These are some of the more commonly seen birds in our garden. Their species and numbers vary with the time of the year and on the condition of my plants – the more flowers there are, the more birds we see! We also have a swimming pool and a large pond, and these contribute to attracting birds and dragonflies, but more about the dragonflies in a later blog. In the late afternoon or early evenings, the birds drop in for a free bath along the edges of the pool. They then fly up to the tree branches to preen themselves, and I get to photograph them if I am fortunate!
The Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker is rather difficult to spot due to its extremely small size and its fondness for hiding deep within clumps of parasitic figs that grow on the various trees. The Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker is sexually dimorphic. The male having white underparts and throat, black head-sides, deep glossy-blue wings and a distinctive red stripe running from its crown down to the upper tail. The female Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker, on the other hand, is primarily olive-green.
The Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis), or yellow-bellied sunbird, is a species of sunbird found from Southern Asia to Australia. This bird is a regular visitor to my Thalia geniculata (water plant) in my pond. They feed largely on nectar, although they will also take insects, especially when feeding their young. Their flight on their short wings is fast and direct. They are the most common Sunbirds in Singapore and are found almost everywhere except in the deepest forest. Originally from mangroves, they have spread to forest margins and secondary growths, to cultivated areas (parks, gardens) and even urban areas. The adult male has a dark, metallic blue-black forehead, throat and upper breast.
The Red-Whiskered Bulbul.(Right)
The red-whiskered bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus) is a passerine bird found in Asia.
It has a pointed black crest, white cheeks, brown back, reddish under tail coverts and a long white-tipped tail. The red whisker mark, from which it gets its name, is located below the eye, but is not always easy to see. Both male and female birds are similar in plumage, while young birds are duller with a greyish-black crown. It feeds on fruits and small insects and they conspicuously perch on trees and their calls are a loud three or four note call. They are very common in hill forests and urban gardens.
Above: picture is the red wiskered bulbul.
On the left: the Java myna on the roof tiles.
The Javan myna (Acridotheres javanicus), also known as the white-vented myna and the buffalo myna, is a member of the Starling family. It is amongst the commonest bird in Singapore. I have a pair nesting under the roof tiles of my house. This is one of the parents bringing a juicy worm to feed it’s hatchlings.
The Oriental white-eye (Zosterops palpebrosus). A small passerine bird in the white-eye family, is a resident breeder in open woodlands east from the Indian subcontinent to Southeast Asia, extending to Indonesia and Malaysia. They forage in small groups, feeding on nectar and small insects, and are easily identified by the distinctive white eye-ring and overall yellowish upper parts. The sexes look similar.
The Asian glossy starling (Aplonis panayensis) is a species of starling that are highly gregarious. . They eat mainly soft fruits (papaya, banana, mangos) and berries, and sometimes insects. They are particularly fond of figs.
The Spotted dove (Spilopelia chinensis) is a small and somewhat long-tailed pigeon which is a common resident breeding bird across its native range. Also called the mountain dove, pearl-necked dove or lace-necked dove.
The white-throated kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis) also known as the white-breasted kingfisher or Smyrna kingfisher, is a tree kingfisher, widely distributed in Asia from Turkey east through the Indian subcontinent to the Philippines. This kingfisher is a resident over much of its range, although some populations may make short distance movements. Often found well away from water where it feeds on a wide range of prey that includes small reptiles, amphibians, crabs, small rodents and even birds
The yellow-vented bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier) is resident breeder in S.E. Asia from southern Thailand and Cambodia south to Borneo and the Philippines. It is found in a wide variety of open habitats, but not deep forest. It is one of the most common birds in cultivated areas. The yellow-vented bulbuls eats berries and small fruits, and also sip nectar, nibble on young shoots, and take some insects. The pair shot in my garden.