Singapore Bird Report – August 2018

Singapore celebrated our 53rd National Day on 9 August 2018. During the days preceding and following National Day, electrifying news of a juvenile Barred Eagle Owl, being seen together with its parents at the Singapore Quarry, captured the attention of birders and bird photographers in Singapore. August also continued to see reports of breeding activity, as well as many first reports of migrants arriving on our shores. 

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One of the three Barred Eagle Owls at Singapore Quarry photographed by Mahesh Krishnan on 19 August 2018.

During the days preceding and following National Day, electrifying news of a juvenile Barred Eagle Owl Bubo sumatranus, seen together with its parents at the Singapore Quarry, captured the attention of birders and bird photographers in Singapore. Hitherto an elusive owl whose sightings in Singapore remain few and far in between, the sightings continue to surprise many with what birdlife Singapore could sustain.

Nature lover, Peter Ding, first spotted an adult on 24 May 2018 during one of his walks. He did not see the Barred Eagle Owl again until 7 August 2018. This time, it was a juvenile he spotted, trying to move from one branch to another. A day or two later, Peter saw the juvenile calling out to an adult perched in a separate tree. Puzzled as to what bird he had seen, Peter posted a photo of the bird and asked for help to identify it. That was how word got round social media and started the Barred Eagle Owl chase.  Today, Peter shares his happiness with birders all over Singapore that the rare and elusive owl has bred successfully in Singapore.

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Barred Eagle Owl juvenile at Singapore Quarry photographed by Francis Yap in August 2018.

Two non-breeding visitors were also reported. A Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx fugax was spotted on 16 August 2018 at Lower Peirce by Colin Trainor,  while another was seen at Pasir Ris Park on 21 August 2018 by Lim Kim Seng and on 29 Aug at Pasir Ris Park by Herman Phua. Kim Seng also spotted a Blyth’s Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone affinis at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR) on 26 August 2018.

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Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo at Pasir Ris Park on 29 August 2018 by Herman Phua.

Singapore Botanic Gardens (SBG)

An Asian Red-eyed Bulbul Pycnonotus brunneus, more usually encountered in the central forests, was spotted on 7 August 2018 by Art Toh; while a male Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu and White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata were seen at the Learning Forest on 15 and 22 August 2018 by Reuben Braddock and Felix Wong, respectively. On 17 August 2018, Meilin Khoo photographed a Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting, and on 22 August 2018 a Slaty-breasted Rail Gallirallus striatus was recorded by Felix Wong and Eng Eng.

 Central Singapore

 A Ruddy-breasted Crake Porzana fusca was spotted at Bidadari on 19 August 2018 by Zacc HD, while a Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus was seen at OCBC Building on 30 August 2018 by Steven Wong. About 10 Grey-rumped Treeswift Hemiprocne longipennis were spotted at Kampong Java Park on 30 August 2018 by Henrietta Woo.

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Zacc HD spotted a Ruddy-breasted Crake at Bidadari on 19 August 2018.

Northern Singapore

Two resident Lesser Whistling Duck Dendrocygnus javanica were spotted at Lorong Halus by Con Foley, Tan Kok Hui and Danny Lau. Several migratory species were sighted in the north. A Greater Sand Plover Charadrius leschenaultii was seen at Seletar Dam on 5 August 2018  by Saravanan Krishnamurthy, while a Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus was spotted on 10 August 2018 at Seletar Club Road by Goh Cheng Teng and Lester Tan, about a month earlier than our previous record. A Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis was subsequentlly seen at Hampstead Road on 19 August 2018 by Art Toh and Meilin Khoo.  Meilin Khoo also reported receiving news concerning the arrival of Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea and Forest Wagtail Dendroanthus indicus roosting in Yishun on 31 August 2018.

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A Brown Shrike at Seletar Club Road on 10 August 2018 taken by Goh Cheng Teng.

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A Greater Sand Plover at Seletar Dam on 22 August 2018 taken by Geoff Lim.

Eastern Singapore

Species encountered during a joint NParks-NSS survey on 5 August 2018 included a Buff-rumped Woodpecker Meiglyptes tristis and a Great Crested Tern Thalasseus bergii, which was also reported at Chek Jawa on 26 August 2018 by YT Chong. A Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting was spotted at Pasir Ris Park on 20 August 2018 by Yew Chong.

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A Buff-rumped Woodpecker recorded during a survey on Ubin on 5 August 2018. Photograph provided by the NSS-NParks Ubin Survey Team.

Migrants had started to arrive in force. A Common Redshank Tringa totanus was spotted on 3 August 2018 at Pasir Ris Park by Martin Kennewell. During the Ubin Survey on 5 August 2018, NParks and NSS volunteers spotted Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus, Terek Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos, Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia, Red-necked Stint  Calidris ruficollis and Lesser Sand Plover Charadrius mongolus on the northern island. On 19 August 2018, a Watercock Gallicrex cinerea was sighted on the island by Ramesh T.

Farther afield, a flagged Grey-tailed Tattler Tringa brevipes was spotted on Pulau Tekong on 11 August 2018, one month earlier than the last extreme date, by Frankie Cheong.

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A Grey-tailed Tattler on 11 August 2018 taken by Frankie Cheong on Pulau Tekong.

Southern Singapore

In the south, residents continued to feature. On 2 August 2018, Malaysian Plover Charadrius peronii were sighted at Marina Barrage by John Marriott. A Little Bronze Cuckoo Chrysococcyx minutillus was seen being fed by a Golden-bellied Gerygone Gerygone sulphurea on 8 August 2018 at the Asian Civilisation Museum by Han YK. Lim Kim Seng’s foray into Pulau Semakau on 13 August 2018 yielded a White-headed Munia Lonchura maja and a Mangrove Whistler Pachycephala cinerea.

Western Singapore

Resident species encountered in the west included a Blue-winged Pitta Pitta moluccensis at the vicinity of Kranji Marsh on 3 August 2018 by Looi Ang Soh Hoon, an Abbott’s Babbler Malacocincla abbotti on 9 August 2018 at SBWR by Gerard Francis, and a Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnomomeus on 26 August 2018 at Lim Chu Kang by Martin Kennewell.

On 3 August 2018, a Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola and Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva, a first for the season, were seen at Lim Chu Kang on 4 August 2018 by Luke Milo Teo. By 26-27 August 2018, multiple sightings of the Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea were made at Lim Chu Kang by Martin Kennewell, Goh Cheng Teng and Lester Tan (Ramesh T. also recorded the wagtail at Changi Business Park on 26 August 2018). A first of the season Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa and Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis were reported on 29 August 2018 at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve by Geraldine Lee and David Li, and Veronica Foo, respectively.

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 compiled by Geoff Lim and Alan OwYong, edited by Tan Gim Cheong,  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 Mahesh Krishnan, Frankie Cheong, Francis Yap, Herman Phua, Goh Cheng Teng, Zacc HD, Geoff Lim and the NSS-NParks Ubin Survey Team  for the use of their photos. 

List of Bird Sightings in the report:

Family Species Date
Anatidae Lesser Whistling Duck 4-Aug
Ardeidae Cinnamon Bittern 26-Aug
Pandionidae Western Osprey 4-Aug
Rallidae

 

 

Slaty-breasted Rail 22-Aug
Ruddy-breasted Crake 19-Aug
Watercock 19-Aug
Charadriidae

 

 

 

 

 

Pacific Golden Plover 4-Aug
Pacific Golden Plover 30-Aug
Pacific Golden Plover 31-Aug
Malaysian Plover 2-Aug
Lesser Sand Plover 5-Aug
Greater Sand Plover 5-Aug
Scolopacidae

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black-tailed Godwit 29-Aug
Whimbrel 5-Aug
Common Redshank 3-Aug
Marsh Sandpiper 29-Aug
Common Greenshank 5-Aug
Wood Sandpiper 4-Aug
Grey-tailed Tattler 11-Aug
Terek Sandpiper 5-Aug
Red-necked Stint 5-Aug
Laridae Swift Tern 5-Aug
Columbidae Jambu Fruit Dove 15-Aug
Cuculidae Little Bronze Cuckoo 8-Aug
Malayan Hawk Cuckoo 16-Aug
Strigidae Barred Eagle Owl 8-Aug
Apopidae Grey-rumped Treeswift 30-Aug
Alcedinidae Common Kingfisher 19-Aug
  Blue-eared Kingfisher 20-Aug
Picidae Buff-rumped Woodpecker 5-Aug
Falconidae Peregrine Falcon 30-Aug
Pittidae Blue-winged Pitta 3-Aug
Pachycephalidae Mangrove Whislter 13-Aug
Laniidae Brown Shrike 10-Aug
Monarchidae Blyth’s Paradise Flycatcher 26-Aug
Pycnonotidae Asian Red-eyed Bulbul 7-Aug
Pellorneidae Abbott’s Babbler 9-Aug
Zosteropidae Oriental White-eye 30-Aug
Estrildidae

 

White-heaed Munia 13-Aug
White-rumped Munia 22-Aug
Motacillidae

 

 

 

Forest Wagtail 31-Aug
Grey Wagtail 27-Aug
Grey Wagtail 26-Aug
Grey Wagtail 31-Aug
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Pollination disrupted by Rose- Ringed Parakeets.

Pollination disrupted by Rose-ringed Parakeets. 

By T.Ramesh

I recently observed and video recorded the feeding behavior of Rose-ringed parakeet at Changi Business Park canal.  Rose-ringed Parakeets also known as Ring-necked Parakeet is an uncommon introduced resident .  Their diet generally includes fruits, berries, vegetables, buds, nuts, and seeds.  A  female Rose-ringed Parakeet flew and perched on to a Tabebua rosea with white Trumpet flowers.  It nicely plucked one  flower , sucked its nectar from the bottom  and dropped the flower . It continued this process of plucking &  sucking nectar from seven  such flowers .  I was curious to understand more about this behavior and researched online.

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Parakeets feed on nectar  only if other food listed above is in short supply .  Some plants in Amazon & Tasmania do attract certain  parakeets & parrots ( Golden winged Parakeets in Amazon & Swift Parrots in Australia) to feed on its nectar and rely on them for pollination. These birds have both physical and behavioural  adaptation for nectar feeding and tend not to destroy the flowers.  They provide pollination services through their  pollen-laden beaks.

However, in case of Rose-ringed parakeets , I noticed they do not have adaption for nectar feeding and hence simply pluck and suck the nectar from the flowers and while doing so disrupting  food & the process  of other pollinators.

Reference Parrots: The animal answer guide by Matt Cameron.

Thanks to Angie Ng for the tree identification,

Asian Koel Raids Pied Triller’s Nest.

Pied Triller’s nest raided by an Asian Koel.

I chanced upon the nest of a pair of Pied Trillers Lalage nigra on an Ordeal Tree Erythrophleum suavolens along one-north Crescent during my evening walk early this August . It was a cup shaped nest about 10 cm in diameter stuck between the fork of two thin branches near the canopy. The two chicks must have hatched a few days ago. Both parents were busy bringing back insects and caterpillars to the chicks.

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I went there to check on their progress two days later and witnessed a heartbreaking incident. A male Asian Koel Eudynamys scolopacea flew in and went straight to the nest. It must have been watching this nesting for some time.

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The Koel attacked and pecked at the chick which clung on to the nest. As the Koel pulled the chick out, the nest was came off the branch too. The Koel then shook the chick violently by its neck several times until it went limped. It dropped the chick and the nest to the ground instead of eating it. I think it was trying to take over the nest by getting rid of the chicks but destroyed the nest while doing so.

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The parents came back after the attack and was totally confused to find the nest gone and the chicks nowhere in sight.  They went up and down the branches frantically searching for the chicks for some time, gave up and flew away.

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The first chick had no chance. It was dead before it hit the ground.

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But surprisingly the other chick survived the attack and fall with a few ruffled feathers.

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I picked up the nest and wedged it by the trunk of the tree a few meters above the ground and left the chick there. At least it will be safe from feral predators. I stayed around for a while but the parents did not show up. Next morning I found it back on the ground. It must have fallen out of the nest during the night.

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I decided to tied the nest on a low twig near the ground and put the chick back in. By now the chick had not been fed for more than 24 hours. It was chirping and calling for its parents. Luckily the parents heard the calls this time round and came back. I experienced the most wonderful moment when the daddy found the chick. They were so happy being reunited!

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I was also happy to see the parents resumed feeding the chick.

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The mummy was more concerned and hang around to make sure junior was safe. She did not want to lose another chick again.

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The chick was strong enough to climb up the tree with the help of some flapping. It seemed to know that it had a better chance of surviving if it moved up to the safety of the dense foliage above.

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Next morning I found the chick resting at the mid storey of the Tembusu and the parents still feeding it. Now I was sure that this chick would survive.

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PS. The Asian Koel is an invader species to Singapore. There were no previous records of its destructive behaviour. In fact they were attributed for helping to control the crow’s population here by parasitizing their nesting. This may be the first time such an aggressive behaviour has been recorded. I would like to hear if there were other such attacks seen here or elsewhere.

Reference: Lim Kim Seng. The Avifauna of Singapore. 2009 Nature Society (Singapore). 

 

 

 

Singapore Bird Report – July 2018

Breeding activities continue to be reported in July, while the first migrants from the northern hemisphere began to arrive at our shores. In the meantime, reports of three charismatic species of birds – the Blue-eared Kingfisher, the Blyth’s Paradise Flycatcher and the Blue-winged Pitta feature in this month’s report.

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A Blue-eared Kingfisher photographed by Amin at Singapore Botanic Gardens on 31 July 2018.

Birdwatchers and photographers are familiar with the Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting which is quite regularly seen at Kranji Marsh (KM); one was spotted on 2 July 2018 by Amin. It was therefore a pleasant surprise to note reports of this rather skittish species at Venus Loop on 13 July 2018 by Terence Tan, the Lower Pierce Reservoir on 15 July 2018 (1 adult & 1 juvenile) by Adrian Silas Tay, and Singapore Botanic Gardens on 30 July 2018 & 31 July 2018 by Peter Hosner and Amin respectively. This kingfisher is known to live in mangroves, understoreys of forests, peat swamps, and forest streams. They may move out from forest edges into abutting streams, and only rarely visits rivers open enough to attract Common Kingfishers (Wells, 1999:523).  It is therefore encouraging to know that the dimunitive kingfisher is increasingly encountered outside the Kranji Marsh and Central Catchment Nature Reserve.

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A Blue-winged Pitta photographed by visiting biologist from Canberra, Shoshana Rapley, at Pulau Ubin on 4 July 2018.

The charismatic Blue-winged Pitta Pitta moluccensis is more often encountered during the later part of the year. Two birds were reported – one on 4 July 2018 near Chek Jawa on Pulau Ubin by visiting Australian biologist, Shoshana Rapley, and another on 8 July 2018 at Ama Keng, which is situated in the western end of Singapore by Martin Kennewell. Lambert & Woodcock (1996:166-167) suggested that this Pitta breeds from southern Yunnan, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia through Thailand, to northern Peninsular Malaysia, and migrate southwards during the northern winter. The pitta’s breeding range has extended southwards since, reaching Taman Negara Kuala Tahan in 2005 and finally, Singapore in 2016.

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A Blyth’s Paradise Flycatcher at Singapore Botanic Gardens on 14 July 2018 photographed by Keita Sin.

The Blyth’s Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone affinis was spotted at Windsor Park on 5 July 2018 by Amin, and verified by Luke Milo Teo. Another was seen at the Singapore Botanic Garden’s Rainforest Broadwalk on 14 July 2018 by Keita Sin. This species of Paradise Flycatcher is one of the early migrants, with its close cousin the Amur Paradise Flycatcher probably coming through later.

Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR)

A number of residents were reported to be breeding in the CCNR and its environs.  A juvenile Drongo Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris was seen from Jelutong Tower on 1 July 2018 by Francis Yap, while a nesting Straw-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus zeylanicus was spotted at Dairy Farm Nature Park (DFNP) on 11 July 2018 by Alan Owyong, and a juvenile Chestnut-bellied Malkoha Phaenicophaeus sumatranus was seen within Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (BTNR) on 13 July 2018 by John Marriott. Also spotted within the CCNR were twelve Blue-rumped Parrots Psittinus cyanurus, two of which were juveniles, at Old Upper Thomson Road on 22 July 2018 by Adrian Silas Tay.

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A juvenile Drongo Cuckoo photographed from Jelutong Tower on 1 July 2018 by Francis Yap.

Resident species observed include a Black-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus atriceps at BTNR on 1 July 2018 by Natelia Cyluk, Chestnut-winged Babbler Stachyris erythroptera within CCNR on 6 July 2018 by Alan Owyong, a calling Red-legged Crake Rallina fasciata along Upper Thomson Road on 15 July 2018 by Swen Einhaus, Red-crowned Barbet Megalaima rafflesii at DFNP on 29 July 2018 by Martin Kennewell, and a Violet Cuckoo Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus on 31 July 2018 at Singapore Quarry by Lim Kim Chuah.

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A juvenile and adult Blue-rumped Parrot photographed by Adrian Silas Tay on 1 July 2018 inside the CCNR.

Singapore Botanic Gardens (SBG)

Apart from the Blue-eared Kingfisher and Blyth’s Paradise Flycatcher mentioned earlier, SBG yielded Asian Palm Swift Cypsiurus balasiensis, spotted on 24 July 2018 by Doug Armstrong, and an early Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis on 25 July 2018 by Shirley Ng at the Symphony Lake. The previous earliest arrival date for this kingfisher was 9 August.

Northern Singapore

On 14 July 2018, Jimmy Lee observed a juvenile Banded Bay Cuckoo Cacomantis sonneratii being fed by a Common Iora Aegithina tiphia at Lorong Halus. Other residents spotted include an Oriental Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus torquatus tweeddale morph at Springleaf Park on 10 July 2018 by Veronica Foo, a Malaysian Plover Charadrius peronii on 29 July 2018 by Zacc, and a Great-billed Heron Ardea sumatrana on 30 July 2018 by Martin Kennewell, both at Seletar Dam.

Migratory species were also reported. Adrian Silas Tay reported a Chestnut-winged Cuckoo Clamator coromandus on the tiled floor of some Sembawang HDB flats on 17 July 2018, which is more than a month earlier than the known arrival dates – could  this individual be a true migrant or a released bird? Lesser Sand Plover Charadrius mongolus were seen on two days: 7 birds, some still in summer plumage, on 27 July 2018 and 31 birds on 29 July 2018, at Seletar Dam by Zacc. Two Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos were reported by David Li on 23 July 2018 at SBWR. All three represented the first arrivals for the season.

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Lesser Sand Plover at Seletar Dam photographed by Zacc HD on 27 July 2018.

Eastern Singapore

A Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinus was spotted at Pasir Ris Park (PRP) on 3 July 2018 by Marc Ng, while a Mangrove Pitta Pitta megarhyncha was seen on Pulau Ubin on 4 July 2018 by William Mahoney. A Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus spotted at Changi Coastal Road on 25 July 2018 by Mike Smth was suspected to be of the resident ernesti race.

Migratory species included a Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea, which was spotted at Changi Business Park on 1 and 3 July 2018 by T. Ramesh, who also saw an Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia on 8 July 2018 at Pasir Ris Farmway 3. Two Oriental Honey Buzzards were seen: one juvenile at East Coast Park on 15 July 2018 by Zhang Licong, and a sub-adult male was spotted at Tampines Eco Green on 22 July 2018 by Pary Sivaraman.  Two Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos were spotted by Lim Kim Seng on 30 July 2018 on Pulau Ubin, and constitute the first record for the season.

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Oriental Honey Buzzard at Tampines Eco-Green photographed by Pary Sivaraman on 22 July 2018.

Southern Singapore

Alan Owyong spotted a Pied Triller Lalage nigra nest with two chicks on 29 July 2018 at One-north Crescent; one of the chicks was killed by an Asian Koel Eudynamys scolopaceus that raided the nest, but the other chick survived. On 15 July 2018, at Gardens by the Bay, an active Malaysian Pied Fantail Rhipidura javanica nest with young chicks was discovered by Elena, and a Scaly-breasted Munia Lonchura punctulata was building a nest (Khoo Meilin). A pair of Straw-headed Bulbul was spotted at Telok Blangah Hill on 19 July 2018 by Alan Owyong. Four Black-naped Tern Sterna sumatrana were seen at Marina Barrage on 27 July 2018 by William Mahoney, while a juvenile Drongo Cuckoo was found dead on the pavement next to Citilink Warehouse on 30 July 2018 by See Toh Yew Wai.

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One of two Straw-headed Bulbul photographed by Alan Owyong at Telok Blangah Hill on 19 July 2018.

In terms of migratory species in the south, John Marriott saw a Pond Heron Ardeola sp. still in its indeterminate non-breeding/juvenile type plumage on Sentosa on 6 July 2018.

Two possible escapees were reported – a White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata was seen in a mixed flock of Javan and other munia at Telok Blangah Heights on 9 July 2018 by Dean Tan, while a Ruby-throated Bulbul Pycnonotus dispar was seen on 16 July 2018 at Kent Ridge Park by Alan Owyong.

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Western Singapore

A juvenile Little Bronze Cuckoo Chrysococcyx minutillus was being fed by a Common Iora Aegithina tiphia on 27 July 2018 at Jurong Central Park, reported Lee Kia Chong, while a Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus was seen on 8 July 2018 at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR) by Margaret Oorebeek.

Martin Kennewell spotted two firsts of the season – a Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica on 28 July 2018 at KM, and about four to five Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius on the same day at Kranji Golf Course; the birds were still in their summer plumage.

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Little Ringed Plover at Kranji Golf Course photographed by Martin Kennewell on 28 July 2018.

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 compiled by Geoff Lim and Alan OwYong, edited by Tan Gim Cheong 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 Amin, Shoshana Rapley, Keita Sin, Francis Yap, Adrian Silas Tay,  Zacc HD, Alan Owyong, and Martin Kennewell for the use of their photos. 

References:
Lambert, F. & Woodcock, M. (1996) Pittas, Broadbills & Asites. London: Pica Press.

Wells, D. R. (1999). The Birds of Thai-Malay Peninsula. Vol. 1. Non-passerines. London: Academic Press.

List of Bird Sightings in report:

Family Species Date
Ciconidae Lesser Adjutant 8-Jul
Ardeidae Pond Heron 6-Jul
Great-billed Heron 30-Jul
Intermediate Egret 8-Jul
Accipitridae Oriental Honey Buzzard 10-Jul
Oriental Honey Buzzard 15-Jul
Oriental Honey Buzzard 22-Jul
Rallidae Red-legged Crake 15-Jul
Charadriidae Little Ringed Plover 28-Jul
Malaysian Plover 29-Jul
Lesser Sand Plover 27-Jul
Lesser Sand Plover 29-Jul
Scolopacidae Common Sandpiper 30-Jul
Laridae Black-naped Tern 27-Jul
Cuculidae Chestnut-bellied Malkoha 13-Jul
Chestnut-winged Cuckoo 17-Jul
Violet Cuckoo 31-Jul
Little Bronze Cuckoo 27-Jul
Banded Bay Cuckoo 14-Jul
Plaintive Cuckoo 3-Jul
Drongo Cuckoo 1-Jul
Drongo Cuckoo 30-Jul
Apodidae Asian Palm Swift 24-Jul
Alcedinidae Blue-eared Kingfisher 2-Jul
Blue-eared Kingfisher 13-Jul
Blue-eared Kingfisher 15-Jul
Blue-eared Kingfisher 30-Jul
Blue-eared Kingfisher 31-Jul
Common Kingfisher 25-Jul
Megalaimidae Red-crowned Barbet 29-Jul
Falconidae Peregrine Falcon 25-Jul
Peregrine Falcon 28-Jul
Psittacidae Blue-rumped Parrot 22-Jul
Pittidae Blue-winged Pitta 4-Jul
Blue-winged Pitta 8-Jul
Mangrove Pitta 4-Jul
Monarchidae Blyth’s Paradise Flycatcher 5-Jul
Blyth’s Paradise Flycatcher 14-Jul
Hirundinidae Barn Swallow 28-Jul
Pycnonotidae Straw-headed Bulbul 19-Jul
Straw-headed Bulbul 11-Jul
Black-headed Bulbul 1-Jul
Ruby-throated Bulbul 16-Jul
Timaliidae Chestnut-winged Babbler 6-Jul
Estrididae White-rumped Munia 9-Jul
Motacillidae Grey Wagtail 1-Jul

Black-crowned Night Herons – Stages of Growth.

Black-crowned Night Herons – Stages of Growth by Seng Alvin.

Black-crowned Night Herons, Nycticorax nycticorax, as the name suggests are nocturnal birds. They rest in the day and hunt at dusk. As such they do not need bright plumages like other birds. Both sexes have the same grey and white plumage. None of the guidebooks and images in Oriental Bird Club have captioned the sexes and separate them.

I was lucky that a small colony of these herons took up residence at the mangroves at my backyard, Pasir Ris Park and nested. This allows me to photograph them at various stages of growth.

These are my observations and humble assumptions:

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Juvenile birds have dull grey-brown plumage on their heads, wings, and backs, with numerous pale spots. Their underparts are paler and streaked with brown. The juvenile birds have orange eyes and duller yellowish-green legs (above). However, the eyes will begin to change to red before it grows into sub-adult stage ( below)

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From the sub-adult stage onward, I noticed that there were differences in the color of the bills.

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This is a sub-adult based on the duller greys and whites. It has a black upper mandible and a pale yellow lower mandible. Could this be a feature of a female?

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This is another sub-adult but it has an all black bill. Could this be a male bird?

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I found the same difference in bill color for the adults too. This one has a bi-colored bill.

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And this adult has a totally black bill. Is this a male bird? My next project is to try to find out if and when do the color of the lower mandible change from greenish-yellow to black for both sexes or only the males.

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During the breeding season, only the male Night Heron’s legs turns from greenish-yellow to pinky-orange (above). Their bills are all black.  It this part of color change during breeding or a feature to separate the sexes?  Your views and comments are most welcome.

 

2017 Year in Review – Residents and Non-breeding Visitors.

2017 Year in Review- Part 3. Residents and Non-breeding Visitors.

We had several important breeding records for 2017 but the most significant was the first documented record of the successful nesting of the Red-legged Crakes Rallina fasciata at the Singapore Botanic Gardens on 3rd November by Mike Smith. Prior to this, all we had were sightings of juveniles being fed by their parents.

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Mike Smith’s timely photo of the hatching of the first Red-legged Crake chick at the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

The other notable breeding record was the sighting of a pair of Great-billed Herons Ardea sumatrana sitting on a nest inside a row of Mangroves at Pulau Ubin near Chek Java on 2nd January by Daniel Ong. This was our first breeding record from the north of Singapore. On 30th August, Chua Yen Kheng of Sungei Buloh proudly announced the sightings of a pair of chicks with the adult Black-backed Swamphens Porphyrio indicus at Kranji Marshes, a first since its opening and an indication of the success of the enhancement of the Marshes.

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Pair of Black-backed Swamphens with youngs at Kranji Marshes. Photo: Bari Mohamed and NParks.

A juvenile Barred Eagle Owl Bubo sumatranus was photographed at Pulau Ubin by Serin Subaraj on 18th September during an NParks survey. The adults were heard calling (Jonathan Tan of NParks). Breeding evidence of this rare owl at Ubin?

Serin Subaraj

Juvenile Barred Eagle Owl photographed by Serin Subaraj at Pulau Ubin.

The nesting of the introduced Monk Parakeets Myiopsitta monachus at Pasir Ris Park was however a little worrying as these aggressive parakeets may impact negatively on our native parrots. (Lim Kim Keang on 24th February)

Staying in Ubin, David Tan retrieved the carcass of a Black-and-Red Broadbill Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchos on 24 August, after it crashed into a building at the Outward Bound School there. This was our third record. A female Black Hornbill Anthracoceros malayanus was reported at Ubin on 21st September by Alan OwYong with another sighting by Martin Kennewell at Sentosa, sex unknown.

Black Hornbill Rob Arnold

The female Black Hornbill was one of the latest addition to the Checklist. Taken at Ubin by Rob Arnold.

The nationally threatened Mangrove Blue Flycatcher Cyornis rufigastra was heard calling at the eastern end of the island by Lim Kim Keang and Low Choon How on 1st September. Sharinder Singh also reported seeing one across Lorong Halus on 13th May. Another rare resident seen at Pulau Ubin was the Mangrove Whistler Pachycephala cinerea, once on 1st April by Lim Kim Keang and again on 16th September by James Tann. Mike Hooper reported seeing another at Marina East on 30th July. This is the only Whistler here.

James Tann MW

A rare photo of the Mangrove Whistler taken at P. Ubin by James Tann in September

The Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster was reported at the Pekan Quarry on 22nd March, 4th June and 26th December. The surprise find by Thio Hui Bing at the Singapore Quarry on the same day 26th December could mean that there could be two darters around?  Seetoh Yew Wai and friends reported a skittish Ruddy Kingfisher Halcyon coromanda at the southern mangrove area on 23rd September. Could this be our resident minor sub species extending its territory from Pulau Tekong? Rounding up at Ubin, a total of 68 Straw-headed Bulbuls Pycnonotus zeylanicus were recorded during a census on 4th June coordinated by Yong Ding Li. Pulau Ubin is the most important site for this globally threatened species.

SHB Ted Ng

Pulau Ubin is the most important site for this globally threatened species. Photo like this by Ted Ng will be difficult to get elsewhere.

Over at the resort island of Sentosa, Lim Kim Seng had our only record of the rare introduced Yellow-crested Cockatoo Cacatua sulphurea for the year on 30th September. He also reported a White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata there on 18th September. Two other records of the White-rumped Munias came from Chinese Gardens on 3rd Aug and Kent Ridge Park Forest Walk on 16th December. Their status and origin are not too clear as recent escapees cannot be fully ruled out.

Francis Yap had the only record of the rare Lesser Green Leafbird Chloropsis cyanopogon from our Central Forest for the year with a sighting at Jelutong Tower on 17th May.

Lesser Green Leafbird FYap

This is the only record and photo of the nationally threatened Lesser Green Leafbird taken by Francis Yap this year inside our Central Forest.

But the secretive King Quail Excalfactoria chinensis was more cooperative with multiple sightings from Kranji Marshes on 10th February, 5th November and Seletar end on 20th February all by Martin Kennewell.

The large Lesser Adjutants Leptoptilos javanicus had been making rounds over the Kranji Marshes and Sungei Buloh areas during the last quarter of the year. Again Martin Kennewell and Con Foley were there to record the sightings on 30th September, 8th October where four birds were seen, and 4th December.

The forest loving Blue-eared Kingfishers Alcedo meninting continued with their location expansion with records coming in from Hindhede, Bukit Batok and Dairy Farm Nature Parks between 15th May and 24th June. Good news for our nationally threatened kingfisher.

BEKF Gerals Chua

Gerals Chua’s photo of the spreading Blue-eared Kingfisher with its catch at Kranji Marshes.

This final part concludes the Bird Review for 2017. We want to thank all of you for your timely posts in the various facebook groups, e-forum and alerts. Let us look forward to another impressive year ahead with more lifers for all.

Compiled from the monthly Bird Reports for 2017 by Alan OwYong, edited by Tan Gim Cheong. Reference: Lim Kim Seng, The Avifauna of Singapore. Nature Society (Singapore) 2009. Many thanks to Mike Smith, Bari Mohamed/NParks, Serin Subaraj, Rob Arnold, James Tann, Ted Ng, Francis Yap and Gerals Chua for the use of their photos. 

Nesting of Long-tailed Parakeets in Singapore – A 11 weeks Monitoring Report

11 Weeks Monitoring of the nesting Long-Tailed Parakeets in Singapore – by Mike Smith

Introduction

The Long-tailed Parakeet Psittacula longicauda is a social bird found in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Sumatra, Borneo, Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore. It is globally near threatened.

In Singapore it a common parakeet, easily recognised by its long tail and loud screeching but have been photographed on numerous occasions but little was known of their nesting behaviour. This is the first full documentation of its successful nesting in Singapore.

A nest is spotted.

48rainbow_gum

I heard from a friend that Liu Zhongren had discovered a Long-tailed Parakeet nest. It was off the beaten track in Hort Park and I decided to take a look. In the 11 weeks, I had visited the area on 29 days and spent over 90 hours monitoring and observing its nesting behaviour. This has increased the knowledge base of how a male parakeet and at least four females raise a healthy fledgling.

Information from Liu Zhongren and a photo on the internet from ebird.org suggest that a male and female parakeet cleaned up a lineated barbet nest hole 6 metres from the ground in a Rainbow Gum tree (left) and took it over during the last week of April 2018. After the first week of May the male disappeared and females incubated the nest.

Nest monitoring starts

My first visit was on 8th May 2018.  I was lucky to see a female because as I soon discovered, when she sits on the eggs she rarely makes an appearance and never left the nest during my normal viewing hours of 10 am – 4 pm. It just poked her head out of the nest a few times for a few minutes and occasionally hung out upside down. Not a sound was heard; complete silence! No male parakeet was observed during the first month!

15wings

Parakeets like to hang around with me but they do it upside down. My photographs showed that more than one female was doing the incubation. My records show at least four over the 11 weeks! Communal breeding my “go to” expert explained! Apparently it’s not uncommon in the birding world.

40male_fern

On 25th May at 8.30 am a female hanging upside down outside the nest suddenly gave a soft screech and from that position flew rapidly from the nest to feed in the forest, 0.5 km away. A different female returned after 10 minutes. This was repeated 10 minutes later. Then nothing else happened so I left at 10 am.

Monitoring the nest was rather boring as there were long periods of inactivity and apart from park staff I was usually on my own under a harsh sun and humid conditions. However, I did get to practice trying to capture female parakeets in flight but opportunities were few and far between. Most of the action took place between 7 and 9 am and 5 to 7 pm. After landing at the nest the female parakeet would disappear inside within a couple of seconds.

14flight

The National Parks Board made both me and the mummy parakeet in the nest nervous when they started boring into the tree to check it was “safe”. The bird flew off in anger, I watched in frustration but all was all well 30 minutes later and the female returned.

Even more disturbing was a Lineated Barbet coming back to inspect its former nest hole. I feared there would be a turf war but I guess the parakeet signed a lease and stayed put.

A change in behaviour.

Initial flights I witnessed were only for a few minutes, I assumed this was because the eggs were being incubated. After feeding the female would rest and watch the nest from a tall trumpet tree some 50 metres away, for a few minutes before giving a small screech and heading into the nest.

20female_trumpet_tree

On 13th June I noticed a change in behaviour, the absence of the female was getting longer, up to an hour and a week later up to 3 hours. For the first time the male appeared on the trumpet tree and fed the female by regurgitating food. The female then flew to the nest and the male back to the forest. Clearly there were chick(s) deep in the nest hole. Flights increased in number with an extra flight during the 10 am – 4 pm period.

22feeding

Occasionally the male would feed the female on a different tree a few hundred metres away. The female sometimes went to a nearby rain tree to feed and sharpen her claws.

The Baby Appears!!

My first sight of a chick was not until 8th July. Even then it was impossible to get a good photo. I think I saw two dark, scrawny, ugly babies but the photo isn’t very clear but for sure only one hatched. My first clear sight of one chick, which had grown significantly and was now a colourful bird was on 17th July.

27baby2

Watching the nest was now much more interesting. The baby was growing fast and there were regular photo opportunities. The female stayed away from the nest for longer periods and would watch from the trumpet tree for up to an hour. The baby appeared at the hole entrance regularly.

8exit_nest

Another behavioural change – Females spend more time close to but not in the nest.

On 19th July the females spent time on the nest tree but not in the hole which was presumably now a tight fit for two birds.

29hang_baby

The Male Returns to the Nest Vicinity.

On 20th July at 9 am the male bird posed much closer to the nest on nearby trees. Suddenly the baby stretched its neck out of the hole and started screeching at the top of its voice, both the male and female flew near to it (the first time I had seen the male anywhere near the nest). The male fed the female before flying off, the female flew into the nest and fed the baby out of sight.

Fledgling.

At 8.00 am on July 21st the young baby stretched its neck out of the nest and at 8.10 am a female parakeet landed on top of the trumpet tree some 50 metres away. 30 minutes later with a loud screech the male joined the female but did not feed her. At 8.50 am the female flew to the nest.  At 8.55 there was a terrific amount of screeching from the male on the distant tree and the female at the nest. Without warning the female flew towards the male and the baby followed. The male took off and all three headed for the jungle.

31baby_head

The finale happened so quickly I only got a blurred picture of the male and female with the fledgling flying below them to Kent Ridge Park. I wondered if the chick would return to the nest but it did not and presumably is being looked after communally at Kent Ridge Park. The female did return to the nest and stayed in it overnight before flying off next morning. The male and female returned to the trumpet tree the next day (I speculate that they cleaned up the nest or were checking that the fledgling didn’t try and return) but not thereafter.

43fly-away

It was rather disappointing that the chick didn’t pose outside the nest or put or feed at the entrance (unless it did so in the dark) but at least it successfully left the nest aged at an estimated 7 weeks. From these observations I learned a significant amount about the nesting of the Long-tailed Parakeets.

Observations and My Conclusions:

Nest Prepared: Last week of April by male and female

Eggs Laid: Ist week of May after which the male left the nest area. Incubated by 4 females (male not involved)

Egg(s) Hatch: End of May (approx 3-3.5 weeks)

Feeding of Baby: Is done by females deep in the nest hole.

Baby: Chick does not appear regularly at nest entrance in daylight until it is 6 weeks old.

Fledge: I chick fledged on 21st July (approx 7 weeks old)

Male does not go inside nest once eggs have been laid

Male feeds in Kent Ridge Park and trees above Hort Park. Females feed on their own food plus get additional food from the male, by regurgitation, on a lookout tree away from the nest.

Brood Parasite: Golden-bellied Gerygones hosting a Little Bronze Cuckoo.

Brood Parasite: Golden-bellied Gerygones hosting a Little Bronze Cuckoo.

By Lee Kai Chong.

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The Golden-bellied Gerygone, the smallest bird in Singapore, has known to nest in urban parks here. I did not see the nesting but I spotted a pair feeding a juvenile Little Bronze Cuckoo on the 23 July 2018 at our HDB neighbourhood park at Jurong West. I find this interesting that this is taking place right in the busy heartland park.

Both foster parents took turns to feed the juvenile cuckoo. Their favourite tree was the Mango tree because of the many tiny insects present. They had to do many rounds of feeding as the insects were too puny for such a large bird, stopping only for 5-10 minutes for the cuckoo to digest the food. Feeding started at the first light and continued throughout the day. I last saw them feed on the 27 July.

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Many park goers were aware of the sound and sight of Little Bronze Cuckoo being fed by Golden-bellied Gerygone but don’t know what was going on. It may be because of their relatively small size, non stop movement during feeding under the canopy. When I showed them the photos, they were very surprised to see a such large young bird being fed by a smaller bird of a different species. I told them that this is ” Brood Parasite” an unusual breeding behaviour in our natural world. I am glad to show a bit of nature at our neighbourhood park to the residents there.

 

Singapore Bird Report – June 2018

Residents take centre stage while three species of straggling migrants continue to be reported. The key sightings for June are the arrival of the Austral migrant, the Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoo, escaping the southern winter, and a nigrescens subspecies of the Ashy Drongo.

1 HBC

A Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoo photographed by Carmen Hui at Satay by the Bay on 26 May 2018.

The most prominent Austral migrant to land on our shores in June is the Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoo Chrysococcyx basalis. The first sighting of the cuckoo making landfall in Singapore was made by Carmen Hui last month, on 26 May 2018 at 1:29pm at Satay by the Bay, after she saw Martin Kennewell’s post of an adult and juvenile on 2 June 2018 from Punggol, and realised that her catch, which was photographed, was not a Little Bronze Cuckoo. Carmen’s report had preceded Martin Kennewell’s observation that the cuckoo had appeared in Bali and Java on 27 May 2018.

Reports of the cuckoo continued to stream through social media from 6 June 2018 onwards, largely coming from around the Punggol Promenade Nature Park, with additional reports of up to five birds at Halus on 10 June 2018 and the cuckoos were last seen on 19 June 2018.

2 HBC

A Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoo, photographed at the Punggol Waterfront with its prey, showing a distinctive eyestripe and partly rufous-coloured outer tail feathers, which distinguishes it from the resident Little Bronze Cuckoo. Taken by Terence Tan on 6 June 2018.

While photographing the Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoo, several birdwatchers and photographers spotted an Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus nigriscens, the resident race of the species from Peninsular Malaysia and Southern Thailand, at Punggol on 6 June 2018.

3 AD

The Ashy Drongo nigriscens subspecies photographed at Punggol on 6 June 2018 by Tuck Loong.

In his blog post, Alan Owyong quoted Malaysian birder, Tou Jing Yi’s comments about the bird’s key distinguishing characteristics (from the Black Drongo) – “lack of white spot on base of bill, long forked tail, very slender base on tail, non-glossy plumage that is not jet black but somehow greyish, these were all signs of an Ashy Drongo, the resident subspecies for the region, primarily resides mangrove areas in Peninsular Malaysia.” As noted by Alan, the last record of a nigrescens was at West Coast Park on 17 January 2004 (SINAV 18.1). Hence, this sighting represents a new date for this non-breeding visitor to Singapore.

Asian Palm Swift at Bishan, Adrian Silas Tay

A family of Asian Palm Swifts at their nest at Bishan, by Adrian Silas Tay

Successful breeding was reported for a number of residents. Adrian Silas Tay reported the nesting of the Asian Palm Swift Cypsiurus balasiensis at Bishan, with the first chick fledging on 3 June 2018 and the second fledging on 5 Jun 2018. At Jurong Eco Garden (JEG) on 10 June 2018, Doreen Ang saw Oriental White-eye Zosterops palpebrosus juveniles accompanied by adults; she also noted an immature Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus flying around with an adult.

5 DC

A juvenile Drongo Cuckoo, wings partly drooped, begging its Pin-striped Tit-babbler foster parents to feed it. Photographed at Upper Peirce on 30 June 2018 by Francis Yap.

On 15 June 2018, Khoo Meilin reported a Malaysian Pied Fantail Rhipidura javanica nest containing two young chicks, at JEG. On 28 June 2018, Khoo Meilin photographed a pair of Collared Kingfishers Todiramphus chloris found feeding their fledged, but dependent, albino chick at East Coast Park. On 30 June 2018, Francis Yap photographed a juvenile Drongo Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris  being fed by a Pin-striped Tit-Babbler Macronous gularis  at Upper Peirce.

6 BWP

A Blue-winged Pitta photographed on Pulau Ubin on 24 June 2018 by Lim Kim Chuah.

June yielded two separate reports of the Blue-winged Pitta Pitta moluccensis, several were seen and heard on Pulau Ubin during the NParks-NSS Ubin Survey on 3 June 2018, while another was spotted by Tan Kok Hui at Kranji Marsh on 30 June 2018.

8 BO

Barn Owl at Punggol photographed on 8 June 2018 by Terence Tan.

Other notable sightings include 25 Tanimbar Corella Cacatua goffiniana were spotted roosting near an Esso station along Dunearn Road on 4 June 2018 by Richard Saunders, a Barn Owl Tyto alba was spotted along Punggol Promenade Nature Park on 9 June 2018 by a jogger who alerted birders looking for the Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoos along our north-eastern shore, a White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata at Lorong Halus by Lee Chin Pong on 23 June 2018, a House Swift Apus nipalensis at Changi Business Park on 26 June 2018 by  T. Ramesh, a Black-crowned Night-heron Nycticorax nycticorax at Singapore Botanic Gardens on 28 June 2018 by Mark Campbell, and two Abbott’s Babbler Malacocincla abbotti were spotted by birdwatchers at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve on 30 June 2018.

7 WRM

White-rumped Munia at Lorong Halus spotted on 23 June 2018 with some Scaly-breasted Munias by Lee Chin Pong.

Observers visiting the central catchment forest yielded a good number of residents. The  Sunda Scops Owl Otus lempiji was observed by Alan Owyong on 1 June 2018 at Hindhede (2 birds), and by Marcel Finlay at MacRitchie Park on 22 June 2018; two Thick-billed Pigeon Treron curvirostra by Kozi Ichiyama on 16 June at CCNR;  15 House Swift and 5 Plume-toed Swiftlet Collocalia affinis by Lim Kim Chuah on 22 June 2018 along the Rail Corridor near Hindhede. Also spotted were a Greater Coucal  Centropus sinensis by Tay Kian Guan on 24 June 2018 at Singapore Quarry; a Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting by Luke Milo Teo on 25 June 2018 at Windsor Park; a Red-crowned Barbet Megalaima rafflesii by Steven Cheong at Dairy Fairm Nature Park on 25 June 2018; and Cream-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus simplex from Jelutong Tower – one bird spotted by Deborah Friets on 26 June 2018, and two by Francis Yap on 27 June 2018. Also spotted from the tower were Black-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus atriceps, with one on 22 June 2018, and two on 27 June 2018, and four Blue-rumped Parrot Psittinus cyanurus on 27 June 2018 by Francis Yap.

9 BHB

A Black-headed Bulbul in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. Photographed on 22 June 2018 by Francis Yap.

In the meantime, a small number of overstaying northern migrants were reported. On 2 June 2018, Ruci Ong reported sighting an Asian Brown Flycatcher Muscicapa latirostris at Braddell Road. This represents a new late date by a full month from previous records. On 15 June 2018, a late staying White Wagtail Motacilla alba was spotted by T. Ramesh at Changi Business Park, while an Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia was seen by Fadzrun Adnan at Kranji Marsh on 24 June 2018.  

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 compiled by Geoff Lim and Alan OwYong, edited by Tan Gim Cheong, 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 Carmen Hui, Tuck Loong, Adrian Silas Tay, Francis Yap, Terence Tan,  Lee Chin Pong and Lim Kim Chuah for the the use of their photos. 

 List of Bird Sightings in report

Family Species Date
Ardeidae Black-crowned Night-heron 28-Jun
Intermediate Egret 24-Jun
Accipitridae Brahminy Kite 10-Jun
Columbidae Thick-billed Pigeon 16-Jun
Cuculidae Greater Coucal 24-Jun
Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoo 2-Jun
Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoo 6-Jun
Little Bronze Cuckoo 1-Jun
Banded Bay Cuckoo 22-Jun
Plantive Cuckoo 5-Jun
Drongo Cuckoo 30-Jun
Tytonidae Barn Owl 9-Jun
Strigidae Sunda Scops Owl 1-Jun
Sunda Scops Owl 22-Jun
Apodidae House Swift 22-Jun
House Swift 26-Jun
Plume-toed Swiftlet 22-Jun
Asian Palm Swift 3-Jun & 5-Jun
Alcedinidae Blue-eared Kingfisher 25-Jun
Megalaimidae Red-crowned Barbet 25-Jun
Cacatuidae Tanimbar Corella 4-Jun
Psittacidae Blue-rumped Parrot 27-Jun
Pittidae Blue-winged Pitta 3-Jun
Blue-winged Pitta 30-Jun
Rhipiduridae Malaysian Pied Fantail 15-Jun
Pycnonotidae Black-headed Bulbul 22-Jun
Black-headed Bulbul 27-Jun
Cream-vented Bulbul 26-Jun
Pellorneidae Abbott’s Babbler 30-Jun
Zosteropidae Oriental White-eye 10-Jun
Muscicapidae

 

Asian Brown Flycatcher 2-Jun
Motacillidae White Wagtail 15-Jun
Estrildidae White-rumped Munia 23-Jun

 

Feeding “Fluffy” the Juvenile Albino Collared Kingfisher.

Feeding “Fluffy” the Juvenile Albino Collared Kingfisher.

The rare juvenile albino Collared Kingfisher Todirhamphus chloris, at the East Coast Park was affectionately nicknamed “Fluffy” by Tuck Loong for its all white fluffed up plumage. It had become the darling and center of attention of the birding community here since its discovery by a group of otter watchers on 28 June. There were some drama early this month too. Micky Lim recounted how an overprotective lady wanted to keep the distressed kingfisher and how ACRES were called in to “rescue” it from the waters of the canal.

Lim Swee Kin 30.6

Praying Mantis “praying” for its life. An excellent moment capture by Lim Swee Kin.

With so many “food-in-mouth” photos on social media, Art Toh saw a great opportunity to compile and study the different types of prey that the parents brought back to feed the chick. Clarinda Yap’s all action BIF with FIM ( beetle larvae) cover photo summed up this story best. Many of the love, bonding and tender moments between the parents and their fledgling were captured in the photographs.  This study is a great example of citizen science at work, sharing collective knowledge of our avian world.

Michael Thura 2 .7

This Sun Skink made a fulfilling meal for “Fluffy”. Photo: Michael Thura

Both the parents were resourceful hunters. It seemed that everything is on the menu. They brought back no less than a dozen different types of food for the fledgling. Some were a little surprising like the swimmer crab and a centipede. Others were weird looking insects, larvae and beetles. There were photos of a long thin “snake’, caterpillars, dragonflies, a skink and a few praying mantises. Many cannot be identified.

James Gan 4 .7

A nice juicy beetle caught floating in mid air by James Gan. Despite all the colorful diet this juvenile was not able to produce any color in its plumage.

Normal fledglings should be able to forage on its own by now. But due to its poor eyesight and weak flight, it was not able to do so. The parents had to do all the hunting. We don’t know when or if “Fluffy” will be able to survive on its own. Just hope that the parents will not abandon it and continue with the feeding until it is able to fend for itself.

Tony Chua 2.7.1

A tender moment of the parent bringing back a caterpillar for “Fluffy” captured by Tony Chua. 

All these photos tell a story but more importantly they expanded our knowledge of the diet of the Collared Kingfisher chick. Unfortunately we were not able to feature all the food here but we hope you can add it your photos of the food not covered here in the comments.

Terence Tan 28 .6

An early photos taken by Terence Tan on 28 June showing “Fluffy” with what looks like a grasshopper.

Kelvin Ng 5.7

Its favourite seemed to be the Praying Mantis. Kelvin Ng’s well taken shot with the parent proudly showing off its catch.

Darren Leow 1.7

The parent tossing up a half eaten Blue Swimmer Crab was dramatically captured by Darren Leow at the perfect moment.

Tan Chee Huat 3.7

Tan Chee Huat’s clear and open shot of the parent with what looks like a centipede, a stable prey for the  Long-tailed Shrike chicks.

Khong Yew 12.7

The love of the parent scarifying a juicy beetle larvae for its chick well captured in this photo by Khong Yew

Dave Koh 30.6.1

“Fluffy” stretching out to pick up a cicada from its parent. Photo by Dave Koh.

Many thanks to Clarinda Yap, Lim Swee Kin, Michael Thura, James Gan, Tony Chua, Terence Tan, Kelvin Ng, Darren Leow, Tan Chee Huat, Dave Koh and Khong Yew for the use of their photographs.

Thanks also to Lena Chow for helping to identify some of the insects and prey and Art Toh for his suggestion to document this.  Please leave a comment if you know any of the unidentified food that were brought in.

Complied by Alan OwYong and edited by Tan Gim Cheong.