Monthly Archives: April 2016

First known nesting record of the Buffy Fish Owl


Taken on 25 March  2016 about 2 week after it was discovered.

In the 1980s and 90s, the Buffy Fish Owls, Ketupa ketupa, were found at only a few locations in Singapore, like Pulau Ubin, Sungei Buloh and Central Catchment Forest. Our only record that indicate breeding was the sighting of two immatures at the Lower Peirce Reservoir in 1994 & 2010 and MacRitchie Reservoir in October 2011.. In recent years, they have spread out to Sentosa, Pasir Ris Park, Punggol and the Singapore Botanic Gardens. It augurs well for this owl.

Buffy Fish Owl Terence Tan

A month later, a fully fledged chick looking inquisitive. 25 April 2016. Photo: Terence Tan.

In early March this year, staff of SBWR noticed a fur ball through a gap in a Bird Nest Fern on a Rain Tree. It turned out to be an owl chick. It was the same with the Buffy Fish Owls I seen in Perak, Malaysia. They were also using Bird Nest Ferns as nests, which makes it hard to spot looking from below. Unlike other nesting birds, the parents do not feed them during the day and avoid undue attention.

Despite the attention of visitors to the Wetland Reserve, the parent birds don’t seem to feel threatened during the nesting. They just perched in the mid canopy nearby, keeping a watchful eye on the young. The chick was mostly exposed to the elements during the day staying awake most of the time.

On the 25th April, about seven weeks after being discovered, the chick was seen out of its nest, perched in the open on a branch of a nearby tree. It must have made the short flight across from the nest. It stayed at the same position for most of the day without trying to go near the parent birds perched below.


Taking its first wobbly steps to see the brave new world.

We are so privileged to have a close up view of the  nesting of this nationally threatened species , probably our first, and happy to see that it’s successful fledged. Richard White just posted a photo of another newly fledged juvenile with its parent at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. What a happy co-incidence!

Reference: Lim Kim Seng.The Avifauan of Singapore. 2009. Nature Society (Singapore). Thanks to Terence Tan for the use of his photo.




Saving Bidadari.

By Alan OwYong and Dr. Ho Hua Chew.

The long road of Bidadari

How much of this verdant greenery will be left?

When the Housing and Development Board (HDB) announced the building of a new town at both the Christian and Muslim cemeteries along Upper Aljuneind Road on May 2012, the green community and nature lovers were up-in-arms against the plans.

We have good reasons to do so.  The loss of a verdant urban green lung of matured woodlands rich in birdlife especially for the passerine migrants during the autumn and spring seasons will be great. A Facebook page “Saving Bidadari for the Birds and People” was started to bring attention to the diversity of the place. No less than 155 species have since been recorded there. Many are globally threatened species like the Brown-chested Jungle Flycatchers, Cyornis brunneata, , that make it way to the same bush every year. Another regular visitor is the Japanese Paradise Flycatcher, Terpsiphone atrocauda. We even had a “national first” record last year, when a female Narcissus Flycatcher, Ficedula narcissina, was photographed here.

Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher Bida

Bidadari is the favorite rest stop for the globally threatened Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher

The HBD appointed Urban Strategies Inc. as the master planner for Bidadari. They proposed a “Community in a Garden” theme by preserving the hilly and lush wooded landscape and creating a generous regional park which is part of the URA 2008 Master Plan.

The Nature Society (Singapore) and its Bird Group then drew up a Conservation Proposal (Link) to keep the larger part of the Muslim cemetery as a parkland for the estate. (See Map below). It was submitted to the HDB on 7 December 2012.


Map from the 4 December 2012 Straits Times showing NSS proposed parkland and bird sanctuary. 

The Conservation Committee and Bird Group members of the Society subsequently met with the HDB and National Parks Board (NParks) to see how we can meet the aspirations of both the nature and heartland communities. We were informed that the plan was to set aside 10 hectare for the parkland, a size meant of larger estates like Ang Mo Kio. Unfortunately the area chosen for the park was more open and not where most of the birds were found.

The Bird Group of the NSS then conducted a GPS mapping and survey of migrant species during the 2012 autumn migration period to find out where the migrants spent their winter and stop over. Based on the findings of this mapping survey, the Society submitted an alternative proposal to the HDB on 25 September 2013. We proposed that the 10 hectare park be sited at the densely wooded hillock and portions hugging Bartley Road. We also advocate for low rise apartments for the remaining areas especially for those facing north along Bartley Road.


GPS mapping and survey of migrant birds in 2012.

This alternative proposal has help to review the location of this regional park. While it is not exactly where we wanted it to be we can confirm that the denser portions of the park will be kept untouched as a natural sanctuary for those residents who prefer the wilder greenery. The rest of the park will have the usual amenities to cater for the general park users. A new lake will be created on the other Christian Cemetery side to add a new water habitat to the park. We hope that this in turn will attract more water birds and wild ducks to the park.

For sure, Bidadari will not be the same again even though some of the older trees will be moved to create new green areas.  Most if not all the Albizias, the foraging haunts of many migratory flycatchers, cuckoos, drongos, etc., will be cut down, and the species diversity in the remaining wooded patch, amidst the surrounding concrete, will drop drastically.

Reference: The Conservation Committee. Nature Society (Singapore).

6th Parrot Count- Final Report

Authors: Albert Low and Alan OwYong


The World Parrot Count was initiated six years ago by Michael Braun and Roelant Jonker from the parrot researchers’ group of the International Ornithological Union (IOU). A key objective of the study was to document the status and abundance of feral and non-native parrots in urban environments globally where populations are established. Being part of this study provides an excellent opportunity for us to also monitor native parrot abundance and diversity in Singapore beyond our nature reserves. Given that some species such as the non-native Red-breasted Parakeet (Psittacula alexandri) have increased in abundance across Singapore, it is also timely to identify areas where these species are concentrated and their roost sites.


Yellow-crested Cockatoo at one-north park.

Results and Conclusions

Coordinated annually by the Bird Group since 2011, this year’s Parrot Count took place on 27 February 2016. 16 sites across mainland Singapore were covered by 33 surveyors. This year’s total of 2,483 parrots of 8 identifiable species is slightly lower than the 2,725 parrots of 7 species recorded last year.

As was the case over the past 2 years, the well-wooded Mount Rosie was the most species-rich site, with seven species of parrot recorded. Bottle Tree Park, a site first surveyed in 2015, was once again the top site in terms of total abundance, with 892 individuals from two parrot species recorded. The Long-tailed Parakeet (Psittacula longicauda) was the most numerous parrot recorded during the count, with a total of 1,837 individuals seen, a decrease from the 2,059 individuals observed last year. This constituted 73.6% of all parrots recorded during the count. 526 Red-breasted Parakeets were also recorded, making up the bulk (21.1%) of the remaining parrots recorded. Other species recorded include small numbers of Tanimbar Corellas, (Cacatua goffini), Coconut Lorikeets (Trichoglossus haematodus), Rose-ringed Parakeets (Psittacula krameri), Blue-crowned Hanging Parrots (Loriculus galgulus) and 4 Yellow-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua sulphurea).

During the census, parrot numbers peaked between 7 pm and 7.30 pm where 1,683 parrots were counted.  As shown in recent counts, the largest parakeet flocks were mainly observed at last light, with counters at many sites managing to observe the noisy spectacle of flocks of parakeets returning to their roosting trees just before complete darkness.

With a second year of data collected from pre-roost staging areas throughout central and northern Singapore, the annual parrot count is now proving to be useful in monitoring the large flocks of Long-tailed Parakeets which travel along the eastern boundary of the Central Nature Reserve to roost sites in the vicinity of Yishun via staging sites in Springleaf. While numbers are slightly down from 2015, the continued presence of these large flocks for a second year suggests that Singapore’s only native parakeet species is able to co-exist with the introduced Red-breasted Parakeet. While the latter is widespread throughout Singapore, it is noteworthy that they are conspicuously absent at staging sites used by the Long-tailed Parakeet. These findings have important conservation implications for the globally near-threatened Long-tailed Parakeet, and go some way towards alleviating fears that the recent expansion of the introduced Red-breasted Parakeet in Singapore would lead to the potential extirpation of the native Long-tailed Parakeet.


Our native Long-tailed Parakeet is globally near-threatened.

New sites in central Singapore at Bishan Park and Bukit Brown were counted this year and have been revealed as roosting areas for the introduced Coconut (formerly Rainbow) Lorikeet, a species that is slowly expanding across Singapore. It is hoped that annual surveys like the Parrot Count will also provide a platform for monitoring trends relating to other introduced parrots like these in addition to the more numerous parakeets.

Last but not least, the organisers would also like to reach out to volunteers who are aware of Red-breasted Parakeet roosts in their neighbourhood and are willing to survey them. Anecdotal observations show that while Red-breasted Parakeets are widespread and common in urban Singapore, many of their roost sites have either not been located as yet or are otherwise not being counted. It is hoped that with an increased pool of surveyors counting at more roost sites throughout Singapore, a more complete picture of the local Red-breasted Parakeet population can be obtained.


On behalf of the Bird Group, we would like to thank the following for their willingness to carry out parrot monitoring on a weekend evening – Site Leaders: Albert Low, Lim Kim Chuah, Doreen Ang, Alan Owyong, Lim Kim Keang, Cheryl Lao, Debra Yeo, Lee Ee Ling, Nessie Khoo, Marcel Finlay, Shirley Ng, Wing Chong, Ng Bee Choo, Morten Strange, Angus Lamont. Assisting Counters: Peng Ah Huay, Jervis Goh, Martin Barry, Woo Lai Choo, See Swee Leng, Jitendra Putcha, Pranab Das, Mac Ng, Lee Phua, Jeyabalaji, Akanksha Bhagat, Yong Jun Zer, Cheong Shu Min, Lee Wen Qi, Shanmugam Kumaraguru, Florence Ipert, Elliot Ong and Ming Wei. Finally we also thank Roelant and Michael for inviting us to be part of this study.






























Why Count Birds?


Extracts from Lisa Margonelli’s article “When birders with binoculars are better than supercomputers” published in the Sunday Times 31 January 2016. She writes the Small Science column for Zocalo Public Square where she is the science and humanities editor.

As old and personalised as it is, the bird count is a powerful way to collect data and a future model for understanding and responding to environmental issues on Earth-not to mention other planets.”

“The bird count has, at its core, concern about birds going extinct, but over the years that morphed into surprising political power to stop those extinctions.”

” The count also has a secret weapon: It simultaneously gathers needed data and mobilises concerned citizens to advocate on behalf of endangered birds.”

“Obsession makes humans good at finding things because they get distracted by anomalies and their fervour is driven by their emotions. Computers don’t have eureka moments.”

Over the years of counting birds here we have our share of eureka moments. The sighting of a Caspian Tern at Mandai Mudflats during the 2011 Asian Waterbird Census was one of those eureka moments.

Low Choon How-Javan Myna-LCH_0399

Javan Mynas, the top bird species in recent Annual Bird Censuses. Photo: Low Choon How

In April 1986 the late Clive Briffet, then chairman of the Singapore Branch of the Malayan Nature Society Bird Group initiated and led the very first Annual Bird Census (ABC) here in Singapore. It has been faithfully held every March since with reports published in various scientific journals. It is the longest running census of wild animals conducted by any organisation in South East Asia. Between 1996 and 2005, a total of 33 sites were counted where we recorded 220 species  and 88,596 birds, with 102 species (46%) showing an increase, 66 (30%) showing evidence of decline and 22 (10%) stable. We just completed the 30th ABC on 27th March 2016. Lim Kim Seng will be posting the results soon.


Every year up to 400 Whimbrels spent the winter at our Wetlands. Photo: Alan OwYong.

In 1990, members of the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch) joined our fellow Asian member organisations to count waterbirds in our first Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) coordinated by Asian Wetlands Bureau, now known as Wetlands International. Lim Kim Keang coordinated the census for Singapore. This year’s AWC,  the 26th, covering all the mudflats and wetlands was held on 23th January 2016.

Lim Kim Seng, head of the Records Committee initiated the Mid Year Bird Census (MYBC) in 2000 and the Fall Migration Bird Census (FMBC) in 2004 to gather data on the population of our residents and pug the gaps in the diversity of autumn migration. We were able to ascertain that the diversity is just as high as the Spring migration.

27 OHBs part of the flock of 40

27 OHBs part of the flock of 40 over Telok Blangah Hill during Raptor Watch 9.11.14

With the support from Asian Raptor Research and Conservation Network (ARRCN), we started a full one day Raptors Watch in November 2008 with observers stationed at various locations all over Singapore to count migrating raptors. The count from Singapore help to fill in the missing data on the pattern of the autumn migration of raptors coming down from Malaysia to Indonesia. Over the years we were amazed at the numbers of some of the raptors like the Oriental Honey Buzzards and Black Bazas that passed through our island. It had become a very popular count among keen raptor watchers over the years, thank to Tan Gim Cheong’s efforts after taking over from Alan OwYong.

Long-tailed Parakeet

Three flying Long-tailed Parakeets flying pass Jelutong Tower. Photo: Francis Yap

In 2010, the International Ornithological Union approached the Bird Group of the Nature Society (Singapore) to join in the global count of feral and non native parrots in our urban environment. Thus our latest count, Parrot Count, took flight, under the stewardship of Albert Low, Yong Ding Li and Alan OwYong. The report for our 6th Parrot Count on the 27th February will be published soon.

We will not be able to achieve the success of these censuses and bird counts without the dedicated and passionate members of the Bird Group, friends and the concerned public spending their weekends helping to document the bird life all year round. But we need more to help us to cover more sites. If you are not too familiar with the censuses, come to our workshops and we will brief you on how to count and identify the birds. You will find your eureka moments too.

Ref: Lim Kim Chuah and Lim Kim Seng, State of Singapore’s Wild Birds and Bird Habitats. 2009.

Compiled by Alan OwYong and edited by Tan Gim Cheong. Thanks to Francis Yap, Low Choon How and Alan OwYong for the use of their photos.






Singapore Bird Report-March 2016

The star bird of the month had to be the pelagic Brown Booby, Sula leucogaster an unexpected non-breeding visitor that is playing a cat and mouse game with us at the Johor Straits. It was first seen on 21st by Choo Tiong Whee, Lee Van Hien and Benny Lim fishing off Platform 1 on 21st March.Link. Our last record was in 1982. It was still around  on the 9th.


Brown Booby flying over the Johor Straits taken on 21st March by Choo Tiong Whee.

Adding to the excitement, Francis Yap posted a photo of a male Little Green Pigeon, Treron olax, taken from his favorite Jelutong Tower on 16th. Our last record for this rare non-breeding visitor was in 2004.

Little Green Pigeon FYap

First photo record of this rare non breeding visitor, the Little Green Pigeon in Singapore by Francis Yap.

March was the height of the Spring migration for most of the passerines as can be seen from the reports from our Central Forest, Bidadari and  Tuas South. Species reported from Central Forest include a Green-backed Flycatcher, Ficedula elisae, photographed by Adrian Silas Tay on 3rd, a Ruddy Kingfisher, Halcyon coromanda, heard calling and 3 Blue-winged Pittas, Pitta moluccenis at the MacRitchie Boardwalk  and an Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, Ceryx erithaca, at Prunes Trail on 7th by Yong Yik Shih.

Over at Bidadari, a Large-hawk Cuckoo, Hierococcyx sparverioides, was sighted by Lena Chow on 5th. It stayed for only a few days. Another Cuckoo, the Hogdson’s Hierococcyx nisicolor, was photographed by Francis Yap on 13th. Flycatchers include an incei Asian Paradise, Terpsiphone paradisi, reported by Low Choon How, 3 male Yellow-rumped Flycatchers, Ficedula zanthopygia, by Lim Kim Keang  both on 17th.

The patch of leguminous trees at the open fields at Tuas South continued to offer a rest stop for returning migrants. Blue-winged Pitta, the rare Japanese Paradise, Terpsiphone atrocauda, and Yellow-rumped Flycatchers were reported by Low Choon How on 20th.

MHC Seng Alvin

A juvenile Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo making a rest stop at Pasir Ris Park. Photo: Seng Alvin

Other migrant passerines reported were a flock of 10 Oriental Pratincoles, Glareola maldivarum, at Gardens East by Daniel Ong and Lawrence Cher on 5th, and at CCK Cemetery on 20th by Lee Van Hien, a Chestnut-winged Cuckoo, Clamator coromandus, at the SBTB by Eric Wa on 8th , one more Blue-winged Pitta and a Hooded Pitta, Pitta sordida, at the Singapore Botanic Gardens by Richard White on 16th and 23rd respectively and a roosting Grey Nightjar, Caprimulgus jotaka, reported at Venus Loop by Atish Banerjee, new for that location.

Non-breeding visitors like the Cinereous BulbulsHemixos cinereus, were seen at Chek Java: a flock of 25 by Lim Kim Keang on 16th, a lone bird on 30th by Lim Kim Seng and another at Jelutong Tower on 6th by Lim Kim Chuah. A juvenile Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo, Hierococcyx Fugax was photographed by Seng Alvin at Pasir Ris Park on 31st.

Barn Owl Atish Banerjee

March is also the time for courtship, mating and some early nesting for many of our residents. The Tanjong Rhu Western Barn Owl, Tyto alba, paid a brief visit to the SBTB on 4th (Atis Banerjee’s photo left) and a Red-legged Crake, Rallina fasciata, was photographed there on 5th by Khong Yew. We had two reports of the hard to see Barred Button Quails, Turnix suscitator. Roger Boey photographed one over at Butterfly Hill at P. Ubin on 7th and Lim Kim Keang was lucky to see two crossing his path at Lorong Halus on 23rd. Staying at Halus, Lawrence Cher shot a reclusive Painted Snipe, Rostratula benghalensis, on 23rd. The most exciting resident was the Lesser Adjutant, Leptoptilos javanicus, first photographed flying over Neo Tiew Crescent on 18th by Nicholas Tan and Cindy Yeo and later at the Western Catchment shores by See Toh’s boat group on 26th.

Lesser Adjutant Nicholas Tan

The Lesser Adjutant flying over Neo Tiew Crescent on 18th. Photo: Nicholas Tan.

Within a month of opening, the Kranji Marshes came alive with many of marsh residents reappearing. Low Choon How was the first to report the Common Moorhens, Gallinula chloropus, on 8th, followed by the Black-backed Swamphens, Porphyrio indicus, and White-browed Crake, Porzana cinerea, found by Alfred Chia during the NSS walk on 20th, and the wintering Watercock, Gallicrex cinerea,  during AWC on 27th by Lee Ee Ling and Lena Chow. Another Watercock was also seen at a canal at Neo Tiew Lane 4 on 25th by Alan OwYong and Lim Kim Keang.

Remaining at Kranji Marshes, Lim Kim Keang reported a flying Violet Cuckoo, Chrysococcyx xanthorhyncus, on 29th and a large flock of 130 Long-tailed Parakeets, Psittacula longicauda, flying over on 26th was photographed by Richard Lim

Moorhen Richard Lim

Common Moorhens are returning to the new Kranji Marshes. Photo: Richard Lim

Other notable residents was a Straw-headed Bulbul, Pycnonotus zeylanicus, reported by Vincent Lao at King’s Avenue on 19th during his weekly cross country rides. James Tann found a fruiting fig at Bukit Brown and counted 15 uncommon Thick-billed Pigeons, Treron curvirostra, feeding there. A good record especially on the numbers. Andrew Chow posted a video of 3 Chestnut-winged Babblers, Stachyris erythroptera, taken near to Jelutong Tower. They are more visible and vocal during mating.

Thick-billed Pigeon James Tan

A male Thick-billed Pigeon from a flock of 15 photographed at Bukit Brown by James Tann.

We still have small pockets of shorebirds waiting for the right time to fly back north. Six Bar-tailed Godwits, Limosa lapponica,  were seen on 16th by Lim Kim Keang, and three Chinese Egrets, Egretta eulophotes, on 30th by Lim Kim Seng, both at Chek Java, a lone Grey-tailed Tattler, Tringa brevipes, was reported by Lim Kim Seng at SBWR on 29th and a late returning Great Crested Tern, Thalasseus bergii, flying west to east along the Johor Straits on 19th identified from a photo by Arman AF.

RBE Leslie Fung

Juvenile Rufous-bellied Eagle over Springleaf Park. Photo: Leslie Fung.

Some raptor reports: Two Peregrine Falcons, Falco peregrinus, both japonensis were seen this month, one at Bishan on 14th reported by Lena Chow and the other photographed from Eagle Point on 20th by Francis Yap. An adult Crested Goshawk, Accipiter trivirgatus, was photographed by Lee Li Er at Kent Ridge Park on 25th. Tan, and a rare juvenile Rufous-bellied Eagle, Lophotriorchis kienerii, was photographed flying  over Springleaf Park by Leslie Fung, on 31st. Tan Gim Cheong will be posting a full raptor report for March in the coming days.


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

Yong Ding Li, Lim Kim Chuah and Lee Tiah Khee. A Naturalist’s Guide to the Birds of Singapore. 2013. John Beaufoy Publishing Limited. 

This report is compiled by Alan OwYong and edited by Tan Gim Cheong 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 Choo Tiong Whee, Francis Yap, Atish Banerjee,  James Tann, Nicholas Tan, Richard Lim, Seng Alvin and Leslie Fung for the use of their photos.

SBWR – Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserves, SBTB– Satay by the Bay,  AWC – Asian Waterbirds Census



Singapore Raptor Report – February 2016

Common Kestrel, posted 230216, PB, Alfred Ng on BICA

Common Kestrel, adult male, Pulau Punggol Barat, 23 Feb 16, by Alfred Ng.

Summary for migrant species:

The Black Baza again claimed the top spot with 54 birds; the largest gathering was a flock of 21 birds at the Lorong Halus area. The Oriental Honey Buzzard was well represented by 30 birds, some of which had perched in urban areas such as the top of apartments. Five Japanese Sparrowhawks were recorded; at this time of the year, most of them showed signs of moult (which could make their wings look more pointed) and may be confused with the Chinese Sparrowhawk.

Four Peregrine Falcons were recorded; among these, the 3 photographed were adults of the migrant race. Three Ospreys were recorded; 2 on the northern shores and 1 in the Central Catchment area. Two Jerdon’s Bazas continued to winter at Tampines Eco Green; providing opportunities for birders to see this uncommon migrant. The juvenile Chinese Sparrowhawk with the falconry jesses on both tarsus was photographed again at Bidadari on the 18th.

The uncommon Common Kestrel, a male, wintering at Punggol Barat was photographed on the 7th and the 23rd. An adult dark morph Common Buzzard was photographed at Changi on the evening of the 24th. There was a sighting report of a juvenile Rufous-bellied Hawk-Eagle at Labrador Park on the 16th; it may be useful to note that confusion with juvenile Changeable Hawk Eagle cannot be ruled out without photos. Lastly, a nocturnal raptor, the Northern Boobook (first discovered at Pasir Ris Park mangroves on 31st Jan) was photographed on the 1st and 2nd of Feb, after which it was not located again.

CHE, 030216, Halus with prey, Francis Yap

Changeable Hawk Eagle, dark morph, Lorong Halus, 3 Feb 16, by Francis Yap.

Highlights for sedentary species:

The rare Crested Serpent Eagle was recorded on camera at Neo Tiew area on the 24th and another at Malcolm Park on the 28th. There were 4 records for the Crested Goshawk, most notably one was sitting on a nest at the Botanic Gardens on the 14th. The torquatus tweeddale morph Oriental Honey Buzzzard was photographed in the Pasir Ris area again and a typical plumaged torquatus was also photographed in the same area. The young Grey-headed Fish Eagle at Little Guilin that had fledged in January was still in the vicinity. The White-bellied Sea Eagle, Brahminy Kite, Changeable Hawk-Eagle and Black-winged Kite completed the roundup for the month.

S/N Species No.   S/N Species No.
1 Osprey 3     Residents / Sedentary Species
2 Jerdon’s Baza 2   12 Black-winged Kite 3
3 Black Baza 54   13 Brahminy Kite 18
4 Oriental Honey Buzzard 30   14 White-bellied Sea Eagle 13
5 Chinese Sparrowhawk 1   15 Grey-headed Fish Eagle 7
6 Japanese Sparrowhawk 5   16 Crested Serpent Eagle 2
7 Common Buzzard 1   17 Crested Goshawk 4
8 Rufous-bellied Hawk-Eagle 1   18 Changeable Hawk-Eagle 10
9 Common Kestrel 1        
10 Peregrine Falcon 4     Unidentified  
11 Northern Boobook 1   19 Unidentified Raptors 2
        20 Unidentified Accipiters 1
  Total for Migrants 103     Grand Total 163

For a pdf copy with more details/photos, please click Singapore Raptor Report Feb16

Many thanks to everyone who had reported their sightings in one way or another, and especially to Alfred Ng, Francis Yap, Lee Tiah Khee and Alvin Seng for the use of their photos.

Collared Kingfisher fledglings at PRP

Contributed by Seng Alvin

Bird Nest Fern SAlvin

The nest hole at the based of the bird nest fern.

Kingfishers have large heavy bills to catch fish, lizards  and grasshoppers. They are not suited to build nests like bulbuls and sunbirds. So they have to adapt and used holes to nest. As their bills are not as strong as the woodpeckers, they cannot dig nest holes in the tree trunks and branches. Instead they look for softer medium like old termites nests, plant and fern roots. The White-throated Kingfisher digs holes in the sides of earth embankments for their nests.

Collared KF SAlvin

Parent Collared Kingfisher trying to get the chicks out of the nest hole

On 29 March, I came across a group of photographers shooting a Bird Nest Fern at Pasir Ris Park. Out of curiosity, I joined them. They were shooting at a nest hole at the base of the fern. They told me that it was the nest hole of a pair of Collared Kingfishers, Todiramphus chloris. This is something new to me. The parent bird flew back after a short wait but did not bring back any food. We later found out that it was trying to lure the chicks out of the nest.

Collared KF 2 SAlvin

The first chick fledged on 29 March 2016. Looks very much like the parents except for a shorter tail.

Collared Kingfishers are the most common kingfishers in Singapore. They are normally found near our coast and mangroves but some have moved inland for a higher protein diet when nesting. They have two breeding seasons, January to May and August to September.

The chicks were already fully grown and I was just in time to see the fledgling of the first chick. The second chick fledged the next day. They have short tails but already assumed the white and blue plumage of the adults. So happy to have another pair of these kingfishers making their home here.

Reference: Lim Kim Seng. The Avifauna of Singapore. 2009. Singapore Avifauna.


Singapore’s Important Biodiversity and Bird Areas


Birdlife International Important Biodiversity and Bird Areas (IBA) program helps countries worldwide to identify, protect and manage significant sites of naturally occurring vulnerable bird species and population. It is based on internationally recognized Criteria. Over 10,000 sites have been identified worldwide.

The Nature Society (Singapore) and the Bird Group have identified three such IBAs in Singapore using the accepted international criteria. This is quite significant for a city state like Singapore with one of the highest population density in the world. These IBAs must be protected for the natural health of the island and its people.

They are A) Central Forest B) Kranji-Mandai and C) Ubin-Khatib.

Central Catchment Forest Reserves

Central Catchment Forest Reserves

Bukit Brown LKP

Bukit Brown. Photo: Leong Kwok Peng

A) Central Forest ( 5,446 hectares)

It covers the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Bukit Batok Nature Park, Dairy Farm Nature Park, Bukit Brown Cemetery, Tagore Forest and Bukit. Mandai Forest.

Trigger Species: Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher, Cyornis brunneata,  and Straw-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus zeylanicus. Sunda Pangolin Manis javanica , Banded Leaf Monkey Presbytes fermoralis and Singapore Freshwater Crab Johora  singaporensis.

Fresh Water Ponds at Kranji Marshes

Fresh Water Ponds at Kranji Marshes

Gemala Nature Areas. Photo: Leong Kwok Peng

Khatib Mangroves LKP

Mandai Mangroves. Photo: Leong Kwok Peng.

B) Kranji-Mandai ( 1,885 hectares)

It covers Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Kranji Marshes, Gemala Nature Areas, Mandai Mudflats and Mangroves, Ama Keng, Stagmont Ring and Peng Siang mash areas.

Trigger Species: Chinese Egret, Egretta eulophotes, Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris, Straw-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus zeylanicus.

Ketam Quarry

Ketam Quarry. Pulau Ubin.

Lorong Halus. Photo: Leong Kwok Peng.

Khatib Bonsu Mangroves. Photo: Leong Kwok Peng.

C) Ubin-Khatib ( 14,906 hectares).

It covers Pulau Ubin, Pulau Tekong, Pasir Ris Park, Loyang Forest, Lorong Halus, Coney Island, Springleaf Park, Pulau Seletar, Khatib Bonsu and Simpang Grasslands.

Trigger Species: Chinese Egret, Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris, Straw-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus zeylanicus, Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher Cyornis brunneata and Sunda Pangolin Manis javanica.

For more details on our IBAs go to

Reference: Birdlife International.