Monthly Archives: January 2016

Seven New Species added to the 2013 Checklist.

The following seven new species were accepted into Category A by the Records Committee in 2015. They were added to the 2013 Checklist (385) making the total of 392 species for the 2015 Checklist. Many thanks to all who sent in their records for review.

Indian Pond Heron at Bida

Indian Pond Heron at Bidadari

  1. Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii: Joseph Tan shot this heron at Bidadari on the 11th April 2015 and did not think too much of this heron. Six days later, Er Bong Siong shot and posted it on his facebook and identified it as a Javan Pond Heron. Francis saw the post and immediately alerted everyone that an Indian Pond Heron was at Bidadari. He and others went the next day and found it at the open grass patch. This confirms an earlier record of another summer bird seen at Senoko on 20 Mar 1994 by Lim Kim Chuah and Lim Kim Seng which now constitutes the first record for Singapore. This record had been listed in Category D for wild species where possibility of escape or release cannot be excluded. (Link1)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk Jv. by Martii Simponen

Eurasian Sparrowhawk Jv. by Martii Simponen taken at Tuas.

2. Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus: an immature seen and photographed at Tuas on 14 Nov 2010 by Martti Siponen. He did not know that it was an Eurasian Sparrowhawk at the time until some friends of his saw it in his collection a few years later. We had several reports of this accipiter but the evidence presented was not sufficient for confirmation. An unconfirmed report of a female at MacRitchie Reservoir on 23 Jan 2001 had been listed  in Category F for species regarded as doubtful due to possible of mis-identification.

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Oriental Darter taken at Bukit Combak

3. Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster: One seen at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve on 26 June 2006 by Graham Langley. There were also two subsequent records that were accepted, from Bukit Gombak, in August 2014 from Jean-Marc Chavatte, Lee Tiah Khee and Alan Owyong, and Pulau Ubin in July 2015 from Francis Yap. These are the second and third records for Singapore.

Northern Boobook LCH

Northern Boobook at Tuas South. Photo by Low Choon How.

4. Northern Boobook Ninox japonica: a specimen in the LKC Museum mislabeled as Ninox scutulata and collected in Singapore in Nov 2000 is the first record for Singapore (Sadanandan et al 2015). There were five subsequent records in Oct 2013, Mar 2014, Nov 2014 and Nov 2015 (2 records) that are accepted as the 2nd to 6th records for Singapore. Alan Owyong, David Li and Low Choon How were the observers but it was Alison Wilson’s 23 March 2014 dead specimen’s DNA confirmation that put this difficult species on the Singapore List.

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Narcisus Flycatcher, female, taken at Bidadari. Photo by Hio John.

5. Narcissus Flycatcher Ficedula narcissina: a female reported at Bidadari Cemetery on 2 Dec 2015 by Robin Tan, Alan Ng, Hio John and See Toh Yiew Wai.(Link5)

Scarlet Breasted Flowerpecker by Jimmy Tan

Scarlet-breasted Flowerpecker taken in Panti. Photo by Jimmy Tan

6. Scarlet-breasted Flowerpecker Prionochilus thoracicus: 1 seen on Pulau Ubin by Yong Yik Shih, Ng Chay Tuan and Elizabeth Rothwell.

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Richard’s Pipit taken outside Singapore by Michelle and Peter Wong.

7. Richard’s Pipit Anthus richardi : One seen at Khatib on 19 Oct 2015 by Angus Lamont.

Reference: Lim Kim Seng. The Avifauna of Singapore 2009. Craig Robson. A Field Guide to the Birds of Thailand and South-East Asia. Asia Books Ltd 2000. Text copied from Lim Kim Seng’s Records Committee Report 2015.  Many thanks to Martii Siponen, Low Choon How, Hoi John, Jimmy Tan and Michelle and Peter Wong for the use of their photos.

 

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Asian Waterbirds Census 2016

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Group photo of some of the volunteers from NSS, NParks and the public  at Sungei Buloh Wetand Reserve at the start of the 2016 Asian Waterbird Census, which is celebrating its 30th year and the IWC  its 50th year.  Photo: Lim Kim Keang.

The Bird Group kicked off the year with the Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) on 23 January 2016. This year is also the 50th anniversary of International Waterbird Census and the  30th anniversary for the Asian Waterbird Census. Eleven teams fanned across the island to coastal, wetland and marshy sites to count all the waterbirds there including kingfishers and raptors that depend on these habitats for food, shelter and nesting sites.

The members of the then Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch) held the first AWC in 1990 by joining regional bird organisations in the count coordinated by the International Wetland Bureau. Today this annual event coordinated Nature Society (Singapore) Bird Group in Singapore  is still going strong under Wetlands International after more than 25 years. Such censuses will help to monitor the trend of  migrating shorebirds and resident waterfowls all over Asia and provide an invaluable tool in alerting conservation organisations and agencies to take necessary actions of declining trends of a particular species or site.

Mandai Mudflats and Waders LKK 2016

Mandai Mudflats at low tide looking towards the Causeway. Whimbrel flock one of the shorebird species that feeds here. Photo Lim Kim Keang.

The sites covered by the teams were Lower Seletar Dam,  Mandai  Mudflats, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserves (Route 1 and 2), Kranji Marshes, Kranji Dam, Pulau Ubin (Central and Chek Jawa), Lorong Halus, Pasir Ris and Khatib Bongsu.

It turned out to be a wet afternoon for many of the participants especially those sites  in the NW of Singapore and some of the counters had time-outs to wait out the heavy showers and strong wind. But overall, the shorebirds were not affected and continued to be active at the major feeding grounds.

Chek Java WF

Chek Java at low tide, looking towards Johor. Photo: Willie Foo.

The Mandai Mudflats as with previous census recorded the highest count of 1,619 shorebirds from 11 species with the Lesser Sand Plovers being the most numerous at 630 birds.  There were good counts of Common Redshanks (280), Pacific Golden Plovers (330) and Common Whimbrel (240) and Common Greenshanks (93). Other notable species were Rufous-necked Stints (15), Marsh Sandpipers (2) and Curlew Sandpipers (2). Both  Marsh and Curlew Sandpipers are rarely seen in Singapore in recent years. The latter is in sharp decline globally and need concerted effort to find the right solutions to arrest the trend.

AWC Mandai 2016

David Li (with cap) from Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserves with Lim Kim Keang, main co-ordinator for the AWC 2016 at Mandai Mudflats. Photo: SBWR

Over at Sungei Buloh it was egrets galore, all three migratory species were counted with the Little Egrets as expected topping at 75 birds. A single wintering Terek Sandpiper and  Grey-tailed Tattler were also picked out. Many of the migrating waterbirds were at the Mandai Mudflats as the favourable low tides provided extensive exposed mudflats for feeding.

Khatib Bonsu HHC

From left Jacky Soh, Jimmy Lee and Angus Lamont at the bund at Khatib Bonsu  helping with the count there. A pair of Red-wattled Lapwings appeared be nesting nearby.  Photo Ho Hua Chew.

Over at Chek Java, a flock of Great Crested Terns numbering 120 were counted. Other species of note were 26 Grey Plovers, 4 Bar-tailed Godwits and 2 Great-billed Herons.

Five species of Kingfishers including the rare Black-capped were recorded at Kranji Marshes. The resident Red-wattled Lapwings seem to have taken to the newly created mud banks there. A high count of 16 were recorded. Unfortunately there were no signs of the Black-backed Swamphens. We hope they will make a comeback soon.

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Marcel Finley counting herons at Pekan Quarry at Pulau Ubin. A total of 31 Grey Herons were counted here. Photo Willie Foo.

At Lorong Halus ponds, the Little Grebe was a no show but there were 9 Pond Herons in their non breeding plumage. There were 40 Grey Herons and at least 31 active nests at Pasir Ris Park although counts of other waterbirds were as usual quite low.

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One of the tidal ponds at Khatib Bonsu, a restricted area. Three Stork-billed Kingfishers and a Grey-headed Fish Eagle sighted. They need such ponds for survival. Photo Ho Hua Chew.

On behalf of Wetlands International  the Nature Society (Singapore)  wishes to thank  all the site leaders, NSS members , staff of Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserves and volunteers  for helping out with this IWC 50 census. A full report will be published once all the data have been collated.

Report compiled from selected results from various site leaders with editorial help from Lim Kim Keang. Many thanks to Lim Kim Keang, Ho Hua Chew, Willie Foo and SBWR for the use of the photos. 

 

House Sparrow

ET Sparrow at SBTB LKC

Eurasian Tree Sparrow at Satay by the Bay 16 Jan 2016. Photo: Lim Kim Chuah

Contributed by Lim Kim Chuah.

Most of us must be familiar with the ubiquitous Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus. These little brown birds are often seen picking scraps of food and leftovers in our hawker centers and neighbourhood coffee shops. Not known to many though, is the existence of a second species of sparrow in Singapore, the similar looking House Sparrow Passer domesticus.

Unlike the Eurasian Tree Sparrow, House Sparrow is sexually dimorphic.  The male House Sparrow wears a grey cap , not a chestnut cap as that in the Eurasian Tree Sparrow. It also has a large diffused black bib extending to the breast area and lacks the black ear coverts (patches) found in Eurasian Tree Sparrow. The female House Sparrow is mostly pale brown with a buffy supercilium and underparts.

House Sparrow Male

House Sparrow Male taken at Pasir Panjang Warehouse on 30 March 2012

The first sighting of the House Sparrow in Singapore was reported at Jalan Kukoh off Chin Swee Road in 1995 (Terence Tan in litt 1995). Subsequently, a small population of up to 20 individuals was found breeding at the Pasir Panjang Wholesale Market in September 1997 by Dave Thompson, a visiting birder. He told Kenneth Kee of the find when they met at Sungei Buloh. How this flock of House Sparrow arrived here is a mystery. Some theorised that these House Sparrows might have been stowaways on board vessels calling on our ports. The wholesale center with its abundance of spilled grains and food would have been an ideal location for this species to colonise and eventually build a stronghold. However this population never grew large and it in fact declined over the years. Despite intense efforts to find the species here by Big Year birders in 2014, none were found.

House Sparrow Thailand LKC

House Sparrow taken in Thailand Jan 2015. Photo: Lim Kim Chuah

A second population of the House Sparrow has since been found in Singapore. I chanced upon one male on Jurong Island in 2002 not far from the island’s food court, Oasis. It’s puzzling why this species decided to inhabit in an island that is home to Singapore’s massive chemical and petrochemical industries although it may be possible that it faces less competition here from the Eurasian Tree Sparrow. In 2008, I was surprised to find birds nesting in eaves of the security guard house in another part of Jurong Island. Further surveys found more nests in eaves of warehouses and also in open spaces under the metal staircases outside buildings. I did a quick survey last year and estimated that there were probably not more than 12 pairs of nesting birds here.

Are there other populations of the House Sparrow in other parts of Singapore? Hope some of you reading this post will help find the answer.

References:

Lim, K.S. (2009). The Avifauna of Singapore. Nature Society (Singapore), Singapore.

Yong D.L., Lim, K.C. & Lee T.K. (2013). Birds of Singapore, John Beaufoy

The 2016 Bird Group Committee.

 

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The first meeting of the 2016 Bird Group Committee on 20 Jan 2016. From left clockwise: Lim Kim Chuah, Alfred Chia, Gerard Francis, Sutari Supari, Lim Kim Seng, Tan Gim Choeng, Lee Ee Ling, Wing Chong and Willie Foo. Absent: Yong Ding Li and Wong Chung Cheong,

The Bird Group is glad to announce the office bearers of the 2016 Committee to be headed by Lim Kim Chuah as the new Chairman. Former Chair, Wing Chong is stepping down after three successful years. This is in accordance with the constitution of the Nature Society (Singapore). Wing Chong will assume the role of Vice-chairman to continue to support and guide the group. Three long time stewards Lim Kim Keang, Ho Hua Chew and Alan OwYong have also opted to step down from the committee. However they will continue to interact and liaise with government authorities and agencies on behalf of the group. Most of the current committee members will stay on with more defined roles to better share the many activities and programs that have been or are being planned.

The 2016 Office Bearers are:

  1. Chairman                         Lim Kim Chuah
  2. Vice-chairman                Wing Chong
  3. Secretary/Regional Rep. Willie Foo
  4. Program Officer              Lee Ee Ling
  5. Adviser                             Alfred Chia
  6. Member (RC Chair)         Lim Kim Seng
  7. Member (Scientific)        Yong Ding Li
  8. Member (Raptor Group) Tan Gim Cheong.
  9. Member (Social)              Sutari Supari
  10. Member (Outreach)        Wong Chung Cheong.

The Chairman and the Bird Group wish to thank Tan Ju Lin and Ali Jaffar for their invaluable contribution and past services to the group. The group look forward to their continued support outside the committee.

“The Bird Group understands that the local birding scene is changing and continues to morph. There has been an exponential increase in the number of bird photographers and the extensive use of the social media. The Bird Group will continue to use the social media to engage this group of bird photographers and members of the public by providing help in identification, sharing of interesting sightings, information and articles.”

The Bird Group 2016 Agenda

Mount Imbiah Bird Trip 15 June 2014 for Sentosa Development Corporation.

Mount Imbiah Bird Trip 15 June 2014 for Sentosa Development Corporation, one of the many collaborations with SDC.

At the first committee meeting on 20 January 2016, the Chairman pledged to continue with the good work of the past committees.  The Bird Group will continue with the bi-monthly birding trips around Singapore and occasional talks. Trips to new sites like the Kranji Marshes will be organized. And pelagic trips around our coast will also be explored. The committee will also look at organising trips overseas to some of the popular regional destinations.

A key activity in the Bird Group calendar are the surveys and censuses. These censuses are important as they provide valuable data on the state of the bird density and diversity around Singapore. In the coming months, the group will be involved in the Annual, Mid Year and Fall Migration Bird Censuses. In addition, the group is also helping various government bodies like National Parks Board on surveys and censuses. There are also more “focussed” census like the Raptors and Parrot Counts. To better equip participants with the skills required, the group will be looking at conducting short birding courses and census techniques. The group will also bring back the popular basic birding courses.

A key focus area for group in the coming years is reaching out to the youth and kids. The Bird Group will collaborate closely with other groups within the society to explore how to further engage this group of the population.

The Bird Group understands that the local birding scene is changing and continues to morph. There has been an exponential increase in the number of bird photographers and the extensive use of the social media. The Bird Group will continue to use the social media to engage this group of bird photographers and members of the public by providing help in identification, sharing of interesting sightings, information and articles. Alan OwYong has kindly agreed to continue to take on the heavy responsibility of helming the various Facebook pages, blog ( The Bird Group had to thank to Francis Yap for setting these up) and Apps.  The Chairman would like to thank Alan for his support and contributions. In addition, the Bird Group will also look into reviving the publication – the IORA. This annual publication will continue to document all interesting bird sightings and reports. It has been and will continue to be invaluable to scientists, researchers and anyone who is interested to know more about the avifauna of Singapore.

In the regional and international scene, the Bird Group through the Society plans to continue to stay engaged with other like-minded organizations in the area of nature conservation and appreciation. As a local partner through the Society, the Bird Group will continue to participate and support international events organised by Birdlife International who has opened a regional office in Singapore. The Bird Group sees this as part of our contribution to the worldwide conservation movement.

Finally the Bird Group would like to say a BIG THANK-YOU to everyone who has supported the group all these years. The group look forward to your continued support.

Happy Birding!

Which Duck is this?

Hybrid Duck Lawrence Cher

Recent photo of a Whistling Duck at the Gardens by the Bay. Lawrence Cher.

A few days ago Lawrence Cher sent me this photo of a whistling duck taken at the Gardens by the Bay. He asked me which duck is this? I think he was confused by the more than usual white streaks at the flanks and a slightly darker cap. So was I.  But it had more features of a Lesser Whistling Duck Dendrocygna javanica, an uncommon resident. The chestnut upper-tail coverts and the yellow eye ring are features of a Lesser Whistling Duck.

Laurence Eu Duck Family

Family photo of different whistling ducks fostering five ducklings. Photo Laurence Eu. 

Yesterday I received a couple of photos of a family of whistling ducks from Laurence Eu, He took them at the Singapore Botanic Gardens Eco Lake on 20 June 2012 . What was interesting about the family were the parents. One was a Wandering Whistling Duck Dendrocygna acruata and the other a Lesser Whistling Duck. This is the first time I have come across this though we cannot be surprised by it. Does this means that we have a hybrid whistling duck in Singapore? We already have hybrid Jungle Fowls running around. Coming back to Lawrence Cher’s photo, is that one of the hybrid off springs with more white flank streaks and a slightly darker cap? What do you think? May be we will need to do a DNA test to confirm.

Whistling ducks by Laurance

Photo of a mixed flock of whistling ducks by the Eco Lake, three months after the first shot. Laurence Eu 18 Sept 2012. 

Reference : A field Guide to the Waterbirds of Asia. Wild Bird Society of Japan 1993. Thanks to Laurence Eu and Lawrence Cher for sharing their photos and sightings with the Bird Group.

Singapore Bird Report-December 2015

 

Narcissus FC Robin Tan

Narcissus Flycatcher Female, a national first from Bidadari. Photo: Robin Tan.

Our soon to be developed former Muslim Cemetery at Bidadari was the place to be in for the Singapore birder in December. It seemed that both migratory birds, especially flycatchers and the residents decided to pay their final homage to the place! We got a national first there on the 2nd Dec when Robin Tan, Hio John and Alan Ng photographed a female Narcissus Flycatcher (Ficedula narcissina) (Link). Lawrence Cher photographed a blue-hued flycatcher which was initially identified as a Blue-and-white flycatcher. Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be a male of the very rare Chinese Blue Flycatcher, (Cyornis glaucicomans), which would be our second national record if accepted by the RC. On the 23rd December, Lim Kim Keang and Low Choon How found and photographed a Savanna Nightjar, (Caprimulgus affinis) and two Red-wattled Lapwings, (Vanellus indicus) at Bidadari. Both were new additions to Bidadari’s rapidly increasing checklist, bringing its total species count to 157 species. A Grey Nightjar (Caprimulgus indicus) was seen wintering there on 9th Dec by Vincent Ng. It stayed long enough for Noah Strycker to see it on the 27th Dec during his Global Big Year stop here. (Link). The Hooded Pitta (Pitta sordida), returned on the 9th Dec (Alan Ng). See Toh Yew Wai photographed a rare Green-backed Flycatcher, Ficedula elisae, on the 20th December while Leslie Fung added the rare Japanese Paradise Flycatcher(Terpsiphone atrocaudata)on the 22ndDec.  Danny Lau and Tan Kok Hui reported a confiding Malayan Night Heron (Gorsachius melanolophus) on the 26th. Another wetland species, the Cinnamon Bittern (Ixobrychus cinnamomeus) was recorded here on 23rd Dec by Lawrence Cher. One new national record, the second confirmed record of another species, two new locality records and the presence of several rare flycatchers and winter visitors shows just how important Bidadari is as a stopover site for migratory landbirds in the country.

Chinese Blue FC LCher

Chinese Blue Flycatcher, our second record also from Bidadari. Photo: Lawence Cher. .  

The other exciting find of the month was the elusive Barred Eagle Owl (Bubo sumatranus), which was discovered at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve by Kennie Pan on the 8th Dec. We have had sporadic reports of sightings of this large owl at CCNR, Pulau Ubin and BTNR in the past years. But this time it stayed long enough for a few photographers to get our excellent daytime shots of this owl here. A day before the year ends, Lim Kim Seng was surprised to find not one but three female Cotton Pygmy Goose (Nettapus coromandelianus) swimming at one end of the MacRitchie Reservoir. Noting how much this species has declined since the 1980s, it was great to see these ducks making a comeback. Dirk Tomsa reported a Large Hawk- Cuckoo (Hierococcyx sparveriodes) at Coney Island on the 13th Dec. This could be the first record of this rare cuckoo on the island. On the same day Lim Kim Chuah reported a total of three White Wagtails (Motacilla alba) at the Kranji Sanctuary Golf Course. Not to be outdone, Vincent Lao photographed another three White Wagtails at the Bishan Canal on 20th. One of them turned out to be an individual of the distinctive subspecies lugens. Except for a lone record of a black-backed spring adult reported in March 1993 (Wells 2007), this possibly constitute the second record for Singapore and the region. M. a. lugens is also known as a vagrant to the Philippines. We have to thank Alfred Chia for noticing this and getting expert confirmation quickly. (Link ).

Blue Rock Thrush

Blue Rock Thrush at the Pinnacle @ Duxton. Photo: Con Foley.

A Blue Rock Thrush (Monticola solitarius), this time a neat-looking male bird was seen again at the Pinnacle @ Duxton on 20th Dec (Vinchel Budihardjo and later by Lawrence Cher). This obliging individual stayed long enough for many others to see it and proved to be a lifer for many. A resident of Toa Payoh photographed a Malayan Night Heron, Gorsachius melanolophus, wandering around the open field there on the 18th Dec (reported by David Tan). This migratory heron is usually a very shy bird, like the one reported at Tuas on the 18th Dec by Francis Yap, so this individual may have been disorientated after a crash. Millie Cher photographed the confiding Black-browed Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus bistrigiceps) at Jurong Eco Gardens on the 26th, a new addition for the gardens.

Red-billed Starling Seng Alvin

Red-billed Starling at Tampines Eco Green Canal. Photo: Seng Alvin

Seng Alvin posted a photo of a starling foraging with a group of mynas at the canal at Tampines Eco Green. It was identified as a Red-billed Starling Sturnus sericeus. The most southernly part of its wintering range is in northern Vietnam although there has been odd records in peninsular Thailand. The Records Committee will soon be evaluating its status. One of the few notable records of resident forest species for the month was a male Blue-winged Leafbird, Chloropsis cochinchinensis, photographed by Chan Kum Chun at Sentosa. Our only previous records of this species on Sentosa were in 1990 and 2007 at the remnant forest patches at Mount Serapong. Good to know that it was still around.

From the numerous reports, it appears that there was an influx of the winter- visiting Watercock, Gallicrex cinerea. The first was a dead bird found at Mountbatten on the 7th Dec and reported by Robert Zhao, followed by one on the 9th by Sandra Chia and another at Turut Track on the 13th Dec by Lim Kim Chuah. A Black Bittern (Ixobrychus flavicollis) was a first for Jurong Eco Garden thanks to Andrew Tan’s record on 20th Dec. As many as eight Long-toed Stints (Calidris subminuta) were seen at the Kranji Golf Course on the 19th Dec by Lim Kim Keang. The stints were first reported by Lim Kim Seng on 8th Dec when he reported seeing one stint. Due to the rapid disappearance of freshwater wetlands, the records of Long-toed Stint had declined over the years. Other interesting waterbirds include a Grey-tailed Tattler, Tringa brevipes was observed and photographed by Ann Ang at SBWR on the 26th  Dec.

Jedon's Baza at TEG Seng Alvin

Jerdon’s Baza at Tampines Eco Green. Photo: Seng Alvin.

Over at Punggol Barat, Lawrence Cher photographed six Black-tailed Godwits (Limosa limosa) flying over. Punggol Barat continues to deliver its open country specialties in spite of the disturbance caused by clearance works. Three White-shouldered Starlings (Sturnus sinensis) were photographed here by See Toh Yew Wai on 25th Dec and a Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica, was photographed in flight over Seletar North Link by KC Ling on the 27th Dec. Solomon Anthony was the first to record Black Kite, Milvus migrans, this season when he photographed one at SBWR on 18th Dec. Another individual was photographed by Lawrence Cher at Punggol Barat on the 29th Dec.  Other interesting raptor records for the month include a Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo) at Tuas on the 8thDec by Muller Lugman, Jerdon’s Baza, Aviceda jerdoni, at Tampines Eco Green on the 19th Dec by Seng Alvin and a juvenile Rufous-bellied Eagle, (Lophotriorchis kienerii) over at Dairy Farm on the 22nd Dec by Lim Kim Keang. The year ended with a Greater Spotted Eagle (Clanga clanga), over at Pasir Ris Camp at Lorong Halus. Serin Subaraj got his lifer during his BMT there on the 31st December.

Abbreviations

BTNR = Bukit Timah Nature Reserve             RC = Records Committee.

CCNR = Central Catchment Nature Reserve

SBWR = Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

References: The Avifauna of Singapore. Lim Kim Seng, 2009. A Field Guide to the Birds of Thailand and South-east Asia. Craig Robson. 2000. A Naturalist Guide to the Birds of Singapore. Yong Ding Li, Lim Kim Chuah and Lee Tiah Khee. 2013.

This report is compiled by Alan OwYong from the postings in various facebook birding pages, bird forums and individual reports. Some were not verified. We wish to thank all the  contributors for their records. Many thanks to RobinTan, Con Foley, Lawrence Cher and Seng Alvin for the use of your excellent photos and Yong Ding Li for editing this report.

Records Committee Report 2015-Change of Status

Javan Pond Heron at Farmway 3

Javan Pond Heron. From rare to uncommon based on past surveys, censuses and reports.

The final part of the report is on the changes to the status and abundance of the species listed in the Checklist. This periodic review tracks the ever changing bird life in Singapore with data from bird surveys, censuses, counts, field records and observations.

Changes in Status and Abundance

The following species were considered to have changed in status and abundance and are listed below:

1 Garganey Anas querquedula R/WV
2 Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus U/RB WV
3 Javan Pond Heron Ardeola speciosa U/WV
4 Grey Heron Ardea cinerea U/RB
5 Great-billed Heron Ardea sumatrana U/RB
6 Crested Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus C/PM WV NBV
7 Jerdon’s Baza Aviceda jerdoni U/WV
8 Booted Eagle Hieraeetus pennatus U/WV
9 Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus U/RB
10 Chinese Sparrowhawk Accipiter soloensis U/PM WV
11 Black Kite Milvus migrans R/WV
12 Grey-headed Fish Eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus U/RB
13 Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius U/WV PM
14 Asian Dowitcher Limnodromus semipalmatus U/WV PM
15 Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata R/WV PM
16 Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola U/WV PM
17 Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus U/WV PM
18 Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea U/WV PM
19 Aleutian Tern Onychoprion aleuticus U/PM
20 Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida U/WV PM
21 Pied Imperial Pigeon Ducula bicolor U/IR(B) NBV
22 Hodgson’s Hawk-Cuckoo Hierococcyx nisicolor U/WV
23 Indian Cuckoo Cuculus micropterus U/WV PM
24 Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupu U/RB
25 Spotted Wood Owl Strix seloputo U/RB
26 Grey Nightjar Caprimulgus jotaka U/WV PM
27 Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos U/RB
28 Lanceolated Warbler Locustella lanceolata U/WV PM
29 Asian Fairy-bluebird Irena puella U/RB
30 Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher Cyornis brunneatus U/WV PM
31 Red Avadavat Amandava amandava U/IRB
32 White Wagtail Motacilla alba U/WV

Acknowledgements:

Firstly, I would like to acknowledge the contribution of the members of the Records Committee. They are Alfred Chia, Kenneth Kee, Lim Kim Chuah, Lim Kim Keang, Lim Kim Seng, Alan Owyong, Frank Rheindt, Tan Gim Cheong and Yong Ding Li.

Next are the observers who have submitted records for review and they must be applauded for helping to document Singapore’s wild birds: Doreen Ang, Howard Banwell, Jean-Marc Chavatte, Jimmy Chew, Alfred Chia, Laurence Eu, Horst Flotow, Con Foley, Bill Heng, Hio John, Wolfgang Kraemer, Angus Lamont, Graham Langley, Lau Jiasheng, Lee Tiah Khee, David Li, Geoff Lim, Lim Kim Chuah, Lim Kim Keang, Lim Kim Seng, Low Choon How, Alan Ng, Ng Chay Tuan, Alan Owyong, Colin Poole, Pun Kin Hong, George Presanis, Elizabeth Rothwell, Safizah Abdullah, Barindra Sana, See Toh Yew Wai, Keita Sin, Tan Ju Lin, Robin Tan, Martti Siponen, Alison Wilson, Richard White, Francis Yap, Yong Ding Li and Yong Yik Shih.

Compiled by Lim Kim Seng on behalf of the Records Committee.

Selected References

Gill, F & D Donsker (Eds). 2015. IOC World Bird List (v 5.4). doi :  10.14344/IOC.ML.5.4.

King, B. (2002). Species limits in the Brown Boobook Ninox scutulata complex. Bull. B.O.C. 122(4): 250-257.

Lim, K.S. (2009). The Avifauna of Singapore. Nature Society (Singapore), Singapore.

Records Committee Report 2015-Rarities.

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Short-toed Snake Eagle at Changi Grasslands, one of the 11 rarities accepted. Photo: Alan OwYong.

Besides deciding on new additions, the Records Committee also review records of rare species that are already in the Check List. This review is important to monitor the abundance or otherwise of such species. The Records Committee wishes to thank everyone who send in their records of rare species for review.

Rarities

The following rarities were accepted during the period:

Lesser Frigatebird Fregata ariel:  1 reported at the Singapore Straits on 28 Oct 2012 by Francis Yap et al.

Short-toed Snake Eagle Circaetus gallicus: 1 reported at Changi on 23 Dec 2012 by Francis Yap, Yong Yik Shih, Alan Owyong and Lim Kim Keang.

Besra Accipiter virgatus: 1 reported at Changi on 17 Nov 2012 by Lau Jiasheng and another at the same site on 7 Dec 2012 by TK Lee, Yong Yik Shih and Lim Kim Seng.

Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga: 1 juvenile photographed and seen at Changi by Lim Kim Chuah, Lim Kim Seng and Lee Tiah Khee was our first record of the “fulvescens” form.

Slaty-legged Crake Rallina eurizonoides: 1 reported on Jurong Island on 21 Nov 2015 by Lim Kim Chuah.

Grey-headed Lapwing Vanellus cinereus: 1 seen at Singapore Botanic Gardens on 16 Nov 2015 by Richard White.

Parasitic Jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus: 3 reported at the Singapore Straits on 20 Nov 2011 by Horst Flotow, Francis Yap, Lee Tiah Khee, Doreen Ang, Alfred Chia, Lim Kim Keang and Lim Kim Seng, and 3 at the same site on 23 Oct 2012 by Francis Yap et al.

Long-tailed Jaeger Stercorarius longicaudus: 1 reported at the Singapore Straits on 13 May 2012 by Francis Yap and other observers.

Streaked Bulbul Ixos malaccensis: 4-6 reported at Bukit Timah on 18 Jul 2015 by Francis Yap.

Asian House Martin Delichon dasypus: 1 seen at Nassim Hill on 17 Nov 2015 by Richard White.

Yellow-eared Spiderhunter Arachnothera chrysogenys: 1 reported at the Central Catchment Nature Reserve on 20 Nov 2014 by Francis Yap.

The following submissions on rarities were not accepted due to lack of conclusive evidence:

Asian House Martin Delichon dasypus: 1 seen at Bukit Timah on 18 Dec 2012.

Dusky Warbler Phylloscopus fuscatus: 1 reported at Sengkang Wetlands on 22 Jan 2012.

Chinese Blue Flycatcher Cyornis glaucicomans: 1 reported at Bukit Timah on 18 Dec 2012.

Plain Sunbird Anthreptes simplex: 1 reported at Bukit Timah on 18 Dec 2012.

Compiled by Lim Kim Seng on behalf of the Records Committee.

Records Committee Report 2015-New Additions

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Band-bellied Crake, one of the 18 new additions to the 2015 Checklist. Photo: Lee Tiah Khee.

Additions to the Singapore Checklist 2015.

The following 18 species are the additions to the 2015 Singapore Checklist.

Short-tailed Shearwater Puffinus tenuirostris3 birds reported in the Singapore Straits on 14 May 2011 by Con Foley and 2 at the same site on 15 May 2011 by Howard Banwell and Jimmy Chew are the first and second records for Singapore.

Asian Openbill Anastomus oscitans: A maximum of eight birds seen at Neo Tiew Road on 16 Jan 2013 by Pun Kin Hong and at Seletar North Link by Bill Heng on 23 Jan 2013 are the first records for Singapore. It was seen by several observers subsequently.

Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus: 1 seen at Sungei Buloh on 2 Oct 2010 by Lim Kim Seng and Ian Smith is the first post-war record for Singapore. It was previously listed under Category B.

Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii: 1 summer plumaged bird seen at Bidadari Cemetery on 18 April 2015 by Alfred Chia and Francis Yap. It was also seen by several other observers. This confirms an earlier record of another summer bird seen at Senoko on 20 Mar 1994 by Lim Kim Chuah and Lim Kim Seng which now constitutes the first record for Singapore.

Red-footed Booby Sula sula: 1 reported in the Singapore Straits on 13 May 2012 by Alfred Chia, Lim Kim Chuah, Lim Kim Seng, Ng Chay Tuan, Colin Poole, Tan Ju Lin, Francis Yap, Yong Ding Li and Yong Yik Shih.

Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster: 1 seen at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve on 26 June 2006 by Graham Langley. There were also two subsequent records that were accepted, from Bukit Gombak, in August 2014 from Jean-Marc Chavatte, Lee Tiah Khee and Alan Owyong, and Pulau Ubin in July 2015 from Francis Yap. These are the second and third records for Singapore.

Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus: an immature seen and photographed at Tuas on 14 Nov 2010 by Martti Siponen.

Band-bellied Crake Porzana paykullii: 1 reported at Chinese Garden on 28 Feb 2014 by Lee Tiah Khee and seen subsequently by several observers.

Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus (heuglini): 1 reported in the Singapore Straits on 20 Nov 2011 by Horst Flotow, Francis Yap, TK Lee and others was the first for Singapore.

Mountain Imperial Pigeon Ducula badia: 1 reported on Pulau Ubin on 11 Nov 2012 by Tan Hang Chong and Barindra Sana reinstates an earlier record of another at Telok Blangah Hill Park on 13 Oct 1996 reported by Safizah Abdullah, Lim Kim Keang and Lim Kim Seng.

Northern Boobook Ninox japonica: a specimen in the LKC Museum mislabeled as Ninox scutulata and collected in Singapore in Nov 2000 is the first record for Singapore (Sadanandan et al 2015). There were five subsequent records in Oct 2013, Mar 2014, Nov 2014 and Nov 2015 (2 records) that are accepted as the 2nd to 6th records for Singapore. Alison Wilson, Alan Owyong, David Li and Low Choon How were the observers who put this difficult species on the Singapore List.

Buff-rumped Woodpecker Meiglyptes tristis: 1 seen at MacRitchie Reservoir on 20 Oct 2012 by Yong Ding Li and 1 reported at Jelutong Tower on 7 Jan 2013 by Lim Kim Seng are the first and second post-war records for Singapore. This species was previously listed in Category B.

Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hemipus hirundinaceus:  1 reported at Jelutong Tower on 11 Feb 2013 by Geoff Lim, another (or the same bird) here again on 23 Aug 2013 by Francis Yap and 1 reported at Pulau Ubin on 29 Jun 2015 by Wolfgang Kraemer are the 1st to 3rd records for Singapore.

Black-and-white Bulbul Pycnonotus melanoleucos: 1 reported at Jelutong Tower on 29 May 2012 by Francis Yap is the first post-war record for Singapore. It was previously listed in Category B.

Sakhalin Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus borealoides: 1 reported at Bukit Timah on 15 Dec 2013 by Lim Kim Keang and on 4 Mar 2014 by Francis Yap and other observers is the first record for Singapore.

Narccisus Flycatcher Ficedula narcissina: a female reported at Bidadari Cemetery on 2 Dec 2015 by Robin Tan, Alan Ng, Hio John and See Toh Yiew Wai.

Scarlet-breasted Flowerpecker Prionochilus thoracicus: 1 seen on Pulau Ubin by Yong Yik Shih, Ng Chay Tuan and Elizabeth Rothwell.

Richard’s Pipit Anthus richardi : 1 seen at Khatib on 19 Oct 2015 by Angus Lamont.

The following submissions were not accepted:

Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster: 1 photographed in flight over St John’s Island could not be identified to species.

Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus: 1 reported at Seletar North Link on 26 Dec 2012. The record could not be accepted due to the lack of conclusive evidence.

Black Hornbill Anthracoceros malayanus : 1 reported on Pulau Ubin on 26 Jul 2015. This species is currently listed in Category E as there is equal likelihood of this being a wild or escaped bird.

Green Broadbill Calyptomena viridis: 1 reported at East Coast Park on 27 Nov 2014 and another on Pulau Ubin on 25 Dec 2014. This species is currently listed in Category D as there is high probability of these birds being escapes from the cagebird trade.

Finsch’s Bulbul Alophoixus finschii: 1 reported at Bukit Timah on 18 Dec 2012. It is listed in Category F due to the lack of conclusive evidence.

Clamorous Reed-warbler Acrocephalus stentoreus: 1 reported at Pulau Punggol Barat on 23 Feb 2008. It is listed in Category F due to the lack of conclusive evidence.

Daurian Redstart Phoenicurus auroreus: 1 female reported at Satay by the Bay on 9 Feb 2013 and subsequently was noted to have feather damage associated with bird lime. This indicates a high probability of the individual being a released or escaped bird. It is listed in Category D.

List compiled by Lim Kim Seng on behalf of the Records Committee.