Scaly-breasted Munia enjoying Algae.

Scaly-breasted Munia enjoying algae
 
by T.Ramesh 

Scaly-breasted Munias ( Lonchura punctulata) are common residents in Singapore and have two races  – the local fretensis with paler upper parts and the introduced topela with distinctive brownish upper parts.   The introduced species of topela are common along the grass patches of Changi Business Park (CBP) canal which is behind the CBP bus depot.

unnamed


During one of my regular birding walk along this  canal recently,  I noticed a thick layer of green algae had bloomed on the canal.   Algae are plants lacking roots, stems and leaves and they are widespread in terms of habitats.  Singapore with equatorial climate has algal abundance and richness with 1054 species recorded .
I observed a Scaly-breasted Munia  landed on the algae.  Generally they are gregarious in groups but foraging can be individual or in group .  Studies have established the economic consequences of joining other munias in two models :  i) Information sharing model and ii) producer-scourger model .
However,  here it was alone . It poked the slimy algae and pulled the strands out to munch.  It kept hopping on different parts of the algae and continued to feed while alertly looking around for any threat . I quote below Avery, ML ‘s observation in his research paper in 1975 on White-rumped Munia’s feeding behaviour  in Malaysia:
 “Field observations and stomach analyses showed that the munias ate rice and the green filamentous alga, Spirogyra, almost exclusively. The primary periods of algae eating occurred in January and June-August, coinciding with the munias’ two peak periods of reproductive activity, as determined by gonadal examination. Apparently munias on the study area ate Spirogyra as a source of protein to enable them to become physiologically ready for breeding, much as other tropical bird species eat insects .”
Ref: Diet and breeding seasonality among population of White-rumped Munia, Lonchura striata, in Malaysia by Michael L. Avery.
 Though this behaviour is observed in other countries, glad to video record this in Singapore .
Click on the link below for the video.
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Nesting of Rufescent Prinias in Peninsular Malaysia.

Nesting of Rufescent Prinias in Peninsular Malaysia.

By Connie Khoo.

The Rufescent Prinia Prinia rufescens is a common breeding resident in Malaysia. The subspecies found in Peninsular Malaysia is extrema. It is one of the three Prinia species listed in Malaysia. It can be found in open scrub and dry grasslands next to forest edges. It is also a common resident across South East Asia except Central Thailand and Singapore. Its range include North and North East India, Bhutan and SW China.

DSCN5886-ad&1stD J 12.6.19

The fledgling staying close to the nest just below it while the parent kept watch from above.

On 3rd June 2019 I came across a low nest by the side of a forest outside Ipoh, Perak. The nest was built by stitching up the sides of a large leaf into a conical shaped cup just like a tailorbird’s nest. The one meter tall plant is identified as the Terung Asam, Solanum lasiocarpum, by my friend Amar-Singh HSS. It was lined with fine dried grasses inside and hung about a half meter above ground.

DSCN4750-7-8D -8.6.19

The nest is very similar to that of the tailorbird’s nest, leaf sewn together, cup shaped and filled with fine grasses inside.

Three hatchlings with pin feathers and exposed naked skin were seen inside the nest. Their eyes were closed. I estimated that they hatched no more than 2 to 3 day before.

DSCN6689-habitat

A wide angle view of the surrounding habitat and forest edge of the nesting area with the Terung Asam on the left.

When I visited the nest again on the 6th June, the parents were more relaxed and were feeding the chicks regularly. During the monitoring over the next few days, I saw the parents bringing back a variety of insects for the chicks with caterpillars as the main diet. Other insects include grasshoppers, small moths and butterflies, termites, spiders, black ants and insect eggs. However no dragonflies or damselflies were brought back.

DSCN3807

Parent checking on the hatchlings inside the sewn leaf of the Terung Asam plant.

On 8th June, the chicks were fully covered by feathers and their eyes were open. By now they were about 7-8 days old.

The first chick fledged on the morning of the 12th June at 8.38 am, 11-13 days after hatching. It jumped out of the nest and then flew to a thin branch 3 meters away. This caused much anxiety and excitement with the parents. The second and third chick followed suit at 8.46 am and 9.18 am. They flew straight to the nearest branch much to the relief of the parents. The feeding continued that morning but I was surprised to find two more adults coming by to help feed the chicks. This communal feeding was recorded in other species but this is the first time I have seen it with this prinia.

DSCN5927-1stD J 12.6.19

The first fledgling came out of the nest after 11-13 days after hatching.

The parents led the chicks out to the forest edges to feed the next day. By now it was hard to monitor them as the chicks moved deeper into the denser part of the forest.

DSCN6315-parents&J 12.6.19

The parents staying close to the fledglings at the edge of the forest on the second day after they fledged.

I was glad to be able to document this nesting as past nesting failed either due to predation or inclement weather.

Thanks to Alan OwYong for editing and additional notes on its distribution.

Reference: Craig Robson. A field Guide to the Birds of Thailand and South-East Asia. Asia Books Company 2000.

 

 

 

Singapore Bird Report – May 2019

by Geoff Lim, Alan Owyong (compiler), Tan Gim Cheong (ed.)

Undoubtedly the mega-sighting for the month of May was the rare Pheasant-tailed Jacana at Satay by the Bay, followed closely by the Buff-rumped Woodpecker on Pulau Ubin. This month also marks the tail end of the spring migration as our winter visitors make their way back to their breeding ground. Reports of resident species begin to dominate the scene as we reach the middle of the year.

Lily-trotter in an Urban Lily Pond

On 5 May 2019, a Pheasant-tailed Jacana Hydrophasianus chirurgus flew over the lily pond around 8am at Satay by the Bay, alighted briefly on the plants, before taking off again into the skies.

1. PT Jacana, 050519, SBTB, Siew Mun

Pheasant-tailed Jacana at Satay by the Bay on 5 May 2019; photo taken by Siew Mun

Pheasant-tailed Jacanas are distributed across the Indian sub-continent, southern China, Myanmar, Thailand, the Mekong delta to the Philippines. Some northern population migrate and may winter as far as Yemen and the Greater Sundas islands; vagrants may even occur in Australia. The species is a non-breeding visitor in the Malay peninsula, preferring freshwater wetlands covered by water hyacinth and water lilies (Wells 1999: 267-268).

In recent years, records of this species remain sparse, with one recorded on 10 December 2016 at Kranji Marsh by Veronica Foo, and another on 15 May 2017 at Hindhede Quarry by Martin Kennewell, who spotted the bird while digiscoping.

Assessed by IUCN to be of Least Concern, the species is, however, on the decrease (IUCN, 2019).

2. PT Jacana, 050519, SBTB, Siew Mun

Pheasant-tailed Jacana flying over Satay by the Bay on 5 May 2019; photo taken by Siew Mun

 

3. PT Jacana, 050519, SBTB, Siew Mun

Pheasant-tailed Jacana flying around the lily pond within Satay by the Bay on 5 May 2019; photo taken by Siew Mun

Central Catchment Nature Reserve, BTNR, DFNP

Emerald Dove, 010519, DFNP, Terence Tan

A Common Emerald Dove at DFNP on 1 May 2019. Photographed by Terence Tan.

As the year progresses towards the half-way mark, only a handful of migrants/ non-breeding visitors remain. A Dark-sided Flycatcher Muscicapa sibirica was spotted on 4 May 2019 at Dairy Farm Nature Park by Goh Zai Fa, while a singing Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx fugax was spotted on 12 May 2019 within the grounds of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (BTNR) by Martin Kennewell.

Due to its accessibility and presence of good rainforest birds, Dairy Farm Nature Park attracted many birders and photographers during this month. A Common Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica was spotted on 1 May 2019 by Terence Tan, while an ensemble of Asian Fairy Bluebird Irena puella, Black-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus atriceps, Little Spiderhunter Arachnothera longirostra and Red-crowned Barbet Megalaima rafflesii were spotted on 4 May 2019 by K. Saravanan, Goh Zai Fa, and Khoo MeiLin. Over the ensuing days, two species of Leafbirds were seen – the Blue-winged Leafbird Chloropsis cochinchinensis was spotted on 5, 10 18 and 20 May 2019 by Art Toh, Vincent Chin, Herman Phua, and See Toh Yew Wai; while a Greater Green Leafbird Chloropsis sonnerati was seen on 12 May 2019 by Teo Lay Chong. A juvenile Red-crowned Barbet was also seen on 14 May 2019 by Julie Wee.

RCB, 140519, DFNP, Julie Wee

Juvenile Red-crowned Barbet spotted on 14 May 2019 by Julie Wee.

Other species reported were a Banded Woodpecker Chrysophlegma miniaceum seen on 6 May 2019 by Steven Lee, a Cream-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus simplex feeding on a mulberry tree and a pair of Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis on 20 May 2019 by Geoff Lim, a Drongo Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris on 30 May 2019 by Oliver Tan, and a Black-crested Bulbul Pycnonotus flaviventris on 31 May 2019 by Alan Owyong.

GGLB, ZLC

Greater Green Leafbird on 12 May 2019 by Zhang Licong

Further afield, the combined cries of about 40-50 House Swift Apus nipalensis  captured the attention of Francis Yap on 6 May 2019 at Singapore Quarry. Francis described how he spotted the flock, a rare sighting as the species declined drastically in Singapore over the past 2-3 decades: “I initially saw 1-2 House Swifts and a few Plume-toed Swiftlets. After a short while, I heard something I have not heard in a very long time. A chorus of swift calls from a distance. I looked up I [sic] noticed they were far up and looked like House Swifts. I counted 7-8. A further scan up the treeline at the top of the quarry revealed that there were a whole large flock of them circling around. I think conservatively, there should be about 40-50 of them…”

Up to three Short-tailed Babbler Malacocincla malaccensis were heard within CCNR on 12 May 2019 by Martin Kennewell, while the false coffee tree at Mandai Track 7 started to attract Red-crowned Barbet Megalaima rafflesii – two birds were seen feeding on 18 May 2019 by Francis Yap, who also spotted a Chestnut-winged Babbler Stachyris erythroptera nearby that day. On 19 May 2019, a Drongo Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris was spotted at BTNR by Vincent Lao, while a Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis and a Barred Eagle Owl Bubo sumatrana were spotted at the woods behind Rail Mall by Art Toh.

Drongo Cuckoo, Vincent Lao

Drongo Cuckoo spotted on 19 May 2019 inside BTNR by Vincent Lao

Singapore Botanic Gardens

A House Swift Apus nipalensis was spotted within the Garden grounds on 10 May 2019 by Benson Brighton and Vincent Ng.

House Swift, Benson Brighton

A House Swift flying over SBG on 10 May 2019 by Benson Brighton.

Central Singapore

Eagle-hunters at Goldhill Avenue spotted more than the Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela. While the eagle was seen on 4 and 20 May 2019 by Khoo Meilin and Lim Hong Yao, respectively, a male Tiger Shrike Lanius tigrinus in adult plumage was seen on 1 May 2019 by Francis Yap; another Tiger Shrike was spotted on 17 May 2019 at Fort Canning Park by George Kamov. Birders seeking out sightings at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park noted a heronry of Purple Herons Ardea purpurea numbering about 10 birds on 3 May 2019 (Esther Tan) and White-headed Munia Lonchura maja on 4 May 2019 (Khoo Mei Lin), while a Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu was spotted further away at Bidadari on 8 May 2019 by T. Ramesh.

X Purple Heron, Esther Tan

A heronry occupied by Purple Heron at the Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park on 3 May 2019 by Esther Tan.

The young Blue-crowned Hanging Parrots Loriculus galgulus dwelling in the nest at the Whampoa Market eventually fledged on 13 May 2019 (Ang Siew Siew). Farther away, Little Tern Sternula albifrons were seen fishing at Pelton Canal on 9 May 2019 by Phua Joo Yang, who also spotted a Blue-winged Pitta Pitta moluccensis in the canal around noon on 14 May 2019; the bird was wet and subsequently moved to a shaded area.

BWP, Phua Joo Yang

A wet Blue-winged Pitta spotted inside Pelton Canal on 14 May 2019 by Phua Joo Yang.

On 5 May 2019, David Tan recovered a Thick-billed Pigeon Treron curvirostra that perished after colliding into a building at MacPherson.

TB Pigeo, DAvid Tan

Building collision casualties : Thick-billed Pigeon from MacPherson, photo by David Tan

Northern Singapore

Two noteworthy sightings in the north were of a flock of about 25 Lesser Whistling Duck Dendrocygna javanica on 5 & 6 May 2019 at the Halus area which was reported by Billy Goh, as well as two sightings of Eastern Barn Owl Tyto delicatula on 7 May 2019 at Montreal Drive by Martin Kennewell, Kwok Tuck Loong and Khong Yew, and on 12 May 2019 at Sumang Walk by Wong Chung Cheong.

Barn Owl, STYW

Eastern Barn Owl at Sumang Walk on 12 May 2019 y See Toh Yew Wai.

Some nesting Blue-throated Bee-eater Merops viridis were reported at Punggol End on 6 May 2019 (Geoff Lim), as was a House Swift Apus nipalensis flying over Coney Island, and Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis at the Halus ponds as reported by Oliver Tan; the grebes were spotted at the same location on 25 May 2019 by Martin Kennewell. Barn Owl spotters at Montreal Drive on 7 May 2019 also spotted a male and female Laced Woodpecker Picus vittatus (Kei Yoo) and at least two Long-tailed Parakeet Psittacula longicauda (Kei Yoo).

On 18 May 2019, birder Fadzrun Adnan was driving along the Seletar Expressway when he spotted what he thought was a nocturnal macaque perched on the drain railings. As he came closer, the shape and colour was unmistakeably that of a Barred Eagle Owl Bubo sumatranus under the street light. Due to his being on the expressway, Fadzrun was not able stop his car anywhere to photograph it.

At the end of the month, two sightings of Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus were reported in the north. On 26 May 2019, one bird was spotted at Hougang hawking for bats by Minerva Maria-Sagan, while another bird was found perched outside the window of a HDB flat in Woodlands Street 41 on 30 May 2019 by Effkewkew Yakeru, a first for Woodlands.

During this period, David Tan recovered several casualties that perished from impact with building structures. On 5 May 2019, he collected a Lanceolated Warbler Locustella lanceolata near the Singapore Youth Flying Club. A von Schrenck’s Bittern Ixobrychus eurhythmus survived the collision on the same day at the Youth Flying Club and was reported by Jimmy Tan. One week later, a juvenile Malayan Night Heron Gorsachius melanolophus was collected outside Nex at Serangoon.

Lanceolated Warbler, David Tan

Building collision casualties recovered by David Tan. Top left: Lanceolated Warbler near the Singapore Youth Flying Club

MNH, David Tan

Building collision casualties : Juvenile Malayan Night Heron from NEX at Serangoon (12 May 2019). Photo by David Tan.

Eastern Singapore

Pasir Ris Park (PRP) continued to support a good diversity of bird species. Apart from common garden species, birders and photographers reported the following species over the course of May: a Green Imperial Pigeon Ducula aenea was spotted on 4 May 2019 by Yvo Goossens, as was a Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus on 10 May 2019 by Julie Wee, a Yellow-crested Cockatoo Cacatua sulpurea on 11 May 2019 inside the mangrove broadwalk by Laura Berman, the regular Sunda Scops Owl Otus lempiji on 16 May 2019 by Terence Tan, and a Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting on 25 May 2019 by Lionel Leong, the second record for the park so far.

SSO, Terence Tan

Sunda Scops Owl at Pasir Ris Park photographed by Terence Tan on 16 May 2019.

Pasir Ris Farmway 3 and the adjacent areas also proved to provide refuge for birds: White-headed Munia Lonchura striata were spotted on 1 May 2019 by T. Ramesh, while an extremely skittish Javan Pond Heron Ardeola speciosa was seen foraging for food in the afternoon with egrets in a field on 4 May 2019 by Chen Boon Chong. Another Javan Pond Heron was spotted in the field outside Pasir Ris Camp on 5 May 2019 by Fadzrun Adnan, while a Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus was spotted on 7 May 2019 by Steven Cheong. Farther afield at the Tampines Canal, three more Little Tern Sternula albifrons were spotted on 6 May 2019 by Alvin Seng, after one was seen during the final week of April 2019. One adult Striated Heron Butorides striata was also seen interacting with a juvenile in the canal on 11 May 2019 by Chen Boon Chong.

Pulau Ubin, with its woodlands and mangroves, continued to support a good mix of species. Up to four White-rumped Shama Copsychus malabaricus were reported to be on the island on and around 11 May 2019 (Geoff Lim), while the electrifying news of the sighting of the rare Buff-rumped Woodpecker Meiglyptes tristis gripped the community when one was photographed at Ketam Quarry on 25 May 2019 by Adrian Silas Tay and others. Also seen that day was a Mangrove Whistler Pachycephala cinerea at Ketam by Adrian Silas Tay, as well as a Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela, that was spotted calling over Ketam by Krishna Deepak. The next day, 26 May 2019, Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica and Grey Plover Charadrius squatarola were seen in the distance from Chek Jawa during the low tide by Martin Kennewell and T. Ramesh.

Buff-rumped Woody, AST

The Ubin Buff-rumped Woodpecker photographed on 25 May 2019 by Adrian Silas Tay.

A Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus was found expired at Tampines Street 43 and reported by David Tan. Coincidentally, another Cinnamon Bittern was picked up at this spot on 16 Jan 2018.

Cinnamon Bittern David Tan

A dead Cinnamon Bittern collected from Tampines by David Tan.

Southern Singapore

The park and open space complex comprising Gardens by the Bay (GBTB), Satay by the Bay (SBTB), Bay East, Marina Barrage and Marina East Drive has proven to be a productive area for birds. Apart from the surprise visit by the Pheasant-tailed Jacana featured above, many other species were observed to frequent this area. Three Lesser Whistling Duck Dendrocygna javanica were seen on 1 May 2019 at SBTB by Steven Cheong, as was a Tiger Shrike Lanius tigrinus on 2 May 2019 by Pary Sivaraman, an Asian Glossy Starling Aplonis panayensis consuming a chick it caught on 3 May 2019 and spotted by Brenda Chua LH, Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot Loriculus galgulus and a Ruddy-breasted Crake Porzana fusca on 4 May 2019 by Siew Mun. Other species spotted include a Chestnut Munia Lonchura atricapilla on 5 May 2019 by Peter Lim, an Oriental Reed Warbler Acrocephalus orientalis on 6 May 2019 by Julie Wee, a juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nyticorax on 16 May 2019 by Khoo Meilin, as well as a late-staying Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis on 24 May 2019 by Guo Hui.

LWD, Siew Mun

Lesser Whistling Duck arriving at SBB; photo by Siew Mun.

Within GBTB, an Arctic Warbler Phylloscopus borealis was heard on 9 May 2019 by Veronica Foo, while a pair of Blue-throated Bee-eater Merops viridis were seen mating on 11 May 2019 by TM Ng. A Black-browed Reed-warbler Acrocephalus bistrigiceps was also seen in the garden’s grounds on 21 May 2019 by Wong Chung Cheong; another was spotted in a small reed bed farther afield at Bay East on the same day by Martin Kennewell, as was a white morph Pacific Reef Heron Egretta sacra by Lea Elpa and Martin Kennewell.

At Marina Barrage, a Javan Pond Heron Ardeola speciosa in full adult splendour was seen on 1 May 2019 by Mike Hooper, while a Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrid paid a surprise visit to Marina Bay on 5 May 2019 and was spotted by Choong YT. Visitors to the Marina East shoreline were rewarded by the presence of an Arctic Warbler Phylloscopus borealis and Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus, migrants leaving our shores, on 12 May 2019 (William Mahoney), as were rocky shore residents such as the Pacific Reef Heron Egretta sacra (William Mahoney), and the dimunitive Malaysian Plover Charadrius peronni on 10 and 20 May 2019 by Art Toh and Khoo Meilin, respectively. The grass field adjacent to the rocks harboured a male Greater Painted-Snipe Rostratula benghalensis who successfully defended his three chicks from a mob of House Crow on 18 May 2019 and witnessed by See Toh Yew Wai, as well as an Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia on 29 May 2019 by Steven Chong.

GPS, STYW

Remarkable photographs of a Greater Painted-Snipe’s spirited defence and hasty retreat at Marina East Drive on 18 May 2019. Photographed by See Toh Yew Wai.

 

GPS, STYW 2

Remarkable photographs of a Greater Painted-Snipe’s spirited defence and hasty retreat at Marina East Drive on 18 May 2019. Photographed by See Toh Yew Wai.

Other reports from the south include a pale morph Pacific Reef Heron on Pulau Buran, one of the southern islands, on 8 May 2019 by John Marriott, a Tiger Shrike on 15 May 2019 at the Telok Blangah Green Carpark on 15 May 2019 by Choong YT, and a Chinese Hwamei Garrulax canorus on Sentosa on 20 May 2019 by Khong Yew.

Western Singapore

During the month of May 2019, birders and photographers concentrated their effort around the Jurong Lake-Chinese-Japanese Garden region, the Kranji-Lim Chu Kang-Neo Tiew axis, and Pandan Canal.

Birders and photographers were drawn to the Jurong Lake area by the arrival of the rarely encountered Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii. First encountered at the end of April 2019, the bird continued to be seen on 1 May 2019, where an adult and a juvenile were seen by many feeding with other pond herons, such as a Javan Pond Heron Ardeola speciosa, in the grass fields adjacent to the East-West MRT line, to 11 May 2019 by Adrian Silas Tay who made the last report of the bird. Other birds included two Black Bittern Dupetor flavicollis flushed from the Japanese Garden ponds on 17 May 2019 and an Arctic Warbler Phylloscopus borealis; both were spotted by Fadzrun Adnan.

IPH, Liz How

Adult Indian Pond Heron at Japanese Garden on 1 May 2019. Photograph by Liz How.

Over at Jurong Gateway, a confiding Slaty-breasted Rail Gallirallus striatus was reported on 5 May 2019 by Sanmen Wong, and subsequently reported on social media until the end of May 2019. On 25 May 2019, a Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela was reportedly seen in overhead flight over Toh Tuck Road by Bijoy Venugopal.

SB Rail, Khong Yew

Slaty-breasted Rail at Jurong Gateway photographed by Khong Yew.

A stone’s throw away from the Jurong Lake district, photographers continued to visit Pandan Canal for bird-in-flight, and fish-in-feet photographs of a resident Grey-headed Fish-eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus. A park user (Krishnan Deepak) reported the presence of an Eastern Crowned Warbler Phylloscopus coronatus on 9 May 2019 along the Ulu Pandan Park Connector. One eagle watcher (Alan Owyong) reported the presence of a dark morph Changeable Hawk-Eagle Nisaetus cirrhatus, Painted Stork Mycteria leucocephala, a Stork-billed Kingfisher Pelargopsis capensis  and a White-headed Munia Lonchura maja on 16 May 2019.

Action around the Kranji hotspot kicked off with a report of two Asian Openbill Anastomus oscitans spotted on 1 May 2019 at Kranji Marsh. Martin Kennewell and Eyzat Amer reported that two were perched in trees, one high while another stayed low; with both birds obscured by vegetation. The duo also reported seeing three Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus, and a high-flying House Swift Apus nipalensis. A Large-billed Crow Corvus splendens, was also seen that day along Turut Track by Pary Sivaraman.  Birders visiting New Tiew Harvest Lane reported a Baillon’s Crake Porzana pusilla (Fadzrun Adnan), and another House Swift (William Mahoney) on 4 May 2019, a Cattle Egret Bubulcus coromandus feeding with two Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia, as well as an Eastern Yellow Wagtail Motacilla tschtschensis on 8 May 2019 (Adriana Dinu). Common Moorhen were also sighted at Lim Chu Kang Avenue 3 on 11 May 2019, along with a Jerdon’s Baza Aviceda jerdoni by Fadzrun Adnan, as was a Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting on 16 May 2019, and a Rusty-breasted Cuckoo Cacomantis sepulcralis on 18 May 2019 at Kranji Marsh by Kelvin Ng Cheng Kwan and Angie Cheong, respectively. A Banded Bay Cuckoo Cacomantis sonneratii was also seen at Turut Track on 16 May 2019 by Kelvin Ng Cheng Kwan. On 20 May 2019, a male Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus was seen at the Kranji Marsh by Martin Kennewell.

RBC, Angie Cheong

Rusty-breasted Cuckoo at Kranji Marsh; photographed by Angie Cheong on 16 May 2019.

The only other notable action in the west outside the three hotspots occurred during Labour Day evening, which saw birders and photographers congregating at Chestnut Avenue to admire a family of three Spotted Wood Owl Strix seloputo roosting in the rain trees above the road. The juvenile was fairly active at nightfall and sported fully developed pinions. It spent the evening clambering and flying from branch to branch within the same tree. The birds continued to be observed over the next few days. An expatriate residing at the area intimated that the owls started nesting in some Bird Nest Fern Asplenium nidus around March 2019 and that the owlet had fallen out from the nest, requiring intervention by ACRES.

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Pelagic

Two bands of birdmen visited the Singapore Strait in May 2019. The assembly on 4 May 2019 reported a Lesser Frigatebird Fregata ariel, Short-tailed Shearwater Puffinus tenuirostris, Swinhoe’s Storm Petrel Oceanodroma monorhis, and White-winged Tern Chlidonias hybrida (See Toh Yew Wai, and Adrian Silas Tay), while those who took to the sea on 19 May 2019 reported sighting a Brown Booby Sula leucogaster, two Short-tailed Shearwater, and two Swinhoe’s Storm Petrel (Francis Yap). Note that pelagic sightings might not be in Singapore waters.

Lesser Frigatebird, STYW

Lesser Frigatebird spotted in the Straits of Singapore on 4 May 2019 by See Toh Yew Wai.

ST Shearwater, Fryap

Short-tailed Shearwater in the Straits of Singapore on 19 May 2019 by Francis Yap.

Brown Booby, Fryap

Brown Booby spotted during a pelagic trip in the Singapore Strait on 19 May 2019 by Francis Yap.

Abbreviations:
BTNR: Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
CCNR: Central Catchment Nature Reserve
DFNP: Dairy Farm Nature Park
JEG: Jurong Eco-Garden
SBG: Singapore Botanic Gardens
SBWR: Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
TEG: Tampines Eco-Green

This report is written by Geoff Lim, adding to records compiled by Alan OwYong, and is edited by Tan Gim Cheong. We are grateful for the birders and photographers whose postings in various Facebook birding pages, bird forums, individual reports and extracts from eBird make up this report. This compilation is not a complete list of birds recorded for the month and not all the records were verified.

Many thanks to Siew Mun, Benson Brighton, Julie Wee, Vincent Lao, Esther Tan, David Tan, Phua Joo Yong, Terence Tan, Adrian Silas Tay, Liz How, Khong Yew, Angie Cheong, See Toh Yew Wai, Francis Yap for the use of their photos. 

References:

BirdLife International 2016. Hydrophasianus chirurgusThe IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22693543A93411790. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22693543A93411790.en. Downloaded on 18 June 2019.

Wells, D. R. (1999). The Birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula. London: Academic Press.

List of Species seen:

Family Species Date
Anatidae

 

Lesser Whistling Duck 1-May-19
Lesser Whistling Duck 2-May-19
Lesser Whistling Duck 5-May-19
Lesser Whistling Duck 11-May-19
Procellariidae

 

Short-tailed Shearwater 4-May-19
Short-tailed Shearwater 19-May-19
Podicipedidae

 

Little Grebe 6-May-19
Little Grebe 25-May-19
Ciconiidae Asian Openbill 4-May-19
Painted Stork 16-May-19
Ardeidae

 

Cinnamon Bittern 20-May-19
Cinnamon Bittern 26-May-19
Black Bittern 16-May-19
Black Bittern 17-May-19
Malayan Night Heron 12-May-19
Black-crowned Night Heron 16-May-19
Indian Pond Heron 1-May-19
Indian Pond Heron 2-May-19
Indian Pond Heron 3-May-19
Indian Pond Heron 4-May-19
Indian Pond Heron 5-May-19
Indian Pond Heron 11-May-19
Javan Pond Heron 1-May-19
Javan Pond Heron 2-May-19
Javan Pond Heron 4-May-19
Javan Pond Heron 5-May-19
Eastern Cattle Egret 8-May-19
Purple Heron 3-May-19
Intermediate Egret 29-May-19
Pacific Reef Heron 8-May-19
Pacific Reef Heron 11-May-19
Pacific Reef Heron 12-May-19
Pacific Reef Heron 21-May-19
Fregatidae Lesser Frigatebird 4-May-19
Sulidae Brown Booby 19-May-19
Pandionidae Western Osprey 8-May-19
Accipitridae

 

Jerdon’s Baza 11-May-19
Crested Serpent Eagle 4-May-19
Crested Serpent Eagle 20-May-19
Crested Serpent Eagle 25-May-19
Changeable Hawk-Eagle 16-May-19
Crested Goshawk 10-May-19
Crested Goshawk 26-May-19
Crested Goshawk 30-May-19
Rallidae

 

Slaty-breasted Rail 5-May-19
Slaty-breasted Rail 14-May-19
Baillon’s Crake 4-May-19
Ruddy-breasted Crake 4-May-19
Common Moorhen 1-May-19
Common Moorhen 11-May-19
Charadriidae

 

Grey Plover 26-May-19
Malaysian Plover 10-May-19
Malaysian Plover 20-May-19
Rostratulidae Greater Painted-Snipe 18-May-19
Jacanidae Pheasant-tailed Jacana 5-May-19
Scolopacidae Bar-tailed Godwit 26-May-19
Laridae

 

Little Tern 6-May-19
Little Tern 9-May-19
Columbidae

 

Common Emerald Dove 1-May-19
Jambu Fruit Dove 8-May-19
Green Imperial Pigeon 4-May-19
Cuculidae

 

Greater Coucal 19-May-19
Greater Coucal 20-May-19
Banded Bay Cuckoo 16-May-19
Rusty-breasted Cuckoo 18-May-19
Drongo Cuckoo 19-May-19
Drongo Cuckoo 30-May-19
Malaysian Hawk-Cuckoo 12-May-19
Tytonidae

 

Eastern Barn Owl 5-May-19
Eastern Barn Owl 7-May-19
Eastern Barn Owl 12-May-19
Eastern Barn Owl 18-May-19
Eastern Barn Owl 19-May-19
Strigidae

 

Spotted Wood Owl 1-May-19
Spotted Wood Owl 2-May-19
Apodidae

 

House Swift 1-May-19
House Swift 4-May-19
House Swift 10-May-19
Alcedinidae

 

Blue-eared Kingfisher 16-May-19
Blue-eared Kingfisher 25-May-19
Common Kingfisher 17-May-19
Common Kingfisher 24-May-19
Meropidae

 

Blue-throated Bee-eater 6-May-19
Blue-throated Bee-eater 11-May-19
Megalaimidae

 

Red-crowned Barbet 4-May-19
Red-crowned Barbet 14-May-19
Red-crowned Barbet 18-May-19
Red-crowned Barbet 21-May-19
Picidae

 

Banded Woodpecker 6-May-19
Laced Woodpecker 7-May-19
Laced Woodpecker 10-May-19
Buff-rumped Woodpecker 25-May-19
Buff-rumped Woodpecker 26-May-19
Psittacidae

 

Long-tailed Parakeet 7-May-19
Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot 4-May-19
Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot 13-May-19
Pittidae Blue-winged Pitta 14-May-19
Pachycephalidae Mangrove Whistler 25-May-19
Laniidae

 

Brown Shrike 7-May-19
Brown Shrike 12-May-19
Corvidae Large-billed Crow 1-May-19
Pycnonotidae

 

Black-headed Bulbul 4-May-19
Black-crested Bulbul 31-May-19
Red-whiskered bulbul 25-May-19
Cream-vented Bulbul 20-May-19
Phylloscopidae

 

Arctic Warbler 9-May-19
Arctic Warbler 12-May-19
Arctic Warbler 17-May-19
Eastern Crowned Warbler 9-May-19
Acrocephalidae

 

Oriental Reed Warbler 2-May-19
Oriental Reed Warbler 6-May-19
Black-browed Reed Warbler 21-May-19
Black-browed Reed Warbler 21-May-19
Locustellidae Lanceolated Warbler 5-May-19
Timaliidae

 

Chestnut-winged Babbler 18-May-19
Chestnut-winged Babbler 19-May-19
Chestnut-winged Babbler 20-May-19
Pellorneidae Short-tailed Babbler 12-May-19
Leiothrichidae Chinese Hwamei 20-May-19
Irenidae Asian Fairy-Bluebird 3-May-19
Sturnidae Asian Glossy Starling 1-May-19
Muscicapidae Dark-sided Flycatcher 4-May-19
Chloropseidae

 

Greater Green Leafbird 12-May-19
Blue-winged Leafbird 5-May-19
Blue-winged Leafbird 10-May-19
Blue-winged Leafbird 18-May-19
Blue-winged Leafbird 20-May-19
Nectariniidae Little Spiderhunter 4-May-19
Estrildidae

 

Chestnut Munia 5-May-19
Chestnut Munia 6-May-19
Chestnut Munia 16-May-19
Motacillidae Eastern Yellow Wagtail 8-May-19

Singapore Bird Report – April 2019

by Geoff Lim, Alan Owyong (compiler), & Tan Gim Cheong (ed.)

April continues to see the exodus of migratory species, while residents breed, nest and raise their young. This month also sees the appearance of the Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike at a previously unrecorded location.

BWFCS, Jan 2018, Jelutong, Thio Hb

Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike from Jelutong Tower taken on 20 January 2018 by Thio Hui Bing.

New Location for Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike

A Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hemipus hirundinaceus was spotted during the early morning hours of 22 April 2019 by Fadzrun Adnan at the Dairy Farm Nature Park. Here is Fadzrun’s own narrative of how he stumbled upon the bird:

On the morning of 22nd April, I dropped by Dairy Farm Nature Park hoping to see the scarce Jambu Fruit Dove. When I came to the False Curry Trees, the trees were indeed bearing fruit but the target bird refused to make any appearance at such an early hour. I turned around to have a better look at the clumsy Red-crowned Barbet that was feeding just above the corner of the Wallace Education Centre. As I was admiring the bird and chatting away with a fellow birder, a most inconspicuous but clearly black-and-white bird flew in to perch on some tall snags. A brief view on the binoculars showing the black upperparts and the white underparts readily confirmed its identity as the Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike, a rare visitor to our forests. That sharp black-white delineation on the face is unmistakeable! 

From my experience with this species in Malaysia, this flycatcher-sized bird with a rather slim appearance keeps strictly to the canopy. It may occasionally descend to mid-storey to prey on insects. It is most easily seen when it perches quietly on some sparse snags, just as how I came across one that morning. It was rather unfortunate that the bird soon went out of sight just as some other birders hastily arrived, hoping to have a glimpse of this elusive bird.

Prior to this, this rare visitor was seen only at two other locales – Jelutong Tower, within the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, and at Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin. The Jelutong sightings occurred on 11 February 2013 (Chan Tsan Tsai and Geoff Lim), on 23 August 2013 (Francis Yap), and 20 January 2018 (Martin Kennewell, Thio Hui Bing and Richard Carden). The Ubin sightings occurred on 28 June 2015, seen by by visiting German birdwatcher, Wolfgang Kraemer, and on 6 May 2018 by Lim Kim Seng during the Comprehensive Ubin Biodiversity Survey (CUBS). The bird was formally accepted into the Singapore list in 2013.

Wells (2009: 107 – 109) noted that the species is generally a loner, though they occur more commonly in pairs and less often in small parties. A lowland species that does not venture beyond 300m above sea level, the Flycatcher-shrike is more often found in the high open canopies of forests and tops of forest edge growth along clearings, logging tracks and other edge habitats. Generally known to be a gleaner that picks off small arthropods from the underside of leaves, the species also flies short sorties to snap at airborne prey before returning to the same perch.

Wells (2009: 109) suggested that evidence from observations of nest building, eggs and nestling suggests that egg laying occurs between February and July. Figure 1 provides a graphic representation of the sightings so far across the months of the year. While the sightings from April onwards could be possibly due to a post-breeding dispersal from Malaysia, the occurrences in January and February weaken this theory. Only time will tell whether these sightings are of non-breeding visitors from the north, or come from a local breeding population.

Figure 1

The following photographs from previous sightings in 2013 and 2018 serve to illustrate  Well’s points about the bird being mostly alone, and is usually perched in the open canopies of forests and vegetation along forest edge environments.

BWFCS, 2013, Jelutong, Chan Tsan Tsai

Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike from Jelutong Tower taken on 11 February 2013 by Chan Tsan Tsai

BWFCS, Aug 2013, Jelutong, Fryap

Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike from Jelutong Tower taken on 23 August 2013 by Francis Yap showing how dimunitive the bird is

Central Catchment, BTNR, DFNP & Bukit Brown

Dairy Farm Nature Park (DFNP) remains one of the more accessible and productive parks located at the fringes of the CCNR. During the month of April 2019, several resident and migratory species were spotted within the park. Besides Fadzrun’s Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike, a Jambu Dove Ptilinopus jambu was spotted on 5 April 2019 by Lim Kim Seng, as was a Von Schrenck’s Bittern Ixobrychus eurhythmus on 6 April 2019 by Martin Kennewell. The park also yielded a Dark-sided Flycatcher Muscicapa sibirica on 19 April 2019 by YT Choong, a first for this year’s spring. A Common Iora Aegithinia tiphia was seen nesting on 24 April 2019 by Alan Owyong, while a juvenile male Greater Green Leafbird Chloropsis sonnerati was spotted on 27 April 2019 by Khong Yew.

Further afield, we had a report of a Siberian Blue Robin Larvivora cyane at Lower Pierce Trail on 5 April 2019 by Mei Hwang, while a Black-capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata was spotted on 8 April 2019 at Upper Seletar by Lian Yee Ming. A Chestnut-winged Cuckoo Clamator coromandus was reported at the Jungle Trail of the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve on 13 April 2019 by Kevin Choo; the bird was apparently present at this location since 30 March 2019. A Black Bittern Dupetor flavicollis was also spotted at the Singapore Quarry pond on 14 April 2019 by Betty Shaw. During the Good Friday holiday on 19 April 2019, a Sakhalin Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus borealoides was heard calling beyond the stream next to Dillenia Hut by Yong Ding Li and Geoff Lim. The duo later joined Francis Yap and other birders to observe three Black-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus atriceps flying around the trees; one of which was a juvenile. A Pacific Swift Apus pacificus was spotted at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve on 25 April 2019 by Richard White, while a Barred Eagle-Owl Bubo sumatranus was seen at Bukit Brown on 27 April 2019 by Alvin Tan, a new location for this species of owl in Singapore.

BH Bulbul, 200419, Jelutong, Raymond Siew Kung Kiet

A Black-headed Bulbul taken on 21 April 2019 from Jelutong Tower by Raymond Siew Kung Kiet.

Singapore Botanic Gardens

A male Yellow-rumped Flycatcher Ficedula xanthopygia was spotted at the Learning Forest on 7 April 2019 by Geoff Lim, who subsequently saw a  White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata at the Bambusetum on 21 April 2019.

YRFC, 070419, SBG, Geoff Lim

A Yellow-rumped Flycatcher seen on 7 April 2019 at the Learning Forest by Geoff Lim.

Central Singapore

Inter-specific interaction between a Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus and an Oriental Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus was observed on 4 April 2019 at Haig Road by Dawn Teo. The Falcon attacked the larger bird, which managed to escape.

PF, OHB, 040419, Haig Rd, Dawn Teo

Aerial combat between a Peregrine Falcon and Oriental Honey Buzzard captured by Dawn Teo over Haig Road on 4 April 2019.

A few days later on 7 April 2019, a Japanese Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone atrocaudata was seen at Bidadari, while David Tan reported that a Blue-winged Pitta Pitta moluccensis was found to have expired at the foot of a building on 13 April 2019 at Lorong Lew Lian, the first spring collision for 2019.

BWP, David Tan

The first spring collision casualty for 2019 – a Blue-winged Pitta recovered from Lorong Lew Lian on 13 April 2019 by David Tan.

Eastern Singapore

The eastern islands continue to be a haven for birds due to their relatively pristine condition. Several Pulau Ubin residents were seen. On 4 April 2019, a Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela was seen by Kelvin Ng and Michael Phua, a Barred Eagle-Owl Bubo sumatranus was seen on 7 April 2019, while a Mangrove Pitta Pitta megarhyncha was spotted on 20 April 2019 by Goh Zai Fa.  

Pasir Ris and its environs also attracted several species of good birds, such as a male Mugimaki Flycatcher Ficedula mugimaki at Pasir Ris Park on 4 April 2019, up to 33 Lesser Whistling Duck Dendrocynus javanica at Pasir Ris Industrial Park area on 5 April 2019 by Alfred Chia, an oddly displaced Greater Racquet-tailed Drongo Dicrurus paradiseus on 7 April 2019 at Pasir Ris Farmway 3 by Adrian Silas Tay, and three Black-naped Terns Sterna sumatrana off Pasir Ris Park on 28 April 2019 by Norhafiani A Majid.

Further afield, we received a report of an Eastern Crowned Warbler Phylloscopus coronatus at Tampines Eco Green, which was spotted by Willam Mahoney on 28 April 2019, while David Tan brought the tragic news of Singapore’s third record of a Band-bellied Crake Porzana paykulli found dead on 29 April 2019, possibly 2-3 days after colliding with a window at Temasek Polytechnic. Also, a Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus was seen at Hougang Avenue 1 by Francis Chia on 30 April 2019.

BBC, 290419, Temasek Poly, found by Sunny Tan, pic by David Tan (3rd record)

The third record of the Band-bellied Crake in Singapore, found expired at Temasek Polytechnic on 29 April 2019 and collected by David Tan.

Southern Singapore

An Abbott’s Babbler Malacocincla abbotti was heard on 9 April 2019 at the Mount Imbiah Trail on Sentosa by John Marriott, while a Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela was spotted on 15 April 2019 by Isabelle Lee. Three Common Hill Myna Gracula religiosa, along with a Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchus on 17 April 2019 at Gilman Barracks by Alan Owyong. An adult male Tiger Shrike Lanius tigrinus was seen on 24 April 2019 by Tay Kian Guan.

Western Singapore

A number of species were encountered at West Coast Park during the first week of April 2019. A male Amur Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone incei with an elongated tail was spotted on 4 April 2019 by Vincent Ng, while another bird without long tail streamers was seen on the same day by Veronica Foo, who also spotted a Black-capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata and a dark morph Pacific Reef Heron Egretta sacra. On the next day, 5 April 2019, a solitary Abbott’s Babbler Malacocincla abbotti was spotted within the Marsh Garden by Alan Owyong, while a Drongo Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris was spotted by Siew Mun within the park grounds.

Veteran birder, Alan Owyong, braved the wet fields around Bulim Drive on 3 April and spotted one male and three female Greater Painted Snipe Rostratula benghalensis. He also heard five cryptic Lanceolated Warbler Locustella lanceolata, a species which is extremely difficult to see in the wild.

Few birders ventured to the vicinity around Kranji Marsh. Those who did on 7 and 10 April 2019 reported spotting the Asian Openbill Anastomus oscitans; one bird was seen on the 7th at Harvest Lane by Jayden Kwek, while two were spotted on the 10th by Tan Eng Boo along Turut Track.

Asian Openbill, 150419, Turut Track, Tan Eng Boo

Two Asian Openbills at Turut Track on 15 April 2019 and photographed by Tan Eng Boo.

A stone’s throw away at SBWR yielded a white morph Asian-type Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone sp. with a long tail on 13 April 2019, which was spotted by Leong Peng Chor, while a Banded Woodpecker Chrysophlegma miniaceum was seen on 19 April 2019 by Kenneth Kee.

Some birders venturing into the western end of Singapore were amply rewarded. A Barred Button Quail Turnix suscitator and a Ruddy Kingfisher Halcyon coromanda were spotted on 7 April 2019 at Tuas South by Fadzrun Adnan and Martin Kennewell; while a Hooded Pitta Pitta sordida was seen on 16 April 2019 inside a construction site at Gul Circle by John Marshall.

Towards the end of the month, an Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii delighted bird photographer Tuck Loong when he stumbled upon the bird in the lotus pond at Japanese Garden on 28 April 2019.

IPH, Tuck Loong

An Indian Pond Heron at Japanese Garden on 28 April 2019 and photographed by Tuck Loong.

=======================================================

Pelagic 

Two Short-tailed Shearwater Puffinus tenuiroistris were spotted on 28 April 2019 along the Straits of Singapore by Martin Kennewell and friends. Note that pelagic sightings might not be in Singapore waters.

STSW, 280419, Sg straits, Feroz

One of two Short-tailed Shearwater seen on 28 April 2019 along the Singapore Straits and photographed by Feroz.

Abbreviations:
BTNR: Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
CCNR: Central Catchment Nature Reserve
DFNP: Dairy Farm Nature Park
JEG: Jurong Eco-Garden
SBG: Singapore Botanic Gardens
SBWR: Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
TEG: Tampines Eco-Green

This report is written by Geoff Lim based on listings compiled by Alan OwYong, and edited by Tan Gim Cheong. We are grateful for the birders and photographers whose postings in various Facebook birding pages, bird forums, individual reports and extracts from eBird make up this report. This compilation is not a complete list of birds recorded for the month and not all the records were verified.

Many thanks to Chan Tsan Tsai, Francis Yap, Thio Hui Bing, Raymond Siew Kung Kiet, Geoff Lim, Dawn Teo, David Tan, Tan Eng Boo, Tuck Loong and Feroz  for the use of their photos. 

 Reference:
Wells, D. R. (2009). The Birds of Thai-Malay Peninsula. Vol. 2. Passerines. London: Academic Press. 

List of Species seen:

Family Species Date
Anatidae Lesser Whistling Duck 5 Apr 2019
Procellariidae Short-tailed Shearwater 28 Apr 2019
Ciconiidae Asian Openbill 7 Apr 2019
Asian Openbill 10 Apr 2019
Ardeidae Von Schrenck’s Bittern 6 Apr 2019
Black Bittern 14 Apr 2019
Indian Pond Heron 28 Apr 2019
Pacific Reef Heron 4 Apr 2019
Accipitridae Crested Serpent Eagle 4 Apr 2019
Crested Serpent Eagle 15 Apr 2019
Rallidae Band-bellied Crake 29 Apr 2019
Turnicidae Barred Button Quail 7 Apr 2019
Rostratulidae Greater Painted Snipe 3 Apr 2019
Laridae Black-naped Tern 28 Apr 2019
Columbidae Jambu Fruit Dove 5 Apr 2019
Cuculidae Chestnut-winged Cuckoo 13 Apr 2019
Drongo Cuckoo 5 Apr 2019
Strigidae Barred Eagle-Owl 7 Apr 2019
Barred Eagle-Owl 7 Apr 2019
Barred Eagle-Owl 27 Apr 2019
Apodidae Pacific Swift 25 Apr 2019
Alcedinidae Ruddy Kingfisher 7 Apr 2019
Black-capped Kingfisher 4 Apr 2019
Black-capped Kingfisher 8 Apr 2019
Picidae Banded Woodpecker 19 Apr 2019
Falconidae Peregrine Falcon 5 Apr 2019
Peregrine Falcon 30 Apr 2019
Pittidae Hooded Pitta 16 Apr 2019
  Blue-winged Pitta 14 Apr 2019
  Mangrove Pitta 20 Apr 2019
Tephrodornithidae Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike 22 Apr 2019
Aegithinidae Common Iora 24 Apr 2019
Laniidae Tiger Shrike 24 Apr 2019
Dicruridae Greater Racquet-tailed Drongo 7 Apr 2019
Monarchidae Amur Paradise Flycatcher 4 Apr 2019
Amur Paradise Flycatcher 4 Apr 2019
Japanese Paradise Flycatcher 7 Apr 2019
Asian-type Paradise Flycatcher sp 13 Apr 2019
Corvidae Large-billed Crow 17 Apr 2019
Pycnonotidae Black-headed Bulbul 19 Apr 2019
Phylloscopidae Sakhalin Leaf Warbler 19 Apr 2019
Eastern Crowned Warbler 28 Apr 2019
Locustellidae Lanceolated Warbler 3 Apr 2019
Pellorneidae Abbott’s Babbler 5 Apr 2019
Abbott’s Babbler 9 Apr 2019
Sturnidae Common Hill Myna 17 Apr 2019
Muscicapidae Dark-sided Flycatcher 21 Apr 2019
Siberian Blue Robin 5 Apr 2019
Yellow-rumped Flycatcher 7 Apr 2019
Mugimaki Flycatcher 4 Apr 2019
Chloropseidae Greater Green Leafbird 27 Apr 2019
Estrildidae White-rumped Munia 21 Apr 2019

Singapore Raptor Report – March 2019

1

Japanese Sparrowhawk, adult female, at West Coast Park, on 29 March 2019, by Norvin Ng

Summary for migrant species:

In March, 133 raptors of 9 migrant species were recorded. There were 60 Oriental Honey Buzzards Pernis ptilorhyncus, including 13 at Yishun on the 17th, flying northwesterly. The 30 Black Bazas Aviceda leuphotes included a kettle of 12 at Telok Blangah Hill Park on the 24th.

Seventeen Chinese Sparrowhawks Accipiter soloensis were recorded, including six at Sungei Buloh on the 23th, apparently on passage migration to the north. Three Jerdon’s Bazas Aviceda jerdoni were still wintering in Singapore on the 10th: two at Pasir Ris and one at Pulau Ubin.

One Common Buzzard Buteo buteo was observed at Kent Ridge Park on the 10th, possibly on passage and four Grey-faced Buzzards Butastur indicus, were also recorded over the Southern Ridges: three on the 8th at Kent Ridge Park and one on the 13th at Telok Blangah Hill Park. These were recorded by Keita Sin, who spent a number of days observing raptors at the Southern Ridges.

Five Peregrine Falcons Falco peregrinus were recorded: singles at Satay by the Bay, Bukit Merah, Pulau Ubin, Kranji Marshes and Telok Blangah Hill Park. Ten Japanese Sparrowhawks Accipiter gularis and three Western Ospreys Pandion haliaetus rounded up the migrant raptors for March.

CGH, posted 300319, PRP, Lim Sheen Taw, FB SGB

Adult male Crested Goshawk eating a Changeable Lizard, Pasir Ris Park, March 2019, by Sheen Taw Lim.

Highlights for sedentary species:

There were two breeding records in March: two White-bellied Sea Eagles at a nest on Pulau Ubin on the 10th, and a nest with two Brahminy Kite chicks at Turut Track on the 12th.

Also, there were two Crested Serpent Eagles, one at Pulau Ubin on the 10th and another in the area around Malcolm Park on three different dates. The Grey-headed Fish Eagle was observed flying with an eel-like prey at Coney Island on the 13th and 19th. The other sedentary raptors recorded included nine Changeable Hawk-Eagles, four Crested Goshawks and three Black-winged Kites.

Table 1

For more details, please see the pdf Singapore Raptor Report – March 2019

Compiled by Tan Gim Cheong

Many thanks to everyone who had reported their sightings in one way or another, and also thanks  to Norvin Ng and Sheen Taw Lim for the use of their photos.

Singapore Bird Report – March 2019

by Geoff Lim & Alan OwYong, edited by Tan Gim Cheong

March 2019 continues to witness the return migration of birds back to their northern breeding grounds. We were also treated to the arrival of a solitary Asian Openbill, a small species of stork that last visited us in January 2013.

Asian Openbill, Francis Yap

The Asian Openbill photographed at Sungei Buloh on 23 March 2019 by Francis Yap.

Openbill Visitation

On 14 March 2019, an Asian Openbill Anastomus ocsitans was spotted at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR) by visiting Australian birders, Grant and Clare Morton, who sent an email to Nature Society (Singapore) to report the sighting. The bird was subsequently spotted again at SBWR,  sparking off an intense hunt for the bird in the days that ensued.

The first record of the species occurred three years ago, on 23 January 2013, when six birds were found feeding in a waterlogged grass patch close to Seletar Airport. These were thought to be part of larger groups of birds that flew southwards down Peninsula Malaysia. The appearance in 2013, along with the current record, represent the southernmost record of the species to date. Further information about the sighting can be found here.

Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR)

Migrants continued to be observed within the CCNR in the month of March. A Grey Nightjar Caprimulgus jotaka was seen on 5 March 2019 from Jelutong Tower by Kelvin Ng while Eastern Crowned Warblers Phylloscopus coronatus were spotted at Venus Drive and Windsor Nature Park on 10 March 2019 by Benson Brighton and Russell Boyman, respectively. On 15 March 2019, a juvenile Malayan Night Heron Gorsachius melanolophus was seen at Hindhede Nature Park as it stalked along the forest floor and was stumbled upon by Fadzrun Adnan and Richard White. The last time we had a publicly recorded sighting of the heron was at the Singapore Botanic Gardens in April 2018.

MNH, Goh Yew Lin

A Malayan Night Heron photographed at Hindhede Park on 15 March 2019 by Goh Yew Lin and discovered by Richard White.

The following week yielded reports of flycatchers in Singapore’s central green core. A Yellow-rumped Flycatcher Ficedula zanthopygia was spotted at Dairy Farm Nature Park on 17 March 2019 by Zhang Licong, as was an Asian Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone species, which was fleetingly seen at Lower Pierce by Vincent Lao, who did not have sufficient time to identify it further. A Ruddy Kingfisher Halcyon coromanda was seen at Venus Link on 22 March 2019 by Richard White, while a Black Bittern Dupetor flavicollis was spotted at the Singapore Quarry on 24 March 2019 by Veronica Foo.

YRFC, ZLC

Yellow-rumped Flycatcher photographed at Dairy Farm Nature Park on 17 March 2019 by Zhang Licong.

Residents species observed include an Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster on 11 March 2019 at the Hindhede Quarry by Richard White, quite possibly the same bird as the one seen at the Singapore Quarry; three male Violet Cuckoo Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus chasing and calling to a female for more than 30 minutes in the high boughs of a stand of Albizia trees in Hindhede Nature Park on 16 March 2019 by Alan Owyong; and a male Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu on 24 March 2019 at Dairy Farm Nature Park by Vincent Lao.

Jambu, Vincent Lao

Jambu Fruit Dove at Dairy Farm Nature Park on 24 March 2019 and photographed by Vincent Lao

Northern Singapore

A Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea was seen around the vicinity of Seletar Camp on 13 March 2019 by Timothy Chua, who also spotted a Dark-sided Flycatcher Muscicapa sibirica on 17 March 2019 at Woodlands Town Park.

Eastern Singapore

Birders at Pasir Ris Park noted the movement of cuckoos during the month of March. A Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx nisicolor was seen on 8 March 2019 by Wong Sangmen, as was another spotted on 26 March 2019 by Alvin Seng. Three sightings of a Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinus were made on 17 March 2019 by Feroz, while a Large Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx sparveroides was seen on 19 March 2019 by Fabius Tan. The last week of March yielded a male Yellow-rumped Flycatcher Ficedula zanthopygia on 26 March 2019 by Wong Sangmen, a Mugimaki Flycatcher Ficedula mugimaki on 28 March 2019 by Khoo Mei Lin and a Von Schrenck’s Bittern Ixobrychus eurhythymus on 31 March 2019 by Wong Keng.

LHC, Fabius Tan

The Large Hawk Cuckoo photographed on 19 March 2019 by Fabius Tan.

Further afield, two Jerdons Baza Aviceda jerdoni was spotted at the Pasir Ris Farmway 3 on 10 March 2019 by Vincent Lao, while a Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes was seen on 23 March 2019 on Pulau Tekong by Frankie Cheong. Rare non-breeding visitors reported from this regions included a pair of Buff-rumped Woodpecker Meiglyptes tristis species on Pulau Ubin on 7 March 2019 by Chris Sanderson.

Central Singapore

A Hodgsons Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx nisicolor was spotted lurking in the remnants of Bidadari on 10 March 2019 by Mike Hooper.

Southern Singapore

The southern green lung that is collectively formed by Gardens-by-the-Bay and Satay-by-the-Bay attracted several species of migratory and resident birds during the month of March 2019. On 2 March 2019, a Yellow-browed Warbler Phylloscopus inornatus was spotted in the Gardens by Martine Ruane. A juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax was seen at the pond next to Satay-by-the-Bay on 14 March 2019 by Veronica Foo, while a Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting made its appearance in the canals near the Meadow on 25 March 2019.

BEKF, Siew Mun

The Blue-eared Kingfisher at Gardens by the Bay. This photograph was taken on 27 March 2019 by Siew Mun.

A Brown Hawk Owl Ninox scutulata appeared in a tree near the pond next to Satay-by-the-Bay on 26 March 2019 as reported by Andy Chew. This is an unusual location for the species which is usually seen/heard around the central forests only. It continued to be seen over the next few days until the last report on 31 March 2019 made in social media.

BHO, Herman

Brown Hawk Owl by the Bay and photographed in March 2019 by Herman Phua.

Farther afield, we received a report of a Pacific Swift Apus pacificus over Henderson Wave on 5 March 2019 by Keita Sin, who also reported movement across the hills of Kent Ridge Park on 8 March 2019 of one Common Buzzard Buteo buteo and three Grey-faced Buzzard Butastur indus.

Western Singapore

The Kranji Marsh-Neo Tiew area continued to yield reports during this month as well. Social media continued to report the presence of wintering Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus at Harvest Lane, while five Oriental Pratincole Glareola maldivarum were spotted on 22 March 2019 at the same location by Deborah Friets. Twelve Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola were also spotted at Harvest Lane on 24 March 2019 by Alan Chou, as was a “Swintail” Snipe Gallinago sp. on 26 March 2019 by Gabriel Koh, and a Stejnegers Stonechat Saxicola stejnegeri on 29 March 2019 by Alan Owyong, which is later than the previous extreme date of 28 March for this species (note: the individual was still around well into April). Within Kranji Marsh, a Javan Pond Heron Ardeola speciosa was spotted on 23 March 2019 by Lim Kim Seng.

STJ Stonechat, AOY

Alan Owyong captured this Stejneger’s Stonechat on 29 March 2019 at Harvest Link

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR) continued to support shorebirds and waterbirds. Apart from the spectacular report of a solitary Asian Openbill mentioned above, the Reserve continued to attract species such as Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinerus on 23 March 2019 by Gabriel Koh, Khoo Mei Lin and friends, the regular congregation of Great Egrets Ardea alba reported on 30 March 2019 by Lee Van Hien, one male Japanese Paradise Flycatcher  Terpsiphone artrocaudata on 31 March 2019 by Marvin Heng, and five thermaling Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus, also on 31 March 2019 by Adrian Silas Tay.

Birders and photographers drawn by the Grey-headed Fish Eagle along Pandan Canal reported other species. A Chinese Pond Heron Ardeola bacchus was seen on 3 March 2019 by Steven Wong, as was an Abbotts Babbler Malacocincla abbotti and Little Bronze Cuckoo Chrysococcyx minutillus on 20 March 2019 by Alan Owyong. A Black-capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata was reported on 29 March 2019 by Ash Foo, a new record for the location.

Other species reported from this region include a pair of Oriental Magpie Robin Copsychus sauluris on 6 March 2019 at Tuas Naval Base by Kerry Pereira,  a first for this part of Singapore. Within the compounds of the Jurong Bird Park on 31 March 2019, two Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis were seen together before one of them surreptitiously flew to an embankment and waited for about a minute and a half or so before walking into the undergrowth and disappearing into the thick scrub, leaving Geoff Lim to wonder if they were nesting.

Breeding-related activities

Nesting by Collared Kingfisher Todirhampus chloris was reported on 10 March 2019 at Queens Drive by Cheng Li Ai; another pair was followed by many bird photographers in Clementi during the same period, reported by Khoo Mei Lin, and the chicks fledged on 19 and 20 March 2019. Other breeding behaviour reported include the sighting of the critically endangered Straw-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus zeylanicus on 9 March 2019 at Bukit Batok Nature Park by Lim Kim Chuah, who saw a pair with a juvenile, suggesting that breeding had taken place within the Park.

Abbreviations:
BTNR: Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
CCNR: Central Catchment Nature Reserve
DFNP: Dairy Farm Nature Park
JEG: Jurong Eco-Garden
SBG: Singapore Botanic Gardens
SBWR: Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
TEG: Tampines Eco-Green

This report is written by Geoff Lim based on listings compiled by Alan OwYong, and edited by Tan Gim Cheong. We are grateful for the birders and photographers whose postings in various Facebook birding pages, bird forums, individual reports and extracts from eBird make up this report. This compilation is not a complete list of birds recorded for the month and not all the records were verified. 

Many thanks to Francis Yap, Goh Yew Lin, Zhang Licong, Vincent Lao, Fabius Tan, Siew Mun and Alan Owyong for the the use of their photos. 

List of Species seen:

Family Species Date
Ciconiidae Asian Openbill 14-Mar-19
Asian Openbill 17-Mar-19
Lesser Adjutant** 31-Mar-19
Ardeidae Von Schrenck’s Bittern 31-Mar-19
Black Bittern 24-Mar-19
Malayan Night Heron 15-Mar-19
Black-crowned Night Heron## 14-Mar-19
Chinese Pond Heron 3-Mar-19
Javan Pond Heron 23-Mar-19
Great Egret 30-Mar-19
Chinese Egret 23-Mar-19
Anhingidae Oriental  Darter* 11-Mar-19
Accipitridae Jerdon’s Baza 10-Mar-19
Grey-faced Buzzard 8-Mar-19
Grey-faced Buzzard 13-Mar-19
Common Buzzard 8-Mar-19
Scolopacidae Swinhoe’s Snipe 26-Mar-19
Wood Sandpiper 24-Mar-19
Terek Sandpiper 23-Mar-19
Glareolidae Oriental Pratincole 22-Mar-19
Columbidae Jambu Fruit Dove* 24-Mar-19
Cuculidae Greater Coucal 31-Mar-19
Chestnut-winged Cuckoo 30-Mar-19
Violet Cuckoo## 16-Mar-19
Little Bronze Cuckoo 20-Mar-19
Plaintive Cuckoo 17-Mar-19
Large Hawk-Cuckoo 19-Mar-19
Hodgson’s Hawk-Cuckoo 8-Mar-19
Hodgson’s Hawk-Cuckoo 10-Mar-19
Hodgson’s Hawk-Cuckoo 26-Mar-19
Strigidae Brown Hawk-Owl 26-Mar-19
Caprimulgidae Grey Nightjar 5-Mar-19
Apodidae Pacific Swift 5-Mar-19
Alcedinidae Ruddy Kingfisher## 22-Mar-19
Black-capped Kingfisher 29-Mar-19
Collared Kingfisher 10-Mar-19
Collared Kingfisher 20-Mar-19
Blue-eared Kingfisher## 25-Mar-19
Picidae Buff-rumped Woodpecker 7-Mar-19
Dicruridae Black Drongo 17-Mar-19
Monarchidae Asian Paradise Flycatcher 17-Mar-19
Japanese Paradise Flycatcher* 31-Mar-19
Pycnonotidae Straw-headed Bulbul##** 9-Mar-19
Phylloscopidae Yellow-browed Warbler 2-Mar-19
Eastern Crowned Warbler 10-Mar-19
Eastern Crowned Warbler 10-Mar-19
Pellorneidae Abbott’s Babbler 20-Mar-19
Muscicapidae Oriental Magpie-Robin## 6-Mar-19
Dark-sided Flycatcher 17-Mar-19
Yellow-rumped Flycatcher 17-Mar-19
Yellow-rumped Flycatcher 26-Mar-19
Green-backed Flycatcher 22-Mar-19
Mugimaki Flycatcher 28-Mar-19
Stejneger’s Stonechat 29-Mar-19
Motacillidae Grey Wagtail 13-Mar-19

Awesome Underwater Dive Catch of the Grey-headed Fish Eagle.

By Alan OwYong and Steven Wong.

This pair of Grey-headed Fish Eagles, Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus, are raising a family somewhere at the Toh Tuck area and have been fishing along the Pandan Canal for some time now. Both or one of them will perch in the mid canopy of the Albizia trees by the side of the canal either in the early morning hours or late afternoons looking out for any signs of life in the canal.

1-DSC01779

Perched up in the mid canopy, looking down at the canal waiting for any movements in the water.

Many of the dives and catches have been well documented in a number of great action photos posted in various Facebook groups recently. All of them show them diving down from the perch and snatching a fish from the surface of the water before taking it back to the trees.

1-Steven Wong

Steven Wong’s photo of the Sea-eagle entering the water with both wings up. I had a photo of the eagle completely underwater with only the ripples to show on the surface. But deleted it off hand as it had nothing to show.

But on the morning of 21 March 2019, Steven Wong and I witnessed a dive catch we have not seen before. The eagle dived into the water and caught a catfish that was swimming beneath the water surface. At one stage the whole eagle was submerged under the water only to reappear out of the water like from out of nowhere.

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Struggling to get up after being fully submerged in the water.

To do this, the eagle must have an extremely sharp eyesight to see the catfish that was swimming well below the surface. Maybe the clearer water that day helped. Then it must continuously keep track the movement of fish as it was diving down from the perch.

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Relieved to have both wings clear of the water.

The hardest part must be when and where to plunge in as the fish was below the surface. It will first have to allow for the parallax as the fish was not where it is looking from above. It will also have to allow for the evasive action of the fish in the split second after it hit the water surface.

Steven Wong 2

It takes a lot of down force to lift off judging from the turbulence on the water surface, captured in this photo by Steven Wong.

After hitting the water the eagle will not be able to see the fish as its nictitating membrane will cover its eyes. It will depend on its speed, trajectory and self belief that it talons will somehow fall on to its target and grab it. It was interesting to see that it managed to grab hold of the catfish head instead of mid body. It must be aiming for its head right from the start so that it will still get the other parts of the body if it miscalculate the strike. This hunting technic must have been learnt from the many failures in the past.

 

1-DSC02218

Determination written all over its face as it tried to drag it catch off the water.

Reversing its flight after the catch had to be another feat of power, using its wings to stop it going deeper and then pushing it back up to the surface. From the shots it took the eagle quite a few second to get airborne partly due to the size and weight of the catfish. We were happy to witness this hunting behaviour and add to the knowledge of these fish eagles in our midst.

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Success and food for the chicks today. It will eat the top half of the fish on the Albizia tree before taking the tail end back to the nest.

1-DSC02221-001

Aiming for the head gave the fish eagle some margin of error.

Many thanks to Steven Wong for spotting the eagle that morning and generously sharing his local knowledge of the hunting behaviour of this pair of Grey-headed Fish Eagles.

Singapore Raptor Report – February 2019

 

Common Buzzard, 050219, Holland Dr, Zacc HD

Common Buzzard, adult pale morph, at Holland Drive, on 5 Feb 2019, by Zacc HD

Summary for migrant species:

In February, 90 raptors of 8 migrant species were recorded. After going ‘missing’ for two months, the Common Buzzard Buteo buteo ‘re-appeared’ at Holland Drive from 4th to 12th February. Three Jerdon’s Bazas Aviceda jerdoni continued to winter at Changi Business Park, one wintering at Coney Island, and another two were spotted at Pulau Ubin.

Only one Chinese Sparrowhawk Accipiter soloensis was recorded, at MacRitchie Reservoir Park on the 3rd. There were a total of six Japanese Sparrowhawks Accipiter gularis, including an adult male and a juvenile at the Lim Chu Kang area. Three migrant Peregrine Falcons Falco peregrinus were recorded, one at Boon Lay Way on the 1st, one at Holland Drive on the 5th mobbing the Common Buzzard and one at Kranji Marshes on the 17th. Three Western Ospreys Pandion haliaetus were recorded, including one at the Botanic Gardens, away from the usual northern coastal areas.

Twenty one Black Bazas Aviceda leuphotes were recorded in the month, including a group of seven at Lorong Halus on the 6th. Forty seven Oriental Honey Buzzards Pernis ptilorhyncus, which included a group of eight at Coney Island on the 9th, rounded up the migrant raptors for the month.

BWK, 090219, LCK, Zhang Licong

Black-winged Kite, showing its striking red eye, at Lim Chu Kang, on 9 Feb 2019, by Zhang Licong.

Highlights for sedentary species:

There were two breeding-related records in February: a pair of White-bellied Sea Eagles mating at West Coast Park on the 21st and a Changeable Hawk-Eagle calling on its nest at Kranji Marshes on the  16th. The only record of the Crested Serpent Eagle was at Pulau Ubin on the 23rd. Two ernesti Peregrine Falcons were recorded in the CBD area on the 2nd.

The other sedentary raptors recorded included four Grey-headed Fish Eagles, eight Crested Goshawks, five Black-winged Kites, and the common Brahminy Kites.

Table 1

For more details, please see the pdf Singapore Raptor Report – February 2019

Compiled by Tan Gim Cheong

Many thanks to everyone who had reported their sightings in one way or another, and also thanks  to Zacc HD and Zhang Licong for the use of their photos.

Singapore Bird Report – February 2019

February continues to dazzle with exciting migratory species, such as the elusive Slaty-legged Crake at Admiralty,  rare Sakhalin Leaf Warbler & Green-backed Flycatcher; rare resident race Ruddy Kingfisher at SBWR, as well as unusual sightings of familiar residents in new places. Chinese New Year treats include the Crakes and Chestnut-winged Cuckoo at Lorong Halus Wetland.

Slaty-legged Crake, 070219, Admiralty Park, Bee Choo Ng-Strange

Slaty-legged Crake at Admiralty Park on 7 February 2019, by Bee Choo Ng-Strange.

Slaty-legged Crake at Admiralty Park

The Slaty-legged Crake Rallina eurizonoides is rare winter visitor and passage migrant that is elusive and seldom encountered. Although listed as being of least concern (BirdLife, 2016), the species is said to be in decline. A rather large crake measuring about 25cm in length, the species is said to breed across South Asia to the Philippines, and certain populations is known to migrate within the region.

The most recent report concerned one that was photographed in a basement carpark at Haig Road in December 2018, as well as a hitherto unreported sighting at Admiralty Park on 3 December 2018 by Luke Milo Teo, who had been unsure of the species of crake he had photographed until the postings of the Haig Road bird. These were preceded by one found dead at Sentosa in December 2016, and a record on Jurong Island in January 2015. Thus, a sighting on 7 February 2019 at Admiralty Park by veteran birder Morten Strange, and his wife Bee Choo, was therefore greeted with much enthusiasm.

The crake was also seen on 8 February 2019 by Keita Sin. The last confirmed sighting of the crake was on 9 February 2019, reported by Khoo MeiLin, who noted that the crake, along with several White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus, frequented an evaporating pool during twilight hours to bathe before returning to the thick undergrowth within the vicinity.

Geoff 1

Photograph of one of several White-breasted Waterhen in the pond frequented by the crake at Admiralty Park at 7pm on 12 February 2019, illustrating the less-than-ideal state of the pond; taken by Geoff Lim.

Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR)

Sightings within the CCNR were confined to the initial days of February. On 2 February 2019, an Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx erithaca (black-backed subspecies), Crow-billed Drongo Dicrurus annectans and an unidentified Hawk Cuckoo were spotted around the vicinity of Dillenia Hut by Thio Hui Bing. Another Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher (black-backed subspecies) was spotted on 6 February 2019, as was a Green-backed Flycatcher Ficedula elisae by Raghav Narayanswamy. The same day also yielded a Sakhalin Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus borealoides at the MacRitchie Reservoir Park for Geoff Lim.

GBFC, Feb 19, Rifle Link, Fryap

This Green-backed Flycatcher was spotted sometime in February 2019 along Rifle Range Link, by Francis Yap.

Singapore Botanic Gardens (SBG)

On 8 February 2019, a Crow-billed Drongo Dicrurus annectans was spotted at SBG’s Learning Forest by Karyne Wee. On 17 February 2019, two White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata were spotted feeding in the Bambusetum by visiting Dutch ecologist, Tessa van Vreeswijk and Geoff Lim.

CB Drongo, 080219, SBG, Karyne Wee

A Crow-billed Drongo spotted inside the Learning Forest by Karyne Wee on 8 February 2019.

Geoff 2

A White-rumped Munia at the Bambusetum on 17 February 2019. Photo by Geoff Lim

Northern Singapore

Prior to the Chinese New Year season, Lorong Halus was a hotbed of activity due to the continued appearance of two rallids and a charismatic cuckoo. A Chestnut-winged Cuckoo Clamator coromandus on 2 February 2019 was reported by Lee Yue Teng, while a Ruddy-breasted Crake Porzana fusca was seen on the same day by Kok M Lee. Also spotted and posted on social media was the elusive Baillon’s Crake Porzana pusilla. The crake had been sighted in end December 2018 and continued to be seen in the reedbeds at the Lorong Halus Wetland during the Chinese New Year holidays.

CWC, 020219, Halus, Lee Yue Teng

A Chestnut-winged Cuckoo photographed at Lorong Halus on 2 February 2019 by Lee Yue Teng.

RB Crake, GEral KC Lim

A Ruddy-breasted Crake at Lorong Halus on 3 February 2019. Photo taken by Gerald KC Lim.

Visitors to Baker Street on 3 February 2019 noted the presence of two species of skulking bittern around the pond’s perimeter. A Black Bittern Ixobrychus flavicollis was spotted by See Toh Yew Wai, while a Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus was seen by Pan Denan. The pond also attracted a Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupu, which was seen on 21 February 2019 by Khoo Mei Lin.

BFO, 210219, Baker St, Khoo MeiLin

A Buffy Fish Owl was spotted at Baker Street on 21 February 2019; photo by Khoo MeiLin

Apart from the Slaty-legged Crake reported on 7 February 2019 by Morten Strange, other species reported in the north included a spectacular roosting by about 600-700 Blue-tailed Bee-eater Merops philippinus at Yishun Ring Road reported by Alfred Chia, a female Yellow-rumped Flycatcher Ficedula xanthopygia at Admiralty Park on 11 February 2019 by Alan Owyong, two Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax at Serangoon Reservor on 13 February 2019 by Wong Keng, and a Hooded Pitta Pitta sordida provided some relief to students when it flew in and out of a classroom at Anderson Secondary School on 15 February 2019, reported by Mohd Nasir Sani.

Eastern Singapore

Visitors to Pulau Ubin in February 2019 reported the presence of a Broad-billed Sandpiper Limicola falcinellus at Chek Jawa on 3 February 2019 (Adrian Silas Tay), as well as four Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus on 8 February 2019 by Teo Kah Ming, Joseph Lai and Joseph Lin. A Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinus was spotted at Pasir Ris Park on 12 Feb 2019 by Alvin Seng, while a Jerdon’s Baza Aviceda jerdoni was seen on Coney Island on 28 February 2019.

Southern Singapore

A Black Bittern Ixobrychus flavicollis found its way into an apartment at Geylang Lorong 29 on 12 February 2019 and injured itself during the process; the bird was reported by Kelvin Goh. A similar bittern was seen on 17 January 2019 at the Marine Parade Polyclinic and reported in last month’s report. A Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax turned up at Satay-by-the-Bay on 20 February 2019 and was reported by Sim Chip Chye. On the same day, a Crow-billed Drongo Dicrurus annectans was spotted on Sentosa by Alfred Chia. The island yielded an Orange-headed Thrush Geokichla citrina at Imbiah Falls on 28 February 2019 when Lim Kim Seng and David Mostardi visited the site.

Western Singapore

Western Singapore continued to provide an astonishing number of reports, given that many local Important Bird Areas are clustered in this part of the island nation.

The area around Kranj Marsh continues to support a wide variety of species. The marshes themselves hosted a Watercock Gallicrex cinerea, which was spotted on 3 February 2019 by Veronica Foo; while a Savanna Nightjar Caprimulgus affinis was encountered at Turut Track on 22 February 2019.

The nearby canal at Lim Chu Kang Avenue 3 supported a variety of species; a Pintail Snipe Gallinago stenura on 2 February 2019 by Benson Brighton, a Greater Painted Snipe Rostatula benghalensis on 3 February 2019 by Lim Kim Seng, an Eastern Yellow Wagtail Motacilla tschutschensis, two Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus, three White Wagtail Motacilla alba ocularis, four Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola, and five Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius  on 5 February 2019 by Yong Ding Li, Koji Ichiyama & Geoff Lim, as well as a Watercock Gallicrex cinerea on 6 February 2019 by Art Toh. Two adult and two juvenile Common Moorhen were spotted by Khoo Mei Lin on 6 February 2019 also.

Watercock, Art Toh

A Watercock spotted at Lim Chu Kang Avenue 3 on 6 February 2019 by Art Toh.

Geoff 3

The environs of the Lim Chu Kang Avenue 3 drain at low tide on 5 February 2019, visited by a Common Moorhen, a White-breasted Waterhen and a Little Egret, photo by Geoff Lim

GEoff 4

White Wagtail at Lim Chu Kang Avenue 3 on 5 February 2019, spotted by Yong Ding Li, Koji Ichiyama and Geoff Lim

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR) continued to surprise birders. On 4 February 2019, a rare resident race Ruddy Kingfisher Halcyon coromanda minor with a strong purplish gloss to its back was photographed by Siew Mun. Several days later on 7 February 2019, seven Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus were seen by Low Choon How, the highest number to date. An Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster was seen on 11 February 2019 by Lim Kim Keang and Veronica Foo.

Ruddy KF, 040219, SBWR, Siew Mun

The Ruddy Kingfisher at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. Photo taken by Siew Mun on 4 February 2019.

Farther afield in the west, we received news of a Grey Nightjar Caprimulgus jotaka along the railway track near Bukit Timah Drive by Richard White, who also noted the phenomenal congregation of about 660 Blue-throated Bee-eaters Merops viridis at Eng Kong Place on 9 February 2019.

Holland Drive yielded a Common Buzzard Buteo buteo on 4 February 2019 by Art Toh, a Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus on 5 February 2019 by Arasu Sivaraman and Spotted Wood Owl Strix seloputo on 25 February 2019 by Cedric Tan, an apparent first for the location.

Common Buzzard, 050219, Holland Dr, Art Toh

A Common Buzzard at Holland Drive on 4 February 2019 as photographed by Art Toh.

SWO, 260219, Holland Dr, Khoo MeiLin

Two Spotted Wood Owl at Holland Drive photographed on 26 February 2019 by Khoo MeiLin.

A fishing Grey-headed Fish-eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus at Pandan River attracted a steady following of bird photographers and birders alike, resulting in reports of a Black Bittern Ixobrychus flavicollis and a Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus on 21 February 2019 by Alan Owyong.

The West Coast Park complex yielded three Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea on 21 February 2019 at the Pasir Panjang Canal by Alan Voo, as well as a Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx nisicolor on 27 February 2019 by Steven Wong.

Abbreviations:
CCNR: Central Catchment Nature Reserve
SBG: Singapore Botanic Gardens
SBWR: Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
SBTB: Satay by the Bay

This report is based on records compiled by Alan OwYong, written by Geoff Lim, and edited by Tan Gim Cheong. The records are based on selected postings in various Facebook birding pages, bird forums, individual reports and extracts from eBird. This compilation is not a complete list of birds recorded for the month and not all the records were verified. We wish to thank all the contributors for their records. Many thanks to Bee Choo Ng-Strange, Khoo MeiLin, Francis Yap, Karyne Wee, Lee Yue Teng, Gerald KC Lim, Art Toh, Siew Mun and Geoff Lim for the use of their photos. 

References
BirdLife International (2016). Rallina eurizonoidesThe IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22692317A93347854. Downloaded on 27 March 2019.

List of Birds seen in February 2019

Family Species Date Location
Ciconiidae

 

Lesser Adjutant 8-Feb Pulau Ubin
Lesser Adjutant 7-Feb SBWR
Ardeidae

 

Cinnamon Bittern 3-Feb Baker Street
Cinnamon Bittern 21-Feb Pandan Canal
Black Bittern 3-Feb Baker Street
Black Bittern 12-Feb Geylang Lor 29
Black Bittern 21-Feb Pandan Canal
Black-crowned Night-heron 20-Feb SBTB
Black-crowned Night-heron 13-Feb Serangoon Reservoir
Anhingidae Oriental Darter 11-Feb SBWR
Accipitridae

 

Jerdon’s Baza 28-Feb Coney Island
Grey-headed Fish-eagle 8-Feb Pandan Canal
Common Buzzard 4-Feb Holland Drive
Rallidae

 

Slaty-legged Crake 7-Feb Admiralty Park
Ruddy-breasted Crake 2-Feb Lor Halus
Watercock 3-Feb Kranji Marsh
Watercock 6-Feb Lim Chu Kang Ave 3
Common Moorhen 5-Feb Lim Chu Kang Ave 3
Common Moorhen 6-Feb Lim Chu Kang Ave 3
Charadriidae Little Ringed Plover 5-Feb Lim Chu Kang Ave 3
Rostratulidae Greater Painted Snipe 3-Feb Lim Chu Kang Ave 3
Scolopacidae

 

Pin-tailed Snipe 2-Feb Lim Chu Kang Ave 3
Wood Sandpiper 5-Feb Lim Chu Kang Ave 3
Broad-billed Sandpiper 3-Feb Pulau Ubin
Cuculidae

 

Chestnut-winged Cuckoo 2-Feb Lor Halus
Banded Bay Cuckoo 12-Feb Pasir Ris Park
Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo 27-Feb West Coast Park
Hawk Cuckoo 2-Feb CCNR
Strigidae

 

Buffy Fish Owl 21-Feb Baker Street
Spotted Wood Owl 25-Feb Holland Drive
Caprimulgidae

 

Grey Nightjar 4-Feb Bukit Timah  Drive
Savanna Nightjar 22-Feb Turut Track
Alcedinidae

 

Ruddy Kingfisher 4-Feb SBWR
Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher 2-Feb CCNR
Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher 6-Feb CCNR
Meropidae

 

Blue-tailed Bee-eater 5-Feb Yishun Ring Road
Blue-throated Bee-eater 9-Feb Eng Khong Place
Falconidae Peregrine Falcon 5-Feb Holland Drive
Pittidae Hooded Pitta 15-Feb Anderson Sec School
Dicruridae

 

Crow-billed Drongo 2-Feb CCNR
Crow-billed Drongo 14-Feb Singapore Botanic Gardens
Crow-billed Drongo 20-Feb Sentosa
Phylloscopidae Sakhalin Warbler 6-Feb CCNR
Turdidae Orange-headed Thrush 28-Feb Sentosa
Muscicapidae

 

Yellow-rumped Flycatcher 11-Feb Admiralty Park
Green-backed Flycatcher 6-Feb CCNR
Motacillidae

 

Eastern Yellow Wagtail 5-Feb Lim Chu Kang Ave 3
Grey Wagtail 21-Feb Pasir Panjang Canal
White Wagtail 5-Feb Lim Chu Kang Ave 3
Estrildidae White-rumped Munia 17-Feb Singapore Botanic Gardens

Asian Openbill-Singapore’s 2nd Record

On 17 March 2019, Beng Neo’s facebook post of an Open-billed Stork, Anastomus oscitans, taken at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve caused a stir among the birding community here. The next day birders and photographers lined up on the main bridge, hoping to tick off their lifers. They were not disappointed and all went home happy with great sightings and shots.

1-Beng Neo

Beng Neo’s shot of the Open-billed on the 17 March at SBWR.

Apparently Clare and Grant Morton, visiting birders from Australia first spotted this stork flying over the main hide on 14 March. They reported by email to the Nature Society (Singapore) and later confirmed it with a photo on the 19 March. Their sighting constituted only our second record of this stork in Singapore.

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Heavily cropped shot of the Openbill flying over SBWR on the 14th March by Clare and Grant Morton.

Our first record was on 23 January 2013 when six birds were spotted feeding in an open flooded field at Seletar North. They were part of a larger flock that made its way down south from Thailand along the West Coast of Peninsular Malaysia. This movement may be due to the dry conditions back in Thailand and the lack of food sources.

Mei Ling Khoo

Mei Ling Khoo’s shot of the balancing stork taken from the main bridge. This month there were several postings of this stork on the Wild Bird Club Malaysia Facebook pages. 15th at Bota Kiri and Kinta NP on 3rd both in Perak and Tanjong Karang, Selangor on 11th. According to Tou Jing Yi they can be found in many parts of the West Coast and are still supplemented by migrants.

Mahesh Krishan

Mahesh Krishnan caught it flying towards him at the main pond. The Asian Openbill is a common resident of India and parts of Indochina. Hundreds can be seen roosting in temples in Bangkok.

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The abundance of mollusc at the main ponds will hopefully prolong its stay here. This photo made it look like they are using the gap to crack the snails but they actually pick out the flesh with the curved tip of its mandible.

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A curious Monitor Lizard checking out the new arrival.

Reference: B.W. Low et al. First Record of the First Asian Openbill in Singapore. 2013.

Many thanks to Beng Neo, Clare and Grant Morton, Mahesh Krishnan, Khoo Mei Ling and Alan OwYong for the use of their photos and to Clare and Grant Morton for their record.