Singapore Raptor Report, Late Spring Migration, April-June 2018

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Oriental Honey Buzzard with what appears to be ‘landing lights’ at the shoulders! Goldhill Avenue, 6 April, 2018, by Zacc HD.

Summary:

Six migrant raptor species were recorded in the April to June period, a 50% increase compared to the previous year. The ‘additional’ species were the Black Kite and Black Baza. The other four species are regulars during this period – the Osprey, Oriental Honey-buzzard, Japanese Sparrowhawk and Peregrine Falcon.

A juvenile Black Kite Milvus migrans, a scarce visitor, was photographed at Choa Chu Kang christian cemetery on the 12th, scavenging on leftover food together with more than 20 Brahminy Kites; the kite was there for five days, from the 12-16 April. A single Black Baza Aviceda leuphotes was recorded at Pulau Ubin on 3 April.

Of the 22 Oriental Honey Buzzards Pernis ptilorhyncus recorded, one was of the torquatus race and at least 13 were of the orientalis race. Of the orientalis race, all were juveniles or second calendar year birds – six of these young birds were recorded in April, 4 in May and 3 in June. Interestingly, Zacc HD photographed an individual, at Goldhill Avenue in April, that showed features that looked like ‘landing lights’ (white patches) at the shoulders, which could lead the uninitiated to think that they had seen a Booted Eagle. The single torquatus was recorded only on one day, on 6 May at Bukit Timah near the hill top.

Records of the Japanese Sparrowhawk Accipiter gularis spanned from 1-20 April. Eight were seen at Jelutong Tower on the 1st, flying north; up to three were on Pulau Ubin, with the rest being singles at Dairy Farm Nature Park, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR), Kranji Marshes, Choa Chu Kang, and the last one at Jelutong Tower on the 20th.

Five Peregrine Falcons Falco peregrinus were recorded, one at Kranji Marshes-SBWR area in April, one each at Pulau Ubin and Bishan Park in April, and one each at Neptune Court and Goldhill Avenue in May. A single Western Osprey Pandion haliaetus was recorded at the Kranji Marshes-SBWR area from April to June, and another at Seletar in April and May.

CHE, 200418, KM, male of a nesting pair, female dark morph, TGC_1575

Changeable Hawk Eagle, a young pale morph male still in immature plumage, judged to be a second year bird, that paired with a dark morph female to raise a chick at Kranji Marshes, in flight after delivering food to the nest, 20 April 2018, by Tan Gim Cheong

Sedentary Raptors

One Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela was present at Goldhill Avenue area in April and May, with the exception of 9 April when two birds were seen. In addition, one individual was recorded at SBWR on 6 June.

For the Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus, there were 2 records each in April and May, and one in June. Next, for the Grey-headed Fish Eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus, there were 2 at Springleaf Nature Park and one at Seletar Camp in April, and one each at SBWR and Singapore Quarry in June.

One Black-winged Kite Elanus caeruleus was recorded at Kranji Marshes in April and May, and another at Yio Chu Kang in May.  The common Brahminy Kite Haliastur Indus was recorded in all 3 months and a maximum of 24 were recorded at Choa Chu Kang Christian cemetery in April, feeding on food scraps. 

Breeding Records

Three nestings of the White-bellied Sea Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster were observed during this period, one at Bukit Merah/SGH with at least one fledgling in early May, another at West Coast Park with at least one fledgling in early June and the best known one at Fort Canning with two chicks fledging in June.

A nest of the  Changeable Hawk-Eagle Nisaetus cirrhatus, with one dark morph adult and a young chick covered in white down on an Albizia tree at Kranji Marshes, was first reported on 3 April. During observations in April and May, the dark morph adult was usually present with the chick. The male, a pale morph and smaller in size compared to the dark morph, was observed to deliver food on the morning of 20 April and 19 May, leaving soon after on both occasions, leaving the female to feed the prey to the chick. Interestingly, the male was still in typical immature plumage with little streaking on breast and judged to be a second calendar year individual.

Nocturnal Raptors

A Sunda Scops Owl Otus lempiji flew into an apartment at Hougang Central on the night of 3 May surprising Janani Srinivasan, and the bird was guided out safely. On 24 May, Peter Ding had the good luck of encountering a Barred Eagle Owl Bubo sumatranus near Singapore Quarry and managed to photograph it. An Eastern Barn Owl Tyto delicatula was found at a Sims Drive condominium on 2 April, and another roosting in a stand of trees by the seaside along a path at Punggol end on 9 Jun, during the day. An unfortunate Spotted Wood Owl Strix seloputo was found dead on 28 April at Bartley.

Breeding Records of Nocturnal Raptors

The Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupu fledgling at SBWR was seen on 3 April and 20 May. A Spotted Wood Owl chick, partially covered in white downy feathers, fell to the ground at Pasir Ris Park on 5 April and was placed back onto the tree by rescuers (it had previously fallen on 23 March and similarly rescued). The same chick had reportedly fledged on 21 April but was found on the ground, unable to clamber up the trees, and was again placed back onto the tree. By 25 April the young owl appeared to have truly fledged. A family of Sunda Scops Owl Otus lempiji, with a fledgling, was present at Pasir Ris Park (PRP) on several days in May, roosting in a dense stand of small trees.

For a pdf version with more details, please click Singapore Raptor Report, Late Spring Migration, Apr-Jun 2018, v2

Many thanks to everyone for sending in / sharing their records and to Zacc HD for the use of his photo.

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