Common Tailorbirds "sew" their nests out of green living leaves.
They are particularly fond of the large leaves of the Simpoh
Air tree (Dillenia suffruticosa). The nests are usually low,
about 1m from the ground. For more about Tailorbirds
in general and how they "sew" their nests out of leaves.
Laki Padi/Perenjak Pisang (Malay)
They are indeed the most common Tailorbird in Singapore. Quite bold
with humans, they are rapidly colonising urban areas, seen even in
Like others in their family, Common Tailorbirds are strong singers,
making melodious calls which seem much louder than seems possible
for such a tiny bird. Common Tailorbirds are active and restless;
usually heard rather than seen. They constantly shift their perch
in the understorey thickets, and make short, quick darting flights.
Tailorbirds eat insects: both adults and larvae, actively foraging
for these in the understoreys of wooded habitats. They may also snack
on small fruits, berries, sip some nectar or eat tiny seeds. They
are usually found in pairs.
Breeding: In Sungei Buloh, the
Tailorbirds begin breeding January, reaching a peak in February and
March but continue to breed until June. They are also called Long-tailed
because the male's breeding plumage features highly extended central
tail feathers; up to 3cm longer!
and wetland wildlife at
Sungei Buloh Nature Park
features: Small (12cm); upperparts olive, underparts
creamy buff; bill long; thighs rufous; legs long; tail
Male: Centre of crown rufous; sides of head and
underparts white; black patches on neck.
Female: Rufous restricted
to the forehead.
Call: Described as a monotonous
loud chwee-o; chi-up; chee-rup repeated
quickly. Also a rapid descending trill of 5 notes.
In flight: Darting low flight
in the understorey thickets.
Similar birds: Ashy
Tailorbird (O. ruficeps): The Ashy has a red
face while the Common only has a red crown; the Ashy is
grey elsewhere while the Common is olive on the upperparts
and pale below; the Common has a long tail which the Ashy
lacks. Both of them have red thighs.
Status in Singapore: Very
common resident throughout the island and North and South
World distribution: India
to South China, and Southeast Asia (to Sumatra and Java).
Classification: Family Sylviidae
(which includes Warblers and Babblers). World 552 species,
Singapore 19 species.
2-5 pastel eggs are laid, these are pastel blue with brown speckles. It
appears only the female incubates, but both help raise the young. The young
fledge in 24 days.
Status and threats: The Common Tailorbirds
are not at risk in Singapore as they have adapted well to human interference.
Common Tailorbirds are usually found in the forest edges, scrub and cultivated
areas such as parks, gardens. They are also found in open country. But they
are never seen in the deep forest.
- Morten Strange,
"A Photographic Guide to Birds of Malaysia and Singapore: including
Southeast Asia, the Philippines and Borneo", Periplus, 2000
(p. 314: description, voice, habits, distribution, status, photo).
- Lim Kim Seng and
Dana Gardner, "Birds: An Illustrated Field Guide to the Birds
of Singapore", Sun Tree Publishing Ltd., 1997 (p. 111: identification,
status in Singapore, distribution, diagram, number of species).
- G W H Davison
and Chew Yen Fook, "A Photographic Guide to Birds of Peninsular
Malaysia and Singapore", New Holland Publishers Ltd., 1995
(p. 109: identification, status in Singapore, distribution, photo).
- Morten Strange
and Allen Jeyarajasingam, "Birds: A Photographic Guide to the
Birds of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore", Sun Tree Publishing,
1993 (p. 57: description, distribution, habits, habitat, photo).
- Christopher Hails,
"Birds of Singapore" illustrated by Frank Jarvis, Times
Editions, 1987 reprinted 1995 (p. 132: habits, description, status in
Singapore, and lovely drawings of the birds).
- Adeline Chia,
"Nesting Behaviour of Birds in Sungei Buloh", Wetlands,
Vol 7 No 2, Aug 00, Sungei Buloh Nature Park.
- Ramakrishnan RK,
"Journal of a Nature Warden: Common Tailorbird", Wetlands
Vol 6 No 3, Dec 99 (p. 15; breeding, habitat, habits).
- Lim Kim Seng,
"Vanishing Birds of Singapore", Nature Society (Singapore),
1992 (p. 15: status in Singapore).
- Lim Kim Seng,
"Pocket Checklist of the Birds of the Republic of Singapore",
Nature Society (Singapore), 1999 (Abundance, status, Chinese and Malay
- M W F Tweedie,
"Common Birds of the Malay Peninsula", Longman,1970
(p. 49: description, distribution, habits, habitat, drawing).
- Sir John A S Bucknill
and E N Chasen, "Birds of Singapore and South-East Asia",
Tynron Press, 1927, edition 1990 (p. 195-196: identification, status
in Singapore, distribution, field notes on habits, drawings).