Edible Musa acuminata that is very rich in potassium

Musa acuminata (Dwarf Cavendish Banana, Ornamental Banana, Pisang Serendah)

Mesmerizing fruit cluster of Musa acuminata (Dwarf Cavendish Banana, Ornamental Banana, Pisang Serendah), 6 July 2017Musa acuminata is one of the best fruits that is very rich in potassium.

This extremely versatile plant is widely grown since it produces several bunches of edible fruits all year long, especially in the tropical regions of the world.

We enjoy relishing its sweet fruits quite regularly.
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Cocos nucifera has countless uses

Cocos nucifera (Coconut Palm Tree, Malayan Coconut Palm, Green Malayan Palm)

Fleshy coconut pieces of Cocos nucifera (Coconut Palm Tree, Malayan Coconut Palm, Green Malayan Palm), 3 July 2017The Coconut Palm Tree is one of the most popular palm in the world because of its coconut fruits. It has countless uses.

In our beloved country Malaysia, the Coconut Palm are usually found along the coastal region of West Malaysia.

We truly enjoy the flesh and the refreshing drink found inside the coconut, to quench our thirst, especially on hot days.
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Duranta erecta ‘Geisha Girl’ with captivating lavender flowers

Duranta erecta ‘Geisha Girl’ (Pigeon Berry, Golden Dewdrop, Skyflower)

Duranta erecta 'Geisha Girl' (Pigeon Berry, Golden Dewdrop, Skyflower) with captivating lavender-coloured blossoms, 30 June 2017Duranta erecta ‘Geisha Girl’ or Skyflower is hardier and not as weedy as the other species.

Since it is easily propagated via stem cuttings, it’ll be wonderful to present gifts to neighbours and friends.

This beautiful plant has been identified as an environmental weed in Australia, South Africa and China.
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Acridotheres tristis or myna with interesting colours

Acridotheres tristis (Myna, Mynah, Indian Myna)

Mynas are medium-sized passerines with strong feet. Their flight is strong and direct, and they are gregarious. Their preferred habitat is fairly open country.
A pair of Acridotheres tristis on the pole of a street light, 1 Aug 2013The common myna with body length of 23 cm is readily identified by the brown body, black hooded head and the bare yellow patch behind the eye. The bill and legs are bright yellow. There is a white patch on the outer primaries and the wing lining on the underside is white.

The sexes are similar and birds are usually seen in pairs.

Acridotheres tristis, a medium-sized passerine with strong feet, 17 June 2009It is often known as ‘Selarang’  in Singapore due to their high population there.

Some mynas are considered talking birds, for their ability to reproduce sounds including human speech when in captivity.

An omnivorous open woodland bird with a strong territorial instinct, the myna has adapted extremely well to urban environments.

Taxonomy: Acridotheres tristis resting on our potted plants at the frontyard. 17 June 2009

  • Scientific name: Acridotheres tristis
  • Common name: Mynah, Myna, Indian Myna, Selayang
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Sturnidae

Range: This is a group of passerine birds which are native to southern Asia, especially India.

Habitat: This abundant passerines are typically found in open woodland, cultivation and around habitation. Also, they thrive in urban and suburban environments. They are nuisance to city buildings as their nests block gutters and drainpipes, causing water damage to building exteriors.

Breeding: The common myna is a hollow-nesting species. It nests and breeds in protected hollows found either naturally in trees or artificially on buildings.
Acridotheres tristis in our garden waiting to take off, 17 June 2009Compared to native hollow-nesting species, the common myna is extremely aggressive, and breeding males will actively defend areas ranging up to 0.83 hectares in size though males in densely populated urban settings tend to only defend the area immediately surrounding their nests. The common myna is also known to maintain up to two roosts simultaneously, that is, a temporary summer roost close to a breeding site and a permanent all-year roost where the female broods and incubates overnight. Both male and female common mynas will fiercely protect both roosts at all times, leading to further exclusion of native birds.

Feeding and diet: The Mynas feed on insects, arachnids, crustaceans, reptiles, small mammals, grasshoppers, seeds, grain and fruits that are discarded waste from human habitation.

External link:
Wikipedia on Myna.

Halcyon smyrnensis with bright plumage and pointed bill

Halcyon smyrnensis (White-throated Kingfisher)

Kingfishers are a family of small to medium-sized and brightly coloured birds.

Halcyon smyrnensis (White-throated Kingfisher) with visible large white patches, 1 July 2016This White-throated Kingfisher is large, 27-28 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. The large bill and legs are bright red. The flight of the White-throated kingfisher is rapid and direct, the short rounded wings whirring. 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.

All kingfishers have large heads, long, sharp, pointed or dagger-like bills, short legs and stubby tails.

Most species have bright plumage with only small differences between the sexes.

The kingfishers have excellent vision. They are capable of binocular vision and are thought in particular to have good colour vision. The irises of most species are dark brown.

Taxonomy:

Captivating Halcyon smyrnensis (White-throated Kingfisher) with bright blue back, wings and tail, 1 July 2016

  • Scientific name: Halcyon smyrnensis
  • Common name: White-throated Kingfisher
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Coraciiformes
  • Family: Alcedinidae
  • Subfamily: Halcyoninae (tree kingfishers)

Range: The kingfishers have a cosmopolitan distribution, occurring throughout the world’s tropical and temperate regions.

Habitat: White-throated kingfisher is a common species of a variety of habitats, mostly open country in the plains but has been seen at 7500 ft in the Himalayas with trees, wires or other perches. The range of the species is expanding. This beauty is widespread and populations are not threatened.

Breeding: The White-throated kingfisher begins breeding at the onset of the monsoons. Males perch on prominent high posts in their territory and call in the early morning. The tail may be flicked now and in its courtship display the wings are stiffly flicked open for a second or two exposing the white wing mirrors.
Awesome to see a life Kingfisher (White-throated Kingfisher) for the first time outside our backyard, 1 July 2016They also raise their bill high and display the white throat and front. The female in invitation makes a rapid and prolonged kit-kit-kit call. The nest is a tunnel 50 cm long. The nest building begins with both birds flying into a suitable mud wall until an indentation is made where they can find a perch hold. They subsequently perch and continue digging the nest with their bills. Nest tunnels in a haystack have also been recorded. A single clutch of 4-7 round white eggs is typical. The eggs take 20–22 days to hatch while the chicks fledge in 19 days.

Feeding and diet: Halcyon smyrnensis (White-throated Kingfisher) seen behind our home, 1 July 2016It perches conspicuously on wires or other exposed perches within its territory and is a frequent sight in south Asia. This species mainly hunts large crustaceans, insects, earthworms, rodents, snakes, fish and frogs. Predation of small birds such as the Oriental white-eye, chick of a red-wattled lapwing, sparrows and munias have been reported. The young are fed mostly on invertebrates. In captivity, it has been noted that it rarely drinks water although bathing regularly.

External link:
Wikipedia on the Kingfisher.