingo. The wing coverts are red, and the primary and secondary flight feathers are black. The bill is pink and white with an extensive black tip. The legs are entirely pink. The call is a goose-like honking. It is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds applies.

Mating and bonding behaviors of P. ruber individuals have been extensively studied in captivity. The American flamingo is usually monogamous when selecting a nest site, and incubating and raising young; however, extra-pair copulations are frequent.

While males usually initiate courtship, females control the process. If interest is mutual, a female walks by the male, and if the male is receptive, he walks with her. Both parties make synchronized movements until one member aborts this process. For low-intensity courtships, males and females walk in unison with their heads raised. In high-intensity courtships, males and females walk at a quick pace with their heads dropped in a false feeding posture. This high-intensity courtship stops at any point if either bird turns and the other does not follow, the heads are raised, unison movements are stopped, or the pace of movement is slowed. If the female is ultimately receptive to copulation, she stops walking and presents for the male. Long-term pairs do not frequently engage in courtship behaviors or in-group display. Pairs often stand, sleep, and eat in close proximity.

Courtship is most often seen among individuals that change partners often or are promiscuous. A spectrum of pairing relationships is seen. Some birds have a long-term partner throughout the year; others form pairs during periods of courtship and nest attendance. How long a relationship lasts is affected by many factors, including addition and removal of adults, maturation of juveniles, and occurrence of trios and quartets. In most pairs, both individuals usually construct and defend the nest site. In rare cases, one individual undertakes both duties. Within trios, the dominant pair begins the nesting process by choosing and then defending the site.

25-11-2015 JURONG, SINGAPORE - MASKED LAPWING (Vanellus miles)

The masked lapwing (Vanellus miles) is a large, common and conspicuous bird native to Australia (particularly the northern and eastern parts of the continent), New Zealand and New Guinea. It spends most of its time on the ground searching for food such as insects and worms, and has several distinctive calls. It is common in Australian fields and open land, and is known for its defensive swooping behaviour during the nesting season.

Despite the species being also known as the masked plover and often called the spur-winged plover or just plover in its native range, lapwings are classified to their own subfamily, Vanellinae, and not to the closely related plover subfamily, Charadriinae. There are two subspecies: the nominate subspecies and the southern novaehollandiae. The latter has distinctive black markings on the shoulder and side of the chest, and is sometimes recognized as a separate species: the black-shouldered lapwing (Vanellus novaehollandiae).

26-11-2015 JURONG, SINGAPORE - BLUE FACED HONEYEATER (Entomyzon cyanotis)

The blue-faced honeyeater (Entomyzon cyanotis), also colloquially known as the Bananabird, is a passerine bird of the honeyeater family, Meliphagidae. It is the only member of its genus, and it is most closely related to honeyeaters of the genus Melithreptus. Three subspecies are recognised. At around 29.5 cm (11.6 in) in length, the blue-faced species is large for a honeyeater. Its plumage is distinctive, with olive upperparts, white underparts, and a black head and throat with white nape and cheeks. Males and females are similar in external appearance. Adults have a blue area of bare skin on each side of the face readily distinguishing them from juveniles, which have yellow or green patches of bare skin.

Found in open woodland, parks and gardens, the blue-faced honeyeater is common in northern and eastern Australia, and southern New Guinea. It appears to be sedentary in parts of its range, and locally nomadic in other parts; however, the species has been little studied. Its diet is mostly composed of invertebrates, supplemented with nectar and fruit. They often take over and renovate old babbler nests, in which the female lays and incubates two or rarely three eggs.

26-11-2015 JURONG, SINGAPORE - SPOTTED WHISTLING DUCK (Dendrocygna guttata)

The spotted whistling duck (Dendrocygna guttata) is a member of the duck family Anatidae. It is also referred to as the "spotted tree duck". This duck can be found in Indonesia, New Guinea, Australia and the Philippines. Spotted ducks are also held in captive populations.

The Spotted whistling duck is one of the smaller species in the genus Dendrocygna. This duck grows to 43–50 cm tall. Males can weigh anywhere from 590g to 650g while females weigh 610g to 860g. White spots on their flanks and breasts gave these ducks the spotted name. The sides of the neck, faces, and eyebrows are all grey. Black or dark brown coloring stretches from the crown nape to the hindneck. This dark coloring is also found in the eyepatch. Their coloring resembles a cape with a thick collar. This cape starts as a light brown then fades into a darker brown closer to the tail. Their underbelly is mostly brown, sometimes spotted, and significantly lighter than the wings and the “collar.” A white bar on the upper tail coverts can be seen during flight aiding in identification. They have dull pink legs[4] with black webbed feet and sharp nails. The bill is dark, yet often seen with portions of red and a small white mark on the lower mandible. Spotted whistling ducks look as though they are raised from the ground, as though they are standing up tall. (look more into this). Their wings pressed strongly against the body. Inner vanes of the outer primaries are jagged and can be seen in flight (check on this). While flying, the head is positioned down causing the whole bird to look hunched. The tail stays pointed and looks long when in flight. Juveniles are seen with white streaks on flanks instead of spots and have significantly duller coloring. Spotted whistling ducks are visually similar to D. arborea, yet many scientists believe its closest relative is D. eytoni. After gaining their adult plumage at the age of 6 months,. the spotted whistling duck has a single annual molt. Like other ducks, swans, and geese, the spotted whistling duck molts synchronously. Synchronous molting is common within Anseriformes because waterfowl have the ability to avoid terrestrial predators. Unlike other birds, waterfowl float in ponds lakes while they molt, safe from predators. Other more evolved ducks have two molts, whistling ducks only molt once.

Whistling ducks are found all over the world. The spotted whistling duck is distributed throughout the Philippines, Australia, and New Guinea. These ducks live in the southern part of the Philippines and several islands of Indonesia. In Indonesia spotted whistling ducks stretch from the Eastern Lesser Sundas islands to new guinea. Spotted whistling ducks are also found in Weipa and Iron ranges of Australia, but have also been seen at Wonga Beach. Scientists hypothesize the Indonesian population was introduced due to a storm blowing the birds off course.

Spotted whistling ducks live around bodies of water, like many other ducks. These ducks specifically live around small ponds and marshes surrounded by trees. They prefer humid and low altitude habitats. Spotted whistling ducks build hollows within the trees surrounding their habitats.

The Diet of the spotted whistling duck contains grass seeds, aquatic invertebrates, aquatic plants, and small fish. These ducks obtain their food by dabbling and diving. The ducks dabble at the surface of the ponds, filtering the water through their bills. The birds bounce on the surface to enter the water headfirst, after being underwater for a maximum of 15 seconds they emerge with another bounce. Scientists never observed food in the bill after the diving behavior. They concluded the birds consume the food while underwater.(Beruldsen) The majority of feeding occurs at night.

The genus Dendrocygna has strong pair bonds. Male and female birds are visually similar, females are slightly heavier than males. Without weighing the bird sex is difficult to determine. Breeding season begins in September with active nests found as late as April. Their nests are found in hollowed-out trees. Both parents participate in nest building at the same time. One pair can have several clutches a year consisting of 10-11 eggs. Both parents incubate the eggs  for 18–31 days and when hatched the chick weighs 17.5g. In captivity, the chicks fledged at 7 weeks, yet in the wild scientists have observed chicks flying at 45–50 days old. The spotted whistling duck has a breeding system described as ‘primitive,’ which is consistent with other basal groups in Anseriformes.

Spotted whistling ducks are found in groups with their own species and often with D. arcata. Compared to others in the genus, these ducks are less vocal. These birds perch on tree branches in groups slightly smaller than flocks. The flocks are often a mix of adults and juveniles. The adults shepard the juveniles keeping them close to the group. In 2000 Beruldsen observed a group consisting of 6 juveniles and two adults, male and female. The juveniles seemed unbothered by the human presence, but the adults made sure there was distance between Buruldsen and the juveniles. The birds kept their distance but seemed to be unaffected. The adult male positioned himself between the juveniles and the humans, protecting the other birds. This behavior was often accompanied by several high-pitched ticking calls.

25-11-2015 JURONG, SINGAPORE - SILVER PHEASANT (MALE) (Lophura nycthemera)

The silver pheasant (Lophura nycthemera) is a species of pheasant found in forests, mainly in mountains, of mainland Southeast Asia and eastern and southern China, with an introduced population on Victoria Island in Nahuel Huapi Lake, Neuquén, Argentina. The male is black and white, while the female is mainly brown. Both sexes have a bare red face and red legs (the latter separating it from the greyish-legged kalij pheasant). It is common in aviculture, and overall also remains common in the wild, but some of its subspecies (notably L. n. whiteheadi from Hainan, L. n. engelbachi from southern Laos, and L. n. annamensis from southern Vietnam) are rare and threatened.

This is a relatively large pheasant, with males of the largest subspecies having a total length of 120 to 125 cm (47 to 49 in), including a tail up to 75 cm (30 in), while the males of the smallest subspecies barely reach 70 cm (28 in) in total length, including a tail around 30 cm (12 in). The body mass of males can range from 1.13–2.00 kg (2.49–4.41 lb). Females of all subspecies are notably smaller than their respective males, with a size range of 55–90 cm (22–35 in) in total length, including a tail of 24–32 cm (9.4–12.6 in). The body mass of females can range from 1.0–1.3 kg (2.2–2.9 lb).

Males of the northern subspecies, which are the largest, have white upperparts and tail (most feathers with some black markings), while their underparts and crest are glossy bluish-black. The males of the southern subspecies have greyer upperparts and tail with extensive black markings, making them appear far darker than the northern subspecies. The adult male plumage is reached in the second year.

Females are brown and shorter-tailed than males. Females of some subspecies have whitish underparts strongly patterned with black, and in L. n. whiteheadi this extends to the upper mantle.

25-11-2015 JURONG, SINGAPORE - SILVER PHEASANT (FEMALE) (Lophura nycthemera)

The silver pheasant (Lophura nycthemera) is a species of pheasant found in forests, mainly in mountains, of mainland Southeast Asia and eastern and southern China, with an introduced population on Victoria Island in Nahuel Huapi Lake, Neuquén, Argentina. The male is black and white, while the female is mainly brown. Both sexes have a bare red face and red legs (the latter separating it from the greyish-legged kalij pheasant). It is common in aviculture, and overall also remains common in the wild, but some of its subspecies (notably L. n. whiteheadi from Hainan, L. n. engelbachi from southern Laos, and L. n. annamensis from southern Vietnam) are rare and threatened.

This is a relatively large pheasant, with males of the largest subspecies having a total length of 120 to 125 cm (47 to 49 in), including a tail up to 75 cm (30 in), while the males of the smallest subspecies barely reach 70 cm (28 in) in total length, including a tail around 30 cm (12 in). The body mass of males can range from 1.13–2.00 kg (2.49–4.41 lb). Females of all subspecies are notably smaller than their respective males, with a size range of 55–90 cm (22–35 in) in total length, including a tail of 24–32 cm (9.4–12.6 in). The body mass of females can range from 1.0–1.3 kg (2.2–2.9 lb).

Males of the northern subspecies, which are the largest, have white upperparts and tail (most feathers with some black markings), while their underparts and crest are glossy bluish-black. The males of the southern subspecies have greyer upperparts and tail with extensive black markings, making them appear far darker than the northern subspecies. The adult male plumage is reached in the second year.

Females are brown and shorter-tailed than males. Females of some subspecies have whitish underparts strongly patterned with black, and in L. n. whiteheadi this extends to the upper mantle.

Tuesday 27 February 2018

4-12-2015 JURONG, SINGAPORE - ANDEAN COCK OF THE ROCK (Rupicola peruvianus)

The Andean cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola peruvianus), also known as tunki (Quechua), is a large passerine bird of the cotinga family native to Andean cloud forests in South America. It is the national bird of Peru. It has four subspecies and its closest relative is the Guianan cock-of-the-rock.

The Andean cock-of-the-rock exhibits marked sexual dimorphism; the male has a large disk-like crest and scarlet or brilliant orange plumage, while the female is significantly darker and browner. Gatherings of males compete for breeding females with each male displaying his colourful plumage, bobbing and hopping, and making a variety of calls. After mating, the female makes a nest under a rocky overhang, incubates the eggs, and rears the young by herself.

The Andean cock-of-the-rock eats a diet of fruit, supplemented by insects, amphibians, reptiles, and smaller mice. It is distributed all across the cloud forest of the Andes, having a range of around 260,000 km2 (100,000 sq mi). Even though it is being affected by the destruction of its habitat, the Andean cock-of-the-rock is not classified as threatened.

The Andean cock-of-the-rock is a large passerine, approximately 32 cm (13 in) long and weighing around 265 grams (9.3 oz; 0.584 lb), although males are somewhat larger and the heaviest specimens can reach 300 grams (11 oz; 0.66 lb). The bird is one of many bird species to exhibit marked sexual dimorphism. The male has a large disk-like crest and brilliant scarlet or orange plumage. He has a black tail and wings, and pale greyish scapulars. The female is significantly drabber and browner than the male and has a less prominent crest. The bill is yellowish in the male and dark with a small yellow tip in the female. Depending on gender and subspecies there are significant variations in the color of the iris, ranging from red over orange and yellow to bluish-white in the male, and whitish over reddish to brown in the female. In addition to the display calls described in the breeding section below, foraging birds give a loud querulous “tank?” when disturbed or in flight.

The Andean cock-of-the-rock is distributed in the cloud forests of the Andes. It lives in a large range of about 260,000 km2 (100,000 sq mi) across Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Perú, and Bolivia, mostly in ravines and forested streams in montane areas at 500 to 2,400 m (1,600 to 7,900 ft) elevation. It typically stays in the lower and middle forest levels but will range higher in fruiting trees and will sometimes enter and cross clearings. It is generally shy and inconspicuous, often seen only briefly after being flushed out or while swiftly flying down a valley.

R. p. aequatorialis is the most widespread subspecies, ranging across the Andes of East Colombia to West Venezuela, East Ecuador, and East Peru. The nominate subspecies, R. p. peruvianus has a small range stretching only through the Andes of Central Peru. R. p. sanguinolentus ranges throughout the Andes in West Colombia to Northwest Ecuador. The subspecies R. p. saturatus has a range across Southeast Peru and West Bolivia.



The purple-naped lory (Lorius domicella) is a species of parrot in the family Psittaculidae. It is forest-dwelling endemic to the islands of Seram, Ambon, and perhaps also Haruku and Saparua, South Maluku, Indonesia. It is considered endangered, the main threat being from trapping for the cage-bird trade.

The purple-naped lory is 28 cm (11 in) long. It is mostly red with an all red tail that fades to darker red towards the tip. The top of its head is black, which fades to purple on the back of its neck. It has green wings, blue thighs, and a variable approximately transverse yellow band across the chest. It has an orange beak, dark-grey eyerings, and orange-red irises. Juveniles have a brown beak, grey-white eyerings, brown irises, a wider yellow band across the chest, and a more extensive purple patch on the back of neck.

19-3-2015 JURONG, SINGAPORE - BLUE STREAKED LORY (Eos reticulata)

The blue-streaked lory (Eos reticulata) is also known as the blue-necked lory. It is a medium-sized parrot (31 cm), which is found on the Tanimbar Islands and Babar in the southern Moluccas.

The blue-streaked lory is about 31 centimetres (12 in) in length, including the tail. They weigh between 145 and 155 grams (5.1 and 5.5 oz).

Adults of both sexes look the same – this is called sexually monomorphic.

Most of the bird's general plumage is bright red. Against this intense red background, there are scattered electric blue feathers near the ears and on the nape of the neck, which is where the bird gets its name. From the area to the base of the neck, there is an indigo-violet stripe. The lower part of the nape of the neck, to the top of the back, is a bluish black. The main part of the back, as well as the rump, is red. Wing coverts and flights are red with black tips. The upper part of the tail feathers are a reddish black, and the underside of the tail is a muted red. The iris of the eye is orange-red. The beak is sharply curved, short, and bright red-orange. The feet are medium gray, and the claws are black.

26-11-2015 JURONG, SINGAPORE - RAINBOW LORIKEET (Trichoglossus haematodus)

The rainbow lorikeet (Trichoglossus moluccanus) is a species of parrot found in Australia. It is common along the eastern seaboard, from northern Queensland to South Australia. Its habitat is rainforest, coastal bush and woodland areas. Six taxa traditionally listed as subspecies of the rainbow lorikeet are now treated as separate species (see Taxonomy).

Rainbow lorikeets have been introduced to Perth, Western Australia; Tasmania; Auckland, New Zealand; and Hong Kong.

The rainbow lorikeet is a medium-sized parrot, with the length ranging from 25 to 30 cm (9.8 to 11.8 in) including the tail, and the weight varies from 75 to 157 g (2.6–5.5 oz). The plumage of the nominate race, as with all subspecies, is very bright and colorful. The head is deep blue with a greenish-yellow nuchal collar, and the rest of the upper parts (wings, back and tail) are green. The chest is orange/yellow. The belly is deep blue, and the thighs and rump are green. In flight a yellow wing-bar contrasts clearly with the red underwing coverts. There is little to visually distinguish between the sexes.

Juveniles have a black beak, which gradually brightens to orange in the adults.

The markings of Trichoglossus moluccanus resemble those of the coconut lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus), but with a blue belly and a more orange breast with little or no blue-black barring.

Rainbow lorikeets feed mainly on fruit, pollen and nectar, and possess a tongue adapted especially for their particular diet. The end of the tongue is equipped with a papillate appendage adapted to gathering pollen and nectar from flowers. Nectar from eucalyptus is important in Australia, other important nectar sources are Pittosporum, Grevillea, Spathodea campanulata (African tulip-tree), and Metroxylon sagu (sago palm). In Melanesia coconuts are very important food sources, and rainbow lorikeets are important pollinators of these. They also consume the fruits of Ficus, Trema, Muntingia, as well as papaya and mangoes already opened by fruit bats. They also eat crops such as apples, and will raid maize and sorghum. They are also frequent visitors at bird feeders placed in gardens, which supply store-bought nectar, sunflower seeds, and fruits such as apples, grapes and pears.

In many places, including campsites and suburban gardens, wild lorikeets are so used to humans that they can be hand-fed. The Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary in Queensland, Australia, is noted for its thousands of lorikeets. Around 8am and 4pm each day the birds gather in a huge, noisy flock in the park's main area. Visitors are encouraged to feed them a specially prepared nectar, and the birds will happily settle on people's arms and heads to consume it. Wild rainbow lorikeets can also be hand-fed by visitors at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

26-11-2015 JURONG, SINGAPORE - SOUTHERN CASSOWARY (Casuarius casuarius)

The southern cassowary (Casuarius casuarius), also known as double-wattled cassowary, Australian cassowary, or two-wattled cassowary, is a large flightless black bird, found in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and northeastern Australia. It is one of the three living species of cassowary, alongside the dwarf cassowary and the northern cassowary. It is a ratite and therefore related to the emu, ostriches, rheas and kiwi.

The southern cassowary is distributed in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and northeastern Australia. It mainly inhabits tropical rainforests but may make use of nearby savannah forests or mangroves stands. The species prefers elevations below 1,100 m (3,600 ft) in Australia, and 500 m (1,600 ft) on New Guinea.

The Australian population is listed as Endangered under federal and Queensland state legislation.

Presently, most authorities consider the southern cassowary monotypic, but several subspecies have been described. It has proven very difficult to confirm the validity of these due to individual variations, age-related variations, the relatively few available specimens (and the bright skin of the head and neck – the basis upon which several subspecies have been described – fades in specimens), and that locals are known to have traded live cassowaries for hundreds, if not thousands of years, some of which are likely to have escaped/been deliberately introduced to regions away from their origin.

Cassowaries are most closely related to the kiwis, both families diverging from a common ancestor approximately 40 million years ago.

The southern cassowary has stiff, bristly black plumage, a blue face and a long neck, red on the cape and two red wattles measuring around 17.8 cm (7.0 in) in length hanging down around its throat. A horn-like brown casque, measuring 13 to 16.9 cm (5.1 to 6.7 in) high, sits atop the head. The bill can range from 9.8 to 19 cm (3.9 to 7.5 in). The plumage is sexually monomorphic, but the female is dominant and larger with a longer casque, larger bill and brighter-coloured bare parts. The juveniles have brown longitudinal striped plumage.

The three-toed feet are thick and powerful, equipped with a lethal dagger-like claw up to 12 cm (4.7 in) on the inner toe. It is perhaps the largest member of the cassowary family and is tied as the third heaviest bird on earth (after the Somali ostrich and the common ostrich), at a maximum size estimated at 85 kg (187 lb) and 190 cm (6 ft 3 in) tall. Normally, this species ranges from 127 to 170 cm (4 ft 2 in to 5 ft 7 in) in length. The height is normally 150 to 180 cm (4 ft 11 in to 5 ft 11 in) ; females average 58.5 kg (129 lb), while males average 29 to 34 kg (64–75 lb). The northern cassowary is about the same size on average and is perhaps very mildly less sexually dimorphic than the southern. Most adult birds will weigh between 17 and 70 kg (37 and 154 lb). It is technically the largest Asian bird (since the extinction of the Arabian ostrich) and the largest Australian bird (though the emu may be slightly taller). 

25-11-2015 JURONG, SINGAPORE - WOOD DUCK (MALE) (Aix sponsa)

The wood duck or Carolina duck (Aix sponsa) is a species of perching duck found in North America. The drake wood duck is one of the most colorful North American waterfowls.

The wood duck is a medium-sized perching duck. A typical adult is from 47 to 54 cm (19 to 21 in) in length with a wingspan of between 66 and 73 cm (26 and 29 in). The wood duck's weight ranges from 454–862 grams (16.0–30.4 oz). This is about three-quarters the length of an adult mallard. It shares its genus with the Asian mandarin duck (Aix galericulata).

The adult male has stunning multicolored iridescent plumage and red eyes, with a distinctive white flare down the neck. The female, less colorful, has a white eye-ring and a whitish throat. Both adults have crested heads. The speculum is iridescent blue-green with a white border on the trailing edge.

The male's call is a rising whistle, jeeeeee; the females utter a drawn-out, rising squeal, do weep do weep, when flushed, and a sharp cr-r-ek, cr-e-ek for an alarm call.

Their breeding habitat is wooded swamps, shallow lakes, marshes, ponds and creeks in the eastern United States, the west coast of the United States, some adjacent parts of southern Canada, and the west coast of Mexico. They usually nest in cavities in trees close to water, although they will take advantage of nesting boxes in wetland locations. Other species may compete with them for nesting cavities, such as birds of prey, as well as mammals such as grey squirrels, and these animals may also occupy nest boxes meant for wood ducks. Wood ducks may end up nesting up to a mile away from their water source as a result. Females line their nests with feathers and other soft materials, and the elevation provides some protection from predators. Unlike most other ducks, the wood duck has sharp claws for perching in trees and can, in southern regions, produce two broods in a single season—the only North American duck that can do so.

Females typically lay seven to fifteen eggs which incubate for an average of thirty days. However, if nesting boxes are placed too close together, females may lay eggs in the nests of their neighbours, which may lead to nests with thirty eggs or more and unsuccessful incubation—a behaviour known as "nest dumping". 

The day after they hatch, the precocial ducklings climb to the opening of the nest cavity and jump down from the nest tree to the ground. The mother calls them to her and guides them to water. The ducklings can swim and find their own food by this time. Wood ducks prefer nesting over water so the young have a soft landing.

Wood ducks feed by dabbling (feeding from the surface rather than diving underwater) or grazing on land. They mainly eat berries, acorns, and seeds, but also insects, making them omnivores. They are able to crush acorns after swallowing them within their gizzard.

26-11-2015 JURONG, SINGAPORE - ROSEATE SPOONBILL (Platalea ajaja)

The roseate spoonbill (Platalea ajaja) is a gregarious wading bird of the ibis and spoonbill family, Threskiornithidae. It is a resident breeder in both South and North America. The roseate spoonbill's pink color is diet-derived, consisting of the carotenoid pigment canthaxanthin, like the American flamingo.

The roseate spoonbill is sometimes placed in its own genus – Ajaia. A 2010 study of mitochondrial DNA of the spoonbills by Chesser and colleagues found that the roseate and yellow-billed spoonbills were each other's closest relatives, and the two were descended from an early offshoot from the ancestors of the other four spoonbill species. They felt the genetic evidence meant it was equally valid to consider all six to be classified within the genus Platalea or alternatively the two placed in the monotypic genera Platibis and Ajaia, respectively. However, as the six species were so similar morphologically, keeping them within the one genus made more sense.

26-11-2015 JURONG, SINGAPORE - YELLOW RUMPED CACIQUE (Cassiculus melanicterus)

The yellow-rumped cacique (Cacicus cela) is a passerine bird in the New World family Icteridae. It breeds in much of northern South America from Panama and Trinidad south to Peru, Bolivia and central Brazil. However, they have been sighted as far north as Nayarit state in Mexico.

The male is on average 28 centimetres (11 in) long and weighs about 104 grams (3.7 oz), with the female 23 centimetres (9.1 in) long and weighing approximately 60 grams (2.1 oz). The yellow-rumped cacique is a slim bird, with a long tail, blue eyes, and a pale yellow pointed bill. It has mainly black plumage, apart from a bright yellow rump, tail base, lower belly and wing "epaulets". The female is duller black than the male, and the juvenile bird resembles the female, but has dark eyes and a brown bill base.

The song of the male yellow-rumped cacique is a brilliant mixture of fluting notes with cackles, wheezes and sometimes mimicry. There are also many varied calls, and an active colony can be heard from a considerable distance.

The yellow-rumped cacique is a bird associated with open woodland or cultivation with large trees.
This gregarious bird eats large insects (such as beetles, caterpillars, crickets, grasshoppers and katydids), spiders (such as orb-weavers), nectar and fruit (such as chupa-chupa and figs).

It is a colonial breeder, with up to 100 bag-shaped nests in a tree, which usually also contains an active wasp nest. The females build the nests, incubate, and care for the young. Each nest is 30–45 cm long and widens at the base, and is suspended from the end of a branch. Females compete for the best sites near the protection of the wasp nest. The normal clutch is two dark-blotched pale blue or white eggs. Females begin incubating after laying the second egg; hatching occurs after 13 or 14 days. The young fledge in 34 to 40 days, usually only one per nest.

Relationship with humans
The yellow-rumped cacique has benefited from the more open habitat created by forest clearance and ranching. It is not considered threatened by the IUCN.

In Peruvian folklore, this species – like other caciques and oropendolas – is called paucar, or – referring to this species only – paucarcillo ("little paucar"). This species is apparently the paucar that, according to a folktale of Moyobamba, originated as a rumor-mongering boy who always wore black pants and a yellow jacket. When he spread an accusation against an old woman who was a fairy in disguise, she turned him into a noisy, wandering bird. The bird's appearance is thought to augur good news.

26-11-2015 JURONG, SINGAPORE - TIMNEH PARROT (Psittacus erithacus ssp. timneh)

The Timneh parrot (Psittacus timneh), also known as the Timneh grey parrot or Timneh African grey parrot, is a West African parrot. Formerly classified as a subspecies of the grey parrot Psittacus erithacus timneh, it is now considered a full species Psittacus timneh. In aviculture, it is often referred to by the initials TAG and is commonly kept as a companion parrot.


The black-naped oriole is distinguished from other species of oriole (which generally have yellow plumage) by a black stripe that extends from the eye to the nape of the neck. The female’s mantle is less bright, with a more olive tinge.

This bird occupies a vast habitat in Asia, with the exception of the semi-arid and desert areas of the western part of the continent. Populations in northern China and southern Siberia migrate to milder areas in winter, flying as far as the Indian subcontinent. Those in South Asia (Indochina, Indonesia and the Philippines) tend to be more sedentary.

The black-naped oriole lives in forests and plantations, plains, hills and mangroves.

It feeds on insects, larvae and fruit such as figs, papayas and mangoes, which is why fruit-growers often consider it to be a pest. Thanks to its beautiful song, it is often trapped and sold as a songbird. However, its wide distribution means this bird is not in any way threatened.


The southern masked weaver (Ploceus velatus), or African masked weaver, is a resident breeding bird species common throughout southern Africa.

This weaver is very widespread and found in a wide range of habitats, including shrubland, savanna, grassland, open woodland, inland wetlands and semi-desert areas. It also occurs in suburban gardens and parks.

The southern masked weaver is 11–14.5 cm (4.3–5.7 in) long with a short, strong, conical bill and pinkish brown legs. The adult male in breeding plumage has a black face, throat and beak, red eye, bright yellow head and underparts, and a plain yellowish-green back,

The female has a pinkish-brown bill, brown or red-brown eye and is dull greenish-yellow, streaked darker on the upper back. The throat is yellowish, fading to off-white on the belly. The non-breeding male resembles the female but retains the red eye. The juvenile of this species is like the female.

The call is a harsh swizzling, similar to other weavers. It also utters a sharp chuk alarm note.


Von der Decken's hornbill (Tockus deckeni) is a hornbill found in East Africa, especially to the east of the East African Rift, from Ethiopia south to Tanzania. It is found mainly in thorn scrub and similar arid habitats. Jackson's hornbill is often treated as a subspecies of it. It was named after the German explorer Baron Karl Klaus von der Decken (1833–1865).

This species is a small hornbill with blackish upperparts and mainly whitish underparts and head. It has a long tail and a long curved bill which lacks a casque. It is similar to the red-billed hornbill except for the bill colour and the lack of spotting on the wing coverts in both male and female.

The species shows sexual dimorphism; the female has a black bill, whereas the male has a red bill with a cream tip and a black cutting edge.

Monday 26 February 2018

25-11-2015 JURONG, SINGAPORE - INDIAN PEAFOWL (Pavo cristatus)

The Indian peafowl is a resident breeder across the Indian subcontinent and inhabits the drier lowland areas of Sri Lanka. In the Indian subcontinent, it is found mainly below an elevation of 1,800 m (5,900 ft) and in rare cases seen at about 2,000 m (6,600 ft). It is found in moist and dry-deciduous forests, but can adapt to live in cultivated regions and around human habitations and is usually found where water is available. In many parts of northern India, they are protected by religious practices and will forage around villages and towns for scraps. Some have suggested that the peacock was introduced into Europe by Alexander the Great, while others say the bird had reached Athens by 450 BCE and may have been introduced even earlier. It has since been introduced in many other parts of the world and has become feral in some areas.

The Indian peafowl has been introduced to the United States, the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, France, Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, Colombia, Guyana, Suriname, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, South Africa, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy, Madagascar, Mauritius, Réunion, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, Croatia and the island of Lokrum.

Peafowl are best known for the male's extravagant display feathers which, despite actually growing from their back, are thought of as a tail. The "train" is in reality made up of the enormously elongated upper tail coverts. The tail itself is brown and short as in the peahen. The colours result not from any green or blue pigments but from the micro-structure of the feathers and the resulting optical phenomena. The long train feathers (and tarsal spurs) of the male develop only after the second year of life. Fully developed trains are found in birds older than four years. In northern India, these begin to develop each February and are moulted at the end of August. The moult of the flight feathers may be spread out across the year.
Peafowl forage on the ground in small groups, known as musters, that usually have a cock and 3 to 5 hens. After the breeding season, the flocks tend to be made up only of females and young. They are found in the open early in the mornings and tend to stay in cover during the heat of the day. They are fond of dust-bathing and at dusk, groups walk in single file to a favourite waterhole to drink. When disturbed, they usually escape by running and rarely take to flight.

Peafowl produce loud calls especially in the breeding season. They may call at night when alarmed and neighbouring birds may call in a relay like series. Nearly seven different call variants have been identified in the peacocks apart from six alarm calls that are commonly produced by both sexes.

Peafowl roost in groups during the night on tall trees but may sometimes make use of rocks, buildings or pylons. In the Gir forest, they chose tall trees in steep river banks. Birds arrive at dusk and call frequently before taking their position on the roost trees. Due to this habit of congregating at the roost, many population studies are made at these sites. The population structure is not well understood. In a study in northern India (Jodhpur), the number of males was 170–210 for 100 females but a study involving evening counts at the roost site in southern India (Injar) suggested a ratio of 47 males for 100 females.

Peafowl are omnivorous and eat seeds, insects (including termites), worms, fruits, small mammals, frogs, and reptiles (such as lizards). They feed on small snakes but keep their distance from larger ones. In the Gir forest of Gujarat, a large percentage of their food is made up of the fallen berries of Zizyphus. They also feed on tree and flower buds, petals, grain, and grass and bamboo shoots. Around cultivated areas, peafowl feed on a wide range of crops such as groundnut, tomato, paddy, chili and even bananas. Around human habitations, they feed on a variety of food scraps and even human excreta. In the countryside, it is particularly partial to crops and garden plants.