Main features: Small (40-46cm); greenish-grey; neck short; black crown with long black crest;
adult little heron
underparts paler grey; bill black; legs and toes pale yellow/ orange; facial skin greenish. Genders look alike.
Juvenile: Generally duller; upperparts dark brown; white spots on wings; throat, neck and breast white streaked brown; legs dull green.
In flight: Wings appear all dark; toes project well beyond tail.
Call: A quiet bird. Its call described as a harsh single ke-yow or chauk when flushed into flight; a raspy kitch-itch-itch; a loud kweak..kee-kee-kee.
Little Herons are often encountered at Sungei Buloh Nature Park, hunched into a compact egg-shape on a branch over the water, motionless but intently looking out for prey. Clothed in their camouflaging plumage, the less observant visitor often overlooks them.
Little Herons eat mainly small fish and crustacea (especially crabs). They also take amphibians and insects and any other edible titbits, including small mammals.
Little Herons use a wide variety of hunting techniques, but usually hunt from cover and rarely forage on the open mudflats.
Often, they perch-and-wait on a branch or root over the water, tucking in their necks and crouching in a low forward position over the water. They may flick their crests up and down as they wait. Little Herons may also jump, plunge or swim after their prey. Or they may use their feet to stir up or rake the surface for titbits. They may even dive into the water.
But more impressively, they may bait fish and other prey, e.g., by dropping a leaf onto the surface. Unlike other herons, Little Herons are not deterred by the rising tide as they are small enough to perch on overhanging branches, though often precariously.
Both adults and young birds have a partial web between the middle and outer toes, which may allow them to swim. Nestlings that fall into the water paddle efficiently to safety. And adult birds paddle back after plunging into water after prey.
These solitary birds usually hunt and roost alone and are highly territorial. But in good feeding areas, several of them may be spaced out at regular intervals. Little Herons prefer to hunt during the early morning and late evening, in shallow waters lined with vegetation which provide good perches and hiding places: mainly mangroves, estuaries, coral reefs and rocky coasts. They may also be found, less commonly and in smaller numbers, in freshwater wetlands such as swamps, streams, canals, reservoirs, and even parks and gardens.
Breeding: In Singapore, Little Herons appear to breed year-round. Courtship displays involve crest raising, neck fluffing with aerial displays, circle and crooked-neck flights and snap displays. This is accompanied by their harsh rasping courting calls and constant tail flicking. Usually, the male performs the displays.
Little Herons usually nest alone, but loose colonies of up to 10 nesting pairs have been encountered, sometimes several nests to one tree. They prefer to nest in mangroves, in trees or in bushes, often over water. They do not appear to nest further than 3 km from the coast. They build flimsy platform nests out of twigs about 30 cm wide and 5cm deep. Nests are built at 2-10 m up. In Sungei Buloh, nests were first recorded in February 2000, made in the mangrove tree, Blind Your Eye (Excoecaria allgalocha) about 5m from the ground.
2-7, usually 5-4, pale greenish-blue eggs are laid. Both parents incubate. Hatchlings are covered in yellow down and emerge at the same time. Both parents feed and raise the young. The young remain in the nest until they fledge. But if disturbed, they will scramble out of the nest and cling to branches to make it more difficult for predators to pick them off.
Migration: Little Herons are generally resident in their range, but those that breed far north in East Asia (A. s. amurensis) do migrate south. These rare visitors to Singapore are slightly larger and usually travel at night.
Status and threats: Little Herons do not appear to be under serious threat as they are still very widespread and found even on oceanic islands. But like other herons, they are affected by habitat destruction and pollution of their environment. In the past they were hunted for food although they apparently only make “tolerable eating”.
Species: C. saularis
Binomial name Copsychus saularis
Main features: Large (20-23cm); bill black; legs grey.
Male: Black head, breast and upperparts; underparts white; tail black with white outer feathers; bold white wingbars.
Female: Back upperparts and breast replaced by dull dark grey.
Juvenile: As in the adult but with mottled brown breast
Call: Described as a melodious song; a mournful rising whistle; and harsh raspy alarm note.
The Oriental Magpie Robin Copsychus saularis is a small passerine bird that was formerly classed as a member of the thrush family Turdidae, but is now more generally considered to be an Old World flycatcher, family Muscicapidae. It is also known as Oriental Magpie Robin, Straits Robin and Magpie.
This magpie-robin is an insectivorous species which is a resident breeder in tropical southern Asia from Bangladesh, Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka east to Indonesia, south China and the Philippines.
The Oriental Magpie Robin is found in open woodland, cultivated areas and around human habitation. It nests in a hole, often in a wall, laying 3-6 eggs which are incubated by both sexes.
This species is 19cm long, including the long cocked tail. It is similar in shape to the smaller European Robin, but is longer-tailed. The male has black upperparts, head and throat apart from a white shoulder patch. The underparts and the sides of the long tail are white. Females are grey above and greyish white. Young birds have scaly brown upperparts and head.
The Oriental Magpie Robin is a common and tame bird. It is terrestrial, hopping along the ground with cocked tail. The male sings loud melodic notes from the top of a perch during the breeding season.
This is a native species in Singapore, where it is known by the Malay names Kampung/Cerang. Once very common in the 1920s, it was pushed to near extinction by the 1970s, largely due to the introduction of mynahs, illegal poaching, and the disappearance of its natural habitat in the face of rapid urbanisation. Attempts to reintroduce the bird were conducted in the 1980s, but the species remains vulnerable and hence protected by law.
The Magpie Robin’s sad story is a parable of near extinction in Singapore. Magpie Robins were once widespread and common in Singapore, as they still are in Peninsular Malaysia. But they were nearly wiped out in Singapore. Happily, they have made a slow comeback through reintroduction efforts, although their status remains vulnerable (see details below). Sungei Buloh Nature Park is among the few strongholds on the main island for this delightful bird.
Magpie Robins have a varied diet of fruits and animals but are particularly fond of insects and worms. They forage in trees as well as on the ground, where they hop with their tail raised. They also sip nectar.
They prefer open areas such as mangroves, gardens, cultivated areas. They are not found in the deep forest.
Magpie Robins have a delightful varied song and are said to be able to imitate the calls of other birds. They are sprightly and lively, often cocking their long tails. They are easy to spot as they are not shy and sing from exposed perches. Sometimes, they may abruptly sing in at night!
Breeding: Magpie Robins breed in January to June. Males court females with hearty song, usually at dawn and dusk, moving their tails up and down in tune. They can be very territorial during breeding. They build their nests almost anywhere from thick shrubs, in the fork of branches of small trees, palms (at the base of the palm frond), hollow trees and even near human habitation: under a veranda, in a hole in the wall, in an old tin can, and in stables. Nests are usually built low. Their nests are large, untidy, shallow cups loosely made from grass or dried leaves, twigs, moss, roots. These are lined with fibres or grass. 3-5 eggs are laid, pale blue or greenish with brown or purple spots. The female incubates, but both raise the young.
I met these birds in some countries, Hongkong, Thailand, China, Indonesia and Singapore.
Those photos above I took in Botanical garden singapore on July 2008. They called each others with nice songs, enjoy walking and sitting there with their songs.
Location: Cluny Road Singapore 259569
Tel: (65) 6471 7361
To go to Botanical garden, you can take MRT to Orchard(NS22) along Orchard Boulevard, take SBS bus 7, 105, 106, 123 or 174
Photo Gallery: Oriental Magpie Robin
Species: P. capensis
Binomial name Pelargopsis capensis
Main features: The largest (37cm, 140-200g, females usually heavier); bill large (18-20cm) coral-red; upper parts blue; head brown; collar and underparts orange-yellow; feet red.
Adult: As above. Genders look alike.
Juvenile: Like the adult but with narrow dusky fringes on the collar, lower throat and breast and buff-green fringing on upper tail coverts.
Call: Described as flutey 3-4 note fuey falling in pitch; a loud ke-ke-keke-ke-ke in flight. Also a squawking cackle.
In flight: Plain blue wings; big red bill.
The Stork-billed Kingfisher, Pelargopsis capensis (formerly Halcyon capensis), is a tree kingfisher which is widely but sparsely distributed in tropical south Asia from India and Sri Lanka to Indonesia. This kingfisher is essentially resident throughout its range.
This is a very large kingfisher, 35 cm in length. The adult has a green back, blue wings and tail, and grey head. Its underparts and neck are buff. The very large bill and legs are bright red. The flight of the Stork-billed Kingfisher is laboured and flapping, but direct. Sexes are similar. There are 15 races, mostly differing in plumage detail, but P. c. gigantea of the Sulu Islands has a white head, neck and underparts. The call of this noisy kingfisher is a low and far reaching peer-por-por repeated every 5 seconds or so as well cackling ke-ke-ke-ke-ke-ke.
Stork-billed Kingfisher is a species of a variety of well-wooded habitats near lakes, rivers or coasts. It perches quietly whilst seeking food, and is often inconspicuous despite its size. It is territorial and will chase away eagles and other large predators. This species hunts fish, frogs, crabs, rodents and young birds.
Stork-billed Kingfisher digs its nest in a river bank, decaying tree, or a tree termite nest. A clutch of two to five round white eggs is typical.
Breeding: Stork-billed Kingfishers dig out a tunnel nest in among other things: river banks, termite and ants’ nests (include a nest made 6 m high up in a tree), and a hollow tree trunk. 2-5 white eggs are laid. Little else is known about their breeding habits.
That’s wonderful day, but quite hot, on July 2008. I almost decided to go home after searching around in this Botanical Garden, Singapore. I tried to get some of kingfisher photos here. But maybe not the day. But suddenly I saw this bird flying above the Swan Lake, then I tried to catch him, following him until I was below him, he looked at me then I took some of his photos.
I paid more attention of this bird, because finally I can meet him. Then he flight over and landed in the lake caught an orange nice fish, quite big for his mouth. Then I run to get closer, then I took some photos but many people was walking around make the birds went away. I could see the whole process. Actually I could not express my feelting that time, happy I can see this birds, but also sad because of the fish was going to die.
If you see the photos, you will see 2 eyes there with the different feeling.
Photo Gallery: Stork-billed Kingfisher