a publication of Sungei Buloh Nature Park

Vol 4 No 1
Apr 97

Breeding Birds
at Sungei Buloh

BirdWatch 96

Luncheon Meet
for Volunteers

The Nesting Herons of
Sungei Buloh

at the Park

Activity Stations
at Sungei Buloh
Breeding Birds
at Sungei Buloh
Johanna Tan

'Resident' birds refers to bird species found in the park throughout the year. Breeding activity varies greatly with individual species but to a large extent coincides with the peak season of the breeding of insects, which is food for rnost resident birds to feed their fledglings with.

The breeding season is the most stressful period for resident birds with courting, nest-building, parenting of eggs and nestling all placing a heavy demand on time and energy. Eggs are particularly vulnerable to predators and the vagaries of the weather. Nests therefore have to provide an insulated environment whilst remaining as inconspicuous as possible.

Nests in the Park tend to be either well-concealed or inaccessible. For example, the Olive-backed Sunbird decorates the exterior of its nest with a variety of items to disguise its presence. Nests vary in shapes and sizes; Kingfishers, bee-eaters and woodpeckers use natural cavities in trees or excavate burrows to lay their eggs in. Bulbuls, flycatchers build cup-shaped nests which are often felted with moss and lichen. Prinias and munias construct small balls of dried grass with lateral openings, usually in tall grasses. Tailorbirds stitch large green leaves into tubes in which their tiny cup- shaped nests are placed.

Perhaps the most skilfully constructed nest is that of the Baya Weaver, which is most often suspended from the tips of coconut palm fronds and, in the Park, even on rambutan and ficus trees.

Baya Weaver nests
The Large-tailed Nightjar lays its two pink eggs on the ground amongst the leaf litter, relying on its own camouflage to hide them by sitting on the nest during the day. At night, when the nightjar is feeding, the pale coloured eggs are often concealed to avoid predator detection.

Most of the nests found in the Park are those of the Yellow-vented Bulbul, the Baya Weaver the Yellow-bellied Prinia and the Nightjar.

Locating the nests of these birds takes patience and a keen eye. If you chance upon one of them, please do not disturb them or they may be abandoned by the breeders. If you could not find any of the nests mentioned, do not despair. Remember to look out for a pair of Collared Kingfishers perching on a dead branch on the banks of Sungei Buloh Besar on your way back to the Visitor Centre. And do remember, take nothing but photographs.
© Sungei Buloh Nature Park