Contributed by Frankie Cheong. 4th June 2015.
Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoo taken at Pulau Tekong on 30th May 2008.
One of the perks of my job is access to the restricted birding haven of Pulau Tekong. This and Pulau Ubin in the north of Singapore is the home of many of our rare resident species not found on the mainland, like the Black-naped Monach and occasional rare migrants.
On the 30th May 2008, at the reclaimed land of the island facing Changi, I came across small cuckoo perched low among the scrubs. It had the appearance of a Little Bronze Cuckoo. I manage to get a photo or two.
Then about a month later on the 24th and 25th of June, I came across another very similar cuckoo around the same vicinity. This time I had the side views and partial frontal shots. But it did not look to be the same as the May bird.
Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoo. 24th and 25th June 2008.
The identification came from NPSS members after I posted the photos there. I also received a confirmation from Lim Kim Seng who used of it in his article. It was the rare migrant from Australia, the Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoo, that many birders and photographers were looking for.
The May photo showed the dark eye strip and a tinge of rufous on the outer tail, while the June birds has the dark forehead, striped throat and incomplete underpart barrings, all features of the Horsfield’s. I was happy to reconnect with this cuckoo few days ago at Punggol Barat where a few of them were “wintering’ there.