Short-toed Snake Eagle, at Gardens by the Bay, 11 Nov 2022, by Danny Khoo
Summary for migrant species:
It’s yet another amazing November, with 21 migrant raptor species recorded (compared with last year’s already awesome list of 20). The rarities included a juvenile Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca, at Mount Faber on the 8th, and four sightings of the Short-toed Snake Eagle, Circaetus gallicus at Henderson Waves on the 2nd, Sungei Tengah and Telok Blangah Hill Park on the 7th, and Gardens by the Bay on the 11th. The only record of the Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus was at Henderson Waves on the 4th, and that of the Black Kite Milvus migrans at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve on the 6th.
Unfortunately, the only Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus was a dead one found at Pasir Panjang on the 10th. The Besra Accipiter virgatus was recorded at the Southern Ridges on the 4th, 9th, and 16th, all juveniles. There was a juvenile Accipiter, at the southern ridges on the 6th, which was thought to be a Besra initially, but the structure seemed closer to Shikra; it seemed to have mixed characteristics, and it is probably wise not to be hasty to tag an ID to it.
Other scarce raptors included the Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus for which there were four sightings, at Henderson Waves on the 6th, Tuas South on the 7th & 8th, and Lazarus Island on the 18th; and the Common Buzzard Buteo buteo, for which there were three records all at Mount Faber, on the 4th, 5th and 9th.
The Grey-faced Buzzard Butastur indicus was represented by six individuals in four sightings: three adults at Tuas South on the 2nd, one each at Tuas South & Mount Faber on the 7th, and one at Henderson Waves on the 20th.
Grey-faced Buzzard, adult, at Tuas South, 2 Nov 2022, by Tan Gim Cheong
For the five Eastern Marsh Harriers Circus spilonotus, two were frequenting the open spaces at Tuas South, and three were likely on passage, at Kranji Marsh and Henderson Waves on the 6th, and Mount Faber on the 21st. As for the Pied Harrier Circus melanoleucos, the eight individuals were recorded at Tuas South, Mount Faber and Lim Chu Kang area, with the only adult male at Tuas, and the only adult female at Neo Tiew Harvest Lane.
The seven Greater Spotted Eagles Clanga clanga, all probably on passage, were recorded at Dairy Farm Nature Park, Jelutong Tower, Mountbatten, and the southern ridges. The only Rufous-bellied Eagle Lophotriorchis kienerii was recorded at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve on the9th.
There were many sightings of the Jerdon’s Baza Aviceda jerdoni throughout the month, but the numbers were conservatively put down as 11, with the assumption that some may have flown around Singapore before settling at Coney Island, while others may have continued on to Indonesia. Of the 76 Chinese Sparrowhawks Accipiter soloensis recorded, the site faithful adult female at Ang Mo Kio was spotted from the 5th onwards. We had 143 Black Bazas Aviceda leuphotes this month, with small flocks of up to 22 birds over the southern ridges.
Pied Harrier, juvenile, at Tuas South, 1 Nov 2022, by Chen Boon Chong
Most of the 244 Japanese Sparrowhawks Accipiter gularis were recorded migrating over the southern ridges, with 53 birds being the highest in a day, on the 4th. Some adult females were in active moult of their flight feathers and one at Henderson Waves on the 11th had a “6-fingered” appearance due to moult of the inner primaries, and observers are advised to take note of moult to avoid mis-identification.
For the 980 Oriental Honey Buzzards Pernis ptilorhyncus, a day high of 135 birds was recorded at Henderson Waves on the 11th. In addition, seven Western Ospreys Pandion haliaetus and fifteen Peregrine Falcons Falco peregrinus were recorded.
For the nocturnal Oriental Scops Owl Otus sunia, there were two records on the 21st, one perched on potted plants along a HDB corridor, and another apparently concussed at Republic Poly.
Black-winged Kite, fledglings, at Gardens by the Bay, 12 Nov 2022, by Wong Sangmen
Highlights for sedentary species:
There were five Crested Serpent Eagles Spilornis cheela, one at the Lim Chu Kang Area, one on Pulau Ubin on the 23rd, one at the southern ridges, and two at the Botanic Gardens. Two torquatus Oriental Honey Buzzard were recorded: one at the Botanic Gardens on the 18th, and one at Tampines Eco Green on the 24th; while one ernesti Peregrine Falcon was recorded at Henderson Waves on the 12th.
The Black-winged Kite Elanus caeruleus pair at Gardens by the Bay produced three chicks which had fledged by the 2nd. Unfortunately for the fledgling Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupu at SBWR, it was attacked by Oriental Pied Hornbills which damaged its wing feathers. The other diurnal resident raptors recorded included the Changeable Hawk-Eagle, Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Crested Goshawk and the common Brahminy Kite and White-bellied Sea Eagle.
A Harris’s Hawk Parabuteo unicinctus with falconry anklets on both tarsi was photographed at the Mountbatten area on many occasions in November.
Many thanks to everyone who had reported their sightings in one way or another, and especially to Danny Khoo, Chen Boon Chong and Wong Sangmen for the use of their photos.
For a pdf version with more details, please click Singapore Raptor Report – November 2022