Singapore Bird Report – April 2018

April continues to see the exodus of migratory species as well as breeding records.  Key species were a rarely encountered Malayan Night Heron, a juvenile, at Singapore Botanic Gardens, and an Indian Pond Heron seen at Bidadari. 

MNH, 230418, Feroz Fizah

The juvenile Malayan Night Heron photographed at the Singapore Botanic Gardens by Feroz Fizah on 23 April 2018.

A trickle of migratory birds continue to be reported. Eight Japanese Sparrowhawk Accipiter gularis were spotted flying north by Francis Yap over Jelutong Tower on 1 April 2018. An Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii was seen at Bidadari by TT Koh on 4 April 2018, while Art Toh spotted a Black-capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata at West Coast Park on 5 April 2018. Between 6 and 7 April 2018, a Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx nisicolor was spotted at Pasir Ris Park by Harry Geno-Oehlers, Geri Lim and Art Toh.

IPH, 040418, TT Koh

An Indian Pond Heron photographed at Bidadari by T T Koh on 4 April 2018.

April’s first weekend also yielded a singing Green-backed Flycatcher Ficedula elisae by Yong Ding Li, Kozi Ichiyama and Geoff Lim, which was rather remarkable, given that the normal place to hear this flycatcher’s song would be “the montane broadleaved forest ecosystems of the Taihang-Wuling Mountains in Shanxi-Hebei-Beijing”; as well as two Dark-sided Flycatchers Muscicapa sibirica chasing each other in the canopy of an emergent tree. The birds were seen inside the Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR) on 7 April 2018. In addition, seven Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres and a globally endangered Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris were spotted by Lim Kim Keang on Pulau Seduku off Pulau Ubin during an NSS/NParks Comprehensive Ubin Bird Survey on 8 April 2018, while Vincent Lao spotted an Eastern-crowned Warbler Phylloscopus coronatus within the CCNR and Pary Sivaraman spotted a female Von Schrenck’s Bittern Ixobrychus eurhythmus in the north-western part of Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR).

GBFC, 070418, Kozi

The Green-backed Flycatcher in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve by Kozi Ichiyama on 7 April 2018.

Breeding activity was reported across several locations during the first week of April.  Lim Kim Chuah spotted a juvenile House Sparrow Passer domesticus on Jurong Island on 1 April 2018, a possible sign of successful breeding. A Malaysian Pied Fantail Rhipidura javanica was reported by Alan Owyong to be feeding two chicks, assessed to be a few days old, at Jurong Eco-Garden (JEG) on 2 April 2018, while on 4 April 2018, Yong Ding Li saw a White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis nesting around the vicinity of the Bukit Batok MRT Station. Two days later on 6 April 2018, Luke Milo Teo spotted a juvenile Greater Green Leafbird Chloropsis sonnerati while surveying Dairy Farm Nature Park (DFNP). Notable residents seen include a Rufous-tailed Tailorbird Orthotomus sericeus at Bukit Batok Nature Park (BBNP) by Vincent Lao; a Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting at Lorong Halus by Serin Subaraj; and a pair of Spotted Wood Owl Strix seluputo at Goldhill Avenue by Phua Joo Yong on 1 April 2018. Also, Gahyathree Arasu spotted a Lesser Adjutant at SBWR on the same day; this was further substantiated by Lee Van Hien, who saw three birds there on 3 April 2018. Ong Ruici heard a Violet Cuckoo Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus passing over the National Biodiversity Centre on 5 April 2018; the call was verified by Albert Low.

GGLB, 120418, Luke Milo Teo

A juvenile Greater Green Leafbird Dairy Farm Nature Park by Luke Milo Teo on 12 April 2018.

Apart from the Turnstones and Knot encountered during the NSS/NParks Comprehensive Ubin Bird Survey on 8 April 2018, a Great-billed Heron Ardea sumatrana was seen by Roger Boey at its nest, which contained one chick,  at Balai Quarry. This nesting was first spotted by Francis Yap on 11 March. During the same survey, participants also recorded a Black Hornbill Anthracoceros malayanus, Mangrove Pitta Pitta megarhyncha, Violet Cuckoo Chrysococccyx xanthorhynchus and Asian Palmswift Cypsiurus balasiensis. The same Sunday also yielded a Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinnus at Kranji Marshes, seen by Kelvin Leong.

The second week of April yielded fewer reports of migratory birds. On 9 April 2018, Hima Venkateswaran found a roosting site at Bedok Ria for about 40-plus Blue-throated Bee-eater Merops viridis. Reports, by Tay Kian Guan, of a juvenile Black Kite Milvus migrans mingling with up to 24 Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus at the Choa Chu Kang Christian Cemetery on 12 April 2018, feeding on scraps thrown by a contractor, filtered across local social media circles. On 15 April 2018, See Toh Wai Yew reported seeing a Yellow-rumped Flycatcher Ficedula xanthopygia at Goldhill Avenue, while Pier Chua spotted a Malayan Night Heron Gorsachius melanolophus at the Evolution Garden located inside SBG. Resident species reported included, a nesting Lineated Barbet Megalaima lineata on 9 April 2018 by Doreen Ang at BBNP, and a Tanimbar Corella Cacatua goffiniana excavating a nest hole in a dead tree at Goldhill Avenue. Veronica Foo, along with Siew Mun, spotted Blue-rumped Parrot Psittinus cyanurus feeding on starfruit inside Venus Loop on 11 April 2018.

BK, 160418, Tan Eng Boo

The Black Kite at Lim Chu Kang, photographed by Tan Eng Boo on 16 April 2018.

Fewer migratory species were reported during the third week. A Pacific Swift Apus pacificus was spotted by Tay Kian Guan on 18 April 2018 at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (BTNR), while the Malayan Night Heron Gorsachius melanolophus was spotted again on 18 April 2018 by Lee Chin Pong  and attracted many birders and photographers until the last sighting on 23 April 2018. Fadzrun Adnan also sighted a Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher Cyornis brunneatus at Pulau Hantu during a pelagic trip on 21 April 2018, while an adult Tiger Shrike Lanius tigrinus was reported by several birders and photographers at Bishan Park on 22 April 2018. On the same weekend, Alfred Chia reported hearing three Blue-winged Pitta Pitta moluccensis on Pulau Ubin.

Tiger Shrike, Angela Yeo

A male Tiger Shrike was spotted at Bishan Park; photo taken by Angela Yeo on 21 April 2018.

Resident species reported during this week include a Changeable Hawk Eagle Nisaetus cirrhatus  nest with one chick at Kranji Marshes, by Clarinda Yap on 16 April 2018; a Grey-headed Fish-eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus at Seletar Camp by Timothy Chua and Asian Palmswift Cypsiurus balasiensis at SBG by Richard Zhang on 18 April 2018, as well as House Swift Apus nipalensis, Black-crested Bulbul Pycnonotus flaviventris, and Thick-billed Green Pigeon Treron curvirostra  by Tay Kian Guan at BTNR on the same day. On 20 April 2018, a possible sighting of the rare White-bellied Woodpecker Dryopus javensis was reported to NSS; Ana Maria Conzalez told a NSS volunteer seeking to verify her report that she saw the woodpecker from her balcony inside the grounds of Tanglin Park. On 21 April 2018, Alvin Seng spotted an adult Yellow-crested Cockatoo Cacatua sulphurea with two young birds at Pasir Ris Park, while Siew Mun reported seeing a Sunda Scops Owl Otus lempiji at BTNR. A white morph Pacific Reef Egret Egretta sacra was spotted by Lim Kim Keang at West Coast Park on 22 April 2018, while Alfred Chia reported seeing a Banded Bay Cuckoo Cacomantis sonneratii on Pulau Ubin.

YC Cockatoo, Alvin Seng

Yellow-crested Cockatoos spotted by Alvin Seng at Pasir Ris Park on 24 April 2018.

The final week of April yielded reports of a possible Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii in transitional plumage by Terence Tan in Bishan Park on 23 April, while Bidadari yielded a Dark-sided Flycatcher Muscicapa sibirica and a Malayan Night Heron Gorsachius melanolophus flying over the former hotspot on the same day, by Feroz Fizah and Martin Kennewell, respectively. An Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii subsequently appeared at Bidadari on 26 April, and reported by See Toh Wai Yew and Pary Sivaraman, among others. On 29 April, Fadzrun Adnan spotted a Pallas’ Grasshopper Warbler Locustella certhiola at Kranji Marshes.

IPH, Pary

As the migratory species made their way back to their breeding grounds, resident species were observed and reported by local birders and photographers. Alan Owyong reported seeing a few Long-tailed Parakeets Psittacula longicauda feeding with two Blue-rumped Parrots Psittinus cyanurus on starfruit in Venus Loop on 23 April 2018. On the same day, Oliver Tan saw a Ruddy-breasted Crake Porzana fusca at Bidadari; an Abbott’s Babbler Malacocincla abbotti was seen and photographed on 24 April 2018 at SBWR by Stuart Campbell while James Lambert saw a Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis cerulinus at Nanyang Technological University on 25 April 2018.

Abbotts Bab, Stuart

An Abbott’s Babbler spotted by Stuart Campbell at SBWR on 24 April 2018.

The weekend yielded several finds, including a dead adult Spotted Wood Owl Strix seloputo at Bartley on 28 April 2018 by Gina Koh; a White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata at Lorong Halus by Meilin Khoo, a possible escapee or released bird, also on 28 April 2018, and a Little Bronze Cuckoo Chrysococcyx minutillus on Coney Island on 29 April 2018 by Tan Kok Hui.  Observers who spent time at DFNP over the weekend were rewarded. Khong Yew reported seeing Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu on 28 April 2018, which was further substantiated by Lim Kim Keang who saw three birds on 29 April 2018. Lim Kim Chuah spotted a Banded Bay Cuckoo Cacomantis sonneratii on 29 April 2018, while Alan OwYong spotted four Plume-toed Swiftlets Collocalia affinis with Pary Sivaraman, and a male and female Blue-winged Leafbird Chloropsis cochinchinensis.

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-Garden

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 Feroz Fizah, TT Koh, Kozi Ichiyama, Luke Milo Teo, Tan Eng Boo, Angela Yeo, Alvin Seng, Pary Sivaraman, Stuart Campbell, and Arasu Sivaraman for the use of their photos. 

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