Book Review:
A Naturalist’s Guide To The Birds Of Singapore
By Yong Ding Li, Lim Kim Chuah and Lee Tiah Khee


At slightly smaller than A5 size, this pocket-sized guide to birds is an impressive little book which contains enough information to identify 280 bird species commonly seen in Singapore. Useful for residents, park visitors and bird-watchers, the book’s clean design and straightforward style make it an easy read.

Perhaps one of the most common parkland birds, the Black-naped Oriole is the only oriole species in Singapore. It is an omnivore that eats mostly fruits.

For each species, the writers – experienced birdwatchers with extensive field experience – provide a detailed description of the distribution, habits, types of habitats, and sites in Singapore where the bird can be found, as well as its conservation status.

Around 200 to 300 well-taken photographs from Singapore’s top nature photographers, which do much justice to the beauty of the array of birds featured, complement the information and would very much help the amateur birdwatcher in idenitification.

The most common sunbird in Singapore, the Olive-backed Sunbird can be found in a diverse range of habitats, from secondary forests to urban parkland. It can sometimes even be found in balconies of high-rise apartments!

Other than being a handy identification guide, this book also contains a user-friendly introduction perfect for birdwatching newbies; it briefly but sufficiently covers topics such as geography and climate, vegetation, opportunities for naturalists, as well as the sites for viewing species mentioned. At the back of the cover page is a map showing the possible major birdwatching sites in Singapore.

Easily recognisable by its unique combination of facial patterns and colours, the Common Flameback has a call that is a rapid trilling series of ringing ‘keek’ notes.

My favourite part of the book is the comprehensive checklist of all of the birds of Singapore, which includes, for each species, its common and scientific names, and IUCN status as at 2011. The book is definitely worth a look if you are thinking of doing a spot of birdwatching in your free time.

The colourful Jambu Fruit Dove wanders widely in search of fruiting figs. To spot this relatively less common visitor, try Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and Bukit Batok Nature Park.

A Naturalist’s Guide to the Birds of Singapore is available at all major bookshops and retails for $24.95 (inclusive of GST). The book was launched on 13 July 2013 at Books Kinokuniya located at Level 3 of Takashimaya Shopping Centre, in conjunction with a photography exhibition held at the same venue from 8 – 21 July 2013.

Join our contest and have a chance to win one of three copies of the book.

By Emmalyn Lai
Photographs by Lee Tiah Khee

Total Comments: 2

selva gandhi 8/9/2014 11:24:36 PM

Very nice

Moy Scrase 7/23/2013 6:40:14 PM

What a beautifully coloured book. Such excellent photography. Cannot wait till we get to Singapore to go out 'bird watching.'
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