admin on August 8th, 2008
Penang, Malaysia

Penang, Malaysia

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Coraciiformes
Family: Halcyonidae
Genus: Halcyon
Species: H. smyrnensis

Binomial name Halcyon smyrnensis

The White-throated Kingfisher, Halcyon smyrnensis, also known as the White-breasted Kingfisher or Smyrna Kingfisher, is a tree kingfisher which is widely distributed in south Asia from Turkey east to the Philippines. This kingfisher is essentially resident over much of its range, apart from seasonal movements.

Main features: Medium (28cm); throat and breast white, but no white collar; head and rest of underparts chocolate brown. Wings, tail and back turquoise; bill large (6-7cm), red; feet red.

Female: brown parts not so dark.

Juvenile: Duller; bill initially dark; fine dark scallops on white breast; lesser wing-coverts mottled black.

Call: Described as a loud shrill whinnying kek-kek which trails off; a harsh repeated klip; a piercing staccato laugh.

In flight: Blue with wing tips black; white patch at base of primaries;

The first of the alternative English names is to be preferred because the geographical name is too restrictive for this widespread bird, and the easternmost race lacks a white breast.

This is a large kingfisher, 28 cm in length. The adult has a bright blue back, wings and tail. Its head, shoulders, flanks and lower belly are chestnut, and the throat and breast are white.

There are four races differing mainly in plumage shades, but H. s. gularis of the Philippines has only the neck and throat white. The flight of the White-throated Kingfisher is rapid and direct, the short rounded wings whirring. The large bill and legs are bright red.

In flight, large white patches are visible on the blue and black wings. Sexes are similar, but juveniles are a duller version of the adult. The call of this noisy kingfisher is a chuckling chake-ake-ake-ake-ake.

White-throated Kingfisher is a common species of a variety of habitats with some trees, and its range is expanding. It perches conspicuously on wires or other exposed perches within its territory, and is a frequent sight in south Asia. This species mainly hunts large insects, rodents, snakes, fish and frogs. It is reputed to eat tired migratory passerine birds like Chiffchaffs where the opportunity arises.

White-throated Kingfisher has a striking display in which the wings are spread to show the white patches. The nest is a 50cm tunnel in an earth bank. A single clutch of 4-7 round white eggs is typical.

While hunting along the water, they prey on crabs, amphibians (frogs) and reptiles (skinks, lizards). On land, they hunt large insects and arthropods (grasshoppers, beetles, termites, scorpions, centipedes). They beat these against their perch to kill and remove venomous stings. They even take small mammals (rats, mice, voles), snakes up to 65cm long, and nestling birds.

White-throated Kingfishers dive to catch aquatic prey; in shallow water, entering feet-first, in deeper waters, head-first. They can also hover for a short while before plunging in. They also dive into grass and vegetation to catch their prey. Their huge bills come in handy to hammer their prey to death. Swarming termites may also be caught in flight.

Their hunts appear to be more successful in wetlands than on dry land. White-throated Kingfishers hunt alone, but where hunting is good, they may perch as close as 100 m apart without showing much hostility.

Breeding: White-throated Kingfishers breed in Singapore in December-May. Courting White-throated Kingfishers display on a perch as they sing, spreading out their wings to show the white patches. Some perform a courtship flight, flying straight up then spiralling downwards.

White-throated Kingfishers nest in steep earth banks besides roads and stream, and occasionally, termite mounds. They dig out a tunnel about 7 cm wide, 50 cm to nearly 1 m deep ending in a breeding chamber about 20 cm in diameter. During the construction period, the mated pair are very vocal and call and display to each other continuously. 4-7 white eggs are laid. Both parents raise the chicks.

I took that photos when I was in Penang, near by the clock tower.

Source:

Photo Gallery: White-throated Kingfisher

admin on August 8th, 2008
Mandai Orchid Garden, Singapore

Mandai Orchid Garden, Singapore

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum:  Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Pycnonotidae
Genus: Pycnonotus
Species: P. goiavier

Binomial name Pycnonotus goiavier
(Scopoli, 1886)

Main features: Small (20cm); slight crest; white face; yellow under tail coverts.

Adult: Olive brown crown, nape, underparts; white side of head, eyebrow, throat, belly; lores black; breast whitish streaked brown; black bill, feet, eyes. No white on tail.

Genders look alike.

Juvenile: Sides of head brownish; throat greyish.

Call: Described as a pleasing liquid bubbling chatter; loud harsh alarm call chweit-chweit.

The Yellow-vented Bulbul, Pycnonotus goiavier, is a member of the bulbul family of passerine birds. It is resident breeder in southeast 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 commonest birds in cultivated areas. It appear to be nomadic, roaming from place to place regularly.

The Yellow-vented Bulbul builds a well-camouflaged but fragile, loose, deep, cup-shaped nest from grass, leaves, roots, vine stems, and twigs. The nest is untidy on the outside, but it is neatly lined with plant fibers. it may be built in a wide range of places from low bushes to high trees. This is a species adapted to humans and may even nest in gardens. The Yellow-vented Bulbul lays 2-5 eggs in February to June.

The Yellow-vented Bulbuls eats berries and small fruits. They also sip nectar, nibble on young shoots, and take some insects.

Breeding: Yellow-Vented Bulbuls breed widely in Singapore in February to June. Courtship involves wing and song displays. They raise and lower the crown crest as they sing.

Yellow-Vented Bulbuls build well-camouflaged but flimsy, loose, deep, cup-shaped nests. They use grass, leaves, roots, vine stems, twigs. The nest may be untidy on the outside but are neatly lined with plant fibres. They nest in a wide range of places from low bushes, creepers to high trees. They are so used to humans that they may even nest in ornamental plants in residential gardens and even balconies! 2-5 eggs are laid, variable in colour from white to pinkish, with lots of reddish-brown to lavender spots. Both parents incubate and raise the young.

Source:

Photo Gallery: Yellow-vented Bulbul

admin on August 8th, 2008
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Sturnidae
Genus: Acridotheres
Species: A. javanicus

Binomial name Acridotheres javanicus
(Cabanis, 1850)

The Javan Myna Acridotheres javanicus, also known as the white-vented myna and the buffalo myna, is a myna, a member of the Starling family.

It is a successful species in much of South East Asia and has penetrated into India and neighbouring regions.

It is conspecific, and thought to be in competition with the Common or Indian Myna (A. tristis) in some of its range (for example, India, Malaysia and Singapore).

The Javan Myna has an extremely liquid voice and, like the European starling, incorporates imitation into its repertoire (though it is not able to imitate the human voice, like the hill myna Gracula religiosa).

The Javan myna is predominantly black, with a white vent, a white wing patch, white on the underside of the tail, and has a thick yellow eye ring, legs and beak. It sometimes has grey/ white flecking on its belly. It can raise the feathers on its forehead into a dramatic crest.

Like other Sturnids it is omnivorous, roosts in colonies and is abundantly successful in a variety of habitats. Javan mynas are as accomplished in cities as they are in padi fields, where they will prey on insects disturbed by water buffalo, often riding the buffalo like the related oxpecker.

The Javan Myna is considered a pest, especially in urban areas which they prefer. They deposit droppings over buildings and even on unsuspecting human beings. Their roost also contaminate the ground below by the droppings. Apart from that, they are also a source of noise pollution and are capable of spreading zoonoses. In Singapore, the Javan Myna is one of the species of birds which can be killed by citizens without breaching of law.

They are also available at most Singapore bird shops at a very cheap cost, thus, many of them are bought and release into the wild and damaging the ecosystem of Singapore even further.

There is some confusion over naming between A. grandis and A. javanicus, which was until recently considered a subspecies of the Pale-bellied Myna, A. cinereus.

Source
: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxpecker

Photo Gallery
: Javan Myna