Fruit-eating birds in Singapore gardens

One of the things I like about having a variety of plants in a garden is watching the variety of birds that are attracted to the different plants. In many cases, I didn’t realize that certain plants had any draw for birds, but once you get a camera and are on the lookout for new victims, you notice much, much more…

Black-naped oriole - so named for the black band that goes right around the neck - feasting on a mango

Fruit trees are natural bird magnets. Within the neighbourhood, we have mango, jambu (water apple), rambutan and papaya as the most common fruit trees. Then there are berry-producing trees such as the curry leaf and palm trees.

Black-naped orioles, mynahs, starlings and bulbuls are our most common fruit-eating feathered visitors. They indulge in all the fruit offerings they can find.

Asian Koels have also established themselves here in recent years. They’re the irritating ones that cry out in that VERY LOUD, ascending-the-scale cry early in the mornings (and sporadically during the day). Koels aren’t very discreet birds – they hop noisily through trees and occasionally don’t care that you’re clicking away with the camera below them.

Male Asian Koel eating the berries of a palm tree. I had a good laugh because he was so intent on feeding while leaning downwards that he nearly fell out of the tree! Only a flurry of fluttering wings and scrambling feet kept him from falling down. And I know it was a “him” because the females are similarly red-eyed but beautifully spotted.

One unusual visitor was a flameback woodpecker that I noticed in a neighbour’s rambutan tree. Unfortunately, that particular neighbour lives several houses away, and a camera zoom can only do so much. I wish I could do a CSI photo clean-up, but this isn’t Hollywood. You can sort of make out the woodpecker hanging off the rambutan, though. Sort of. I hope to get a better photo of the flameback one day – they’re probably the most unusual birds I’ve seen locally so far.

Common flameback woodpecker hanging off a red rambutan fruit.

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