Singapore Raptor Report – December 2016

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Eastern Imperial Eagle, juvenile, Pulau Ubin, 28 Dec 2016, by Robin Tan

Summary for migrant species:

An uncommon Grey-faced Buzzard (adult) photographed by Thio Hui Bing on the 1st on Pulau Ubin after rain was a good start for the month. The next day, on the 2nd, two rare raptors showed up: a grey morph Oriental Scops Owl photographed by Gavan Leong in the daytime, also on Pulau Ubin and a juvenile Black Kite photographed by Francis Yap at Jelutong Tower.

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Grey-faced Buzzard, Pulau Ubin, 1 Dec 2016, by Thio Hui Bing

Not to be outdone, a very rare Amur Falcon was photographed by Yip Peng Sun at Yishun Dam on the morning of the 16th – this being the second record for Singapore since the first occurrence on 21 Nov 2007.

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Amur Falcon, Yishun Dam, 16 Dec 2016, by Yip Peng Sun

The streak of rarities culminated with a juvenile Imperial Eagle, again on Pulau Ubin. The last record being on 18 Nov 2001, 15 years ago. First photographed on the 19th, the Imperial Eagle was relocated on the 27th at the same spot and appeared there everyday till the 31st, giving birders here a great opportunity to see this rarity. A juvenile Imperial Eagle photographed on the 24th at the eastern part of Singapore main island was most likely the same individual. As is the case with migrant eagles, this individual was occasionally mobbed by resident House Crows and Brahminy Kites.

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Eastern Imperial Eagle, juvenile, Pulau Ubin, 28 Dec 2016, by Frankie Cheong

A dark morph Booted Eagle was still wintering at Pulau Punggol Barat and the nearby areas, being recorded on the 3rd, 10th, 17th and 26th. Two Ospreys were recorded around the usual areas near the northern coast of Singapore. For the Accipiters, six Japanese Sparrowhawks were recorded, but none for the Chinese Sparrowhawk. Five Peregrine Falcons (3 juveniles, 1 adult, 1 un-aged) were recorded around the island, quite a good number for this uncommon species.

A total of 36 Black Bazas were recorded on the northern areas from Sungei Buloh to Pasir Ris, the largest flock being 15-strong at Punggol Barat. For the Oriental Honey Buzzard, 45 were recorded, the largest flock comprised 11 birds at Sungei Buloh on the 3rd, probably on migration. On the 15th, there was a sight report of a juvenile Rufous-bellied Hawk-Eagle, which cannot be verified due to the possibility of confusion with other similar-looking species.

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White-bellied Sea Eagle, immature, Pulau Ubin, 27 Dec 2016, by Tan Gim Cheong

Highlights for sedentary species:

By the 22nd, the Grey-headed Fish Eagle chick on the nest at Little Guilin had fledged – another successful nesting for the species at the same locality. Other records of this fish eagle came from Kranji Marshes (on 10th & 26th) and Pulau Ubin (on 15th & 29th).

The Crested Goshawk was recorded from the Botanic Gardens (adult on 3rd & 13th), West Coast Park (juvenile on 7th & 20th) and Sengkang Floating Wetlands (juvenile on 17th).  There were 2 torquatus Oriental Honey Buzzzards; the adult tweeddale morph recorded at Pasir Ris Park the previous month was still around on the 10th, 17th and 21st, while a juvenile tweeddale morph first recorded last month at Ang Mo Kio was photographed at the nearby Bishan Park on the 24th and 25th.

For the Changeable Hawk-Eagle, it was notable that nesting was observed at Mount Faber on the 20th. The White-bellied Sea Eagle, Brahminy Kite, and Black-winged Kite completed the roundup for the month.

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Many thanks to everyone who had reported their sightings in one way or another, and especially to Robin Tan, Yip Peng Sun, Thio Hui Bing and Frankie Cheong for the use of their photos.

For a pdf version with more details, please click singapore-raptor-report-dec16

 

 

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6 thoughts on “Singapore Raptor Report – December 2016

  1. Lim Kim Chye

    Hi Gim Cheong, A very exciting December for raptorphiles in Singapore and well reported by your goodself. Can I please have your permission to stretches with raptor enthusiasts in Malaysia? Cheers!

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  2. Arthur Blakemore

    A great list of sightings for Singapore. Now there are more good birders who are more capable in identification, important to keep getting the children and teenagers involved. We should always take the time to teach the young ones, field trips and involvement in club meetings and activities etc.

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    1. Alan OwYong

      Thanks Arthur for your suggestions. The new BG chair has identified this as one of our priorities for the next three years. We have single out many young birders that we want to nature. one of them is Raghav which we featured in our interview page and posted a few of his articles. we can do more by trying to rope them in our surveys and censuses. We plan to hold mentoring workshops for them this year.

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  3. Yoonli Leow

    HI Singapore Bird Group

    I checked Graig Robson’s book on Birds of South East Asia, and found only one juvenile Rufous Bellied Eagle description which matched a raptor seen with binoculars at Tuas South on 17 Dec around 9am. It inspected me by flying above me for 3 to 4 rounds, I saw its right eye has thin dark stripe surrounding the eye and extending forward and backward of the eye, but not to the nape. Its under belly is almost totally white biege with indistinct dark markings.

    Leow Yoon Li

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    1. TAN Gim Cheong Post author

      Hi Yoon Li,

      great, it’s entirely possible for a Rufous-bellied Eagle to show up there.

      Nevertheless, do look out for juvenile Changeable Hawk-Eagle which looks very similar, is more common and has been seen there a number of times. The real bird can be much paler than the drawing in Robson’s Birds of Southeast Asia.

      Happy birding 🙂

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