Singapore Bird Report – August 2019

by Geoff Lim & Tan Gim Cheong (ed.)

Two non-descript little brown birds (known by birders worldwide as “little brown jobs”) dominated everyone’s attention during the first portion of August 2019. Also reported were the arrival of our familiar migrants, such as the plovers, sandpipers and Common Kingfisher, across the island.  

A visiting Brown-streaked Flycatcher Muscicapa williamsoni turned up in an urban park located within Choa Chu Kang on 9 August 2019 (Lim Joseph) and was present until 16 August 2019. The bird was distinguished from other flycatchers by a distinct pattern of its  wing coverts and tertials. Sometimes considered a race of the Asian Brown Flycatcher Muscicapa daurica, this species is known to breed in SE Myanmar, S Thailand to NW Malaysia. Non-breeding birds have been reported at Singapore, Sumatra and W Borneo (Clement & Bonan, 2019).

1

Brown-streaked Flycatcher at Choa Chu Kang taken on 10 August 2019 by Khoo Mei Lin

When the excitement over this little brown job dissipated somewhat, the news of a Mangrove Whistler Pachycephala cinerea at Jurong Eco-Garden electrified the community of local birders and photographers alike. Discovered on 19 August 2019 by Andrew Wood, who reached out through Instagram, for the identify of the bird, it continued to be seen until 26 August 2019 (Feroz Ghazali). Mangrove Whistlers previously recorded on mainland Singapore were mainly confined to the east in places such as Pulau Ubin and Pasir Ris Park. We can only speculate whether this brief western sighting was of a bird fleeing development in southern Johor or part of a small resident population lurking in the west.

2

Mangrove Whistler at Jurong Eco-Garden on 19 August 2019 by Andrew Wood.

The Mangrove Whistler is more likely to be seen at Pulau Hantu Besar, a short boat ride from the mainland. It is also found at Pulau Tekong. Historically, there are even records from Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.

Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR) & Fringes

On 2 August 2019, a Barred Eagle-Owl Bubo sumatranus perched in a tree along the Treetop Walk surprised Naomi Kim, who reported the sighting. Seven days later on 9 August 2019, a Chestnut-winged Babbler Stachyris erythroptera was heard within the CCNR boundaries by Martin Kennewell.  A House Swift Apus nipalensis was subsequently spotted within the reserve on 23 August 2019 by Oliver Tan.

3

One of the Singapore Quarry Barred Eagle-Owls taken on 21 August 2019 by Francis Yap.

From the Singapore Quarry came a report of a Violet Cuckoo Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus, on 1 August 2019 (Herman Phua). The quarry’s family of two adult and one juvenile Barred Eagle-Owl Bubo sumatranus received a strong following and were variously reported to have appeared on 1 August (Wee Boon), 7 August (Norhafiani A. Majid), 9 August (Liz How – male & juvenile), 12 August (Low Choon How), 19 August (John Marriott), 21 August (Francis Yap), 24 August (Art Toh) and 26 August (Raymond Poon).

Further afield at Bukit Batok Nature Park (BBNP), an adult Little Spiderhunter Arachnothera longirostra was reported to be feeding two juveniles on 15 August 2019 by Sim Chip Chye, who also reported that he encountered two juveniles the day before (14 August 2019). Also spotted within the Park was a Common Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica on 25 August 2019 by Lim Sheen Taw; Van Hasselt’s Sunbird Leptocoma brasiliana on 26 August 2019 by Terence Tan; and three Violet Cuckoo Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus on 30 Aug 19 by Dave Koh and Sim Chip Chye.

4

Two juvenile Little Spiderhunters begging an adult at BBNP on 15 August 2019 by Sim Chip Chye

A fruiting tree at Wallace Centre, Dairy Farm Nature Park (DFNP) during the final week of August attracted several forest and urban species, including Lineated Barbet Megalaima lineata on 27 August 2019 by Alan Owyong; bulbuls (Asian Red-eyed Bulbul Pycnonotus brunneus and Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus goiavier on 27 August 2019 by Alan Owyong); pigeons (Pink-necked Green Pigeon Treron vernans on 27 August 2019 by Alan Owyong, and Thick-billed Green Pigeon Treron curvirostra on 27th by Alan Owyong, 28th (one male and one female – by Kok M Lee and Kelvin Ng Cheng Kwan) and 31st by Yang Chee Meng). Also spotted were Asian Fairy-bluebird Irena puella and Asian Glossy Starling Aplonis panayensis on 27 August 2019 by Alan Owyong.

Singapore Botanic Gardens

A Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis was spotted at the Eco Pond on 23 August by Khoo Meilin. A juvenile Grey-headed Fish Eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus, was spotted at the Learning Forest on 25 August 2019 by Art Toh, while on the same day a Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis, was seen at the Eco Pond by Guo Hui.

7

Grey-headed Fish-eagle at Singapore Botanic Gardens on 25 August 2019 by Art Toh

Northern Singapore

Visitors to the Seletar Dam noted the presence of the Malaysian Plover Charadrius peronii, on 4 August 2019 (Oliver Tan, one immature bird), on 17 August 2019 (Ramesh T) and on 18 August 2019 (Martin Kennewell). A white morph Pacific Reef Heron Egretta sacra, was also seen on 29 August 2019 (Pary Sivaraman).

Also seen during the month were migratory shorebirds, including a Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus, on 18 August 2019 (Martin Kennewell), three Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva, on 24 August 2019 (Khoo Mei Lin) and a Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus, on 28 August 2019 (Steven Cheong). Farther afield, a total of 74 Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva, were counted on 31 August 2019 by Zahidi Hamid.

9

Part of the group of 74 Pacific Golden Plover counted at Seletar on 31 August 2019 by Zahidi Hamid.

 

Apart from the resident Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis at Lorong Halus Wetland, of which one was seen on 22 August 2019 (Leong Wai Kai), one low flying Eastern Barn Owl Tyto delicatula was spotted ten days prior, on 12 August 19, by Choong YT.

Eastern Singapore

The birds reported from Pasir Ris Park include a Green Imperial Pigeon Ducula aenea seen on 21 August 2019 (Lo Chun Fai); a pair of Rufous Woodpecker Micropternus brachyurus on 23 August 2019 (Feroz Ghazali); one Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus a Sunda Scops Owl Otus lempiji, the family of three Spotted Wood Owl Strix seloputo, a pair of Stork-billed Kingfisher Pelargopsis capensis, and a female Laced Woodpecker Picus vittatus, by James Tann, as well as a Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis by Lo Chun Fai on 25 August 2019.

10

One of the two Rufous Woodpeckers spotted at PRP on 23 August 2019 by Feroz Ghazali.

Further away at the Tampines Eco-Green, a Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis was seen on 18 August 2019 (Khoo Mei Lin) as was a single Savanna Nightjar Caprimulgus affinis on 28 August 2019 (Alvin Seng); while four Green Imperial Pigeon Ducula aenea were spotted on 10 August 2019 at Changi Business Park by Ramesh T.

11

Savanna Nightjar at Tampines Eco-Green on 28 August 2019 by Alvin Seng.

 

On 3 August 2019, the following waders were seen feeding, by Danny Lau, on a sandbar at Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin:

  • Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola (5)
  • Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus (2)
  • Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus (1)

The next day, 4 August 2019, a team comprising Martin Kennewell, Adrian Silas Tay & Francis Yap saw the following at Chek Jawa during the low tide:

  • Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola (9 birds)
  • Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus, (8 birds)
  • Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus (1 bird)
  • Red-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis (3 birds)

Frankie Cheong, our harbinger of excitement from Pulau Tekong, reported an Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia and a Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius on 1 August 2019 from the island.

Southern Singapore

The Gardens by the Bay, Satay by the Bay and nearby environs received reports of a Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinus on 10 August at the Gardens by Evelyn Lee, and a Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus on 25 and 26 August 2019 at Satay by the Bay by Siew Mun and Sim Chip Chye, respectively.

12

Crested Goshawk spotted at Satay by the Bay on 25 August 2019 by Siew Mun.

 

Farther afield, a pair of Malaysian Plover Charadrius peronii were seen at Marina Barrage on 2 and 7 August 2019 by T. Ramesh and several photographers, who posted their sightings on social media. On 26 August 2019, a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo Cacatua galerita was spotted on Sentosa island by John Marriot.

Western Singapore

The Kranji-Lim Chu Kang-Turut corridor had reports of Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius as early as 9 August 2019 at the Kranji Sanctuary Golf Course, Neo Tiew Harvest Lane and Lim Chu Kang Avenue 3  (Adrian Silas Tay), while other birds were spotted on 11 August (Lim Chu Kang Avenue 3 – Mike Hooper), 15 August 2019 (Neo Tiew Harvest Lane – Francis Yap), 12 August 2019 (Kranji Marsh – Peter Carr) and 17 August 2019 (Kranji Marsh  – Martin Kennewell). Also spotted were the Long-toed Stint Calidris subminuta on 11 August 2019 on a sandbar at Lim Chu Kang Avenue 3 by Mike Hooper and the Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva on 21 August 2019 at Neo Tiew Harvest Lane (Kok M Lee). Some Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus were seen at Lim Chu Kang Avenue 3 on 11 August 2019 by Mike Hooper and on 12 August 2019 by Tay Kian Guan. Also seen were a Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu on 20 August 2019 at Kranji Marsh by Steven Kurniawidjaja, who spotted its unmistakable emerald green plumage and pink face as it associated with Pink-necked Pigeon Treron vernans; a House Swift Apus nipalensis on 24 August 2019 at the marsh by Tan Kok Hui, and a dark morphed Changeable Hawk-Eagle Nisaetus cirrhatus feeding on its prey on 24 August 2019 at Turut Track by Koh Tse Hsien.

Over at the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR), Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus were seen on 12 August 2019 by YK Han and on 17 August 2019 by Martin Kennewell, while a Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus was seen on 20 August 2019 by Steven Kurniawidjaja.

_DSC0991

An adult Zitting Cisticolas with two fledged chicks at Jurong Lake Gardens on 24 August 2019. Photo by Norhafiani A. Majid.

The Jurong Lake Garden yielded two pairs of nesting Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis sometime around 26 August 2019 (Norhafiani A. Majid) while a Little Bronze Cuckoo Chrysococcyx minutillus was being fed by a Golden-bellied Gerygone at Jurong West on 1 August 2019, seen by Gan Lee Hsia. The Pandan River yielded a Crested Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus on 20 August 2019 (Sim Chip Chye) and a Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis on 23 August 2019 (Goh Zao Fa).  A dark morph Pacific Reef Heron Egretta sacra was seen at West Coast Park on 20 August 2019 by Steven Wong while House Swift Apus nipalensis continued to be reported at West Coast Drive on 24 August 2019 by Tay Kian Guan, who also reported seeing a Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupo in the canal just off Ghim Moh on 26 August 2019.

This report is written by Geoff Lim and edited by Tan Gim Cheong. We are grateful for the birders and photographers whose postings in various Facebook birding pages, bird forums, individual reports and extracts from eBird make up this report. This compilation is not a complete list of birds recorded for the month and not all the records were verified.

Many thanks to Khoo Mei Lin, Alvin Seng, Andrew Wood, Art Toh, Francis Yap, Zacc HD, Feroz Ghazali. Sim Chip Chye, Siew Mun, and Norhafiani A. Majid for allowing us to use their photographs.

REFERENCE

Clement, P. & Bonan, A. (2019). Asian Brown Flycatcher (Muscicapa dauurica). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/59025 on 30 September 2019).

LIST OF BIRDS REPORTED IN AUGUST 2019

Family Species Name Scientific Name Date
Podicipedidae Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis 22-Aug-19
Ciconiidae Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus 20-Aug-19
Ardeidae

 

Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia 1-Aug-19
Pacific Reef Heron Egretta sacra 29-Aug-19
Pacific Reef Heron Egretta sacra 20-Aug-19
Accipitridae

 

Crested Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus 20-Aug-19
Changeable Hawk-Eagle Nisaetus cirrhatus 27-Aug-19
Changeable Hawk-Eagle Nisaetus cirrhatus 24-Aug-19
Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus 25-Aug-19
Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus 25-Aug-19
Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus 26-Aug-19
Grey-headed Fish Eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus 25-Aug-19
Rallidae

 

Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus 11-Aug-19
Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus 12-Aug-19
Charadriidae

 

Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva 24-Aug-19
Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva 31 Aug 19
Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva 21-Aug-19
Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola 3-Aug-19
Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola 4-Aug-19
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius 1-Aug-19
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius 9-Aug-19
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius 9-Aug-19
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius 9-Aug-19
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius 11-Aug-19
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius 12-Aug-19
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius 15-Aug-19
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius 17-Aug-19
Malaysian Plover Charadrius peronii 4-Aug-19
Malaysian Plover Charadrius peronii 17-Aug-19
Malaysian Plover Charadrius peronii 18-Aug-19
Malaysian Plover Charadrius peronii 2-Aug-19
Malaysian Plover Charadrius peronii 7-Aug-19
Scolopacidae

 

Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus 3-Aug-19
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus 4-Aug-19
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus 18-Aug-19
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus 12-Aug-19
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus 17-Aug-19
Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus 3-Aug-19
Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus 4-Aug-19
Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus 28-Aug-19
Red-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis 4-Aug-19
Long-toed Stint Calidris subminuta 11-Aug-19
Columbidae

 

Common Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica 25-Aug-19
Pink-necked Green Pigeon Treron vernans 27-Aug-19
Thick-billed Green Pigeon Treron curvirostra 27-Aug-19
Thick-billed Green Pigeon Treron curvirostra 28-Aug-19
Thick-billed Green Pigeon Treron curvirostra 28-Aug-19
Thick-billed Green Pigeon Treron curvirostra 31 Aug 19
Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu 20-Aug-19
Green Imperial Pigeon Ducula aenea 10-Aug-19
Green Imperial Pigeon Ducula aenea 21-Aug-19
Cuculidae

 

Violet Cuckoo Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus 1-Aug-19
Violet Cuckoo Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus 30 Aug 19
Little Bronze Cuckoo Chrysococcyx minutillus 1-Aug-19
Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinus 10-Aug-19
Tytonidae Eastern Barn Owl Tyto delicatula 12-Aug-19
Strigidae

 

Sunda Scops Owl Otus lempiji 25-Aug-19
Barred Eagle-Owl Bubo sumatranus 1-Aug-19
Barred Eagle-Owl Bubo sumatranus 2-Aug-19
Barred Eagle-Owl Bubo sumatranus 7-Aug-19
Barred Eagle-Owl Bubo sumatranus 9-Aug-19
Barred Eagle-Owl Bubo sumatranus 12-Aug-19
Barred Eagle-Owl Bubo sumatranus 19-Aug-19
Barred Eagle-Owl Bubo sumatranus 21-Aug-19
Barred Eagle-Owl Bubo sumatranus 24-Aug-19
Barred Eagle-Owl Bubo sumatranus 26-Aug-19
Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupu 26-Aug-19
Spotted Wood Owl Strix seloputo 25-Aug-19
Caprimulgidae Savanna Nightjar Caprimulgus affinis 28-Aug-19
Apodidae

 

House Swift Apus nipalensis 23-Aug-19
House Swift Apus nipalensis 24-Aug-19
House Swift Apus nipalensis 24-Aug-19
House Swift Apus nipalensis 24-Aug-19
Alcedinidae

 

Stork-billed Kingfisher Pelargopsis capensis 25-Aug-19
Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis 4-Aug-19
Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis 18-Aug-19
Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis 25-Aug-19
Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis 25-Aug-19
Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis 23-Aug-19
Megalaimidae Lineated Barbet Megalaima lineata 27-Aug-19
Picidae

 

Laced Woodpecker Picus vittatus 25-Aug-19
Rufous Woodpecker Micropternus brachyurus 23-Aug-19
Rufous Woodpecker Micropternus brachyurus 29-Aug-19
Cacatuidae Sulphur-crested Cockatoo Cacatua galerita 26-Aug-19
Pachycephalidae

 

Mangrove Whistler Pachycephala cinerea 18-Aug-19
Mangrove Whistler Pachycephala cinerea 24-Aug-19
Mangrove Whistler Pachycephala cinerea 25-Aug-19
Mangrove Whistler Pachycephala cinerea 26-Aug-19
Pycnonotidae

 

Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus goiavier 27-Aug-19
Asian Red-eyed Bulbul Pycnonotus brunneus 27-Aug-19
Cisticolidae Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis 26-Aug-19
Timaliidae Chestnut-winged Babbler Stachyris erythroptera 9-Aug-19
Irenidae Asian Fairy-bluebird Irena puella 27-Aug-19
Sturnidae Asian Glossy Starling Aplonis panayensis 27-Aug-19
Muscicapidae

 

Brown-streaked Flycatcher Muscicapa williamsoni 10-Aug-19
Brown-streaked Flycatcher Muscicapa williamsoni 11-Aug-19
Brown-streaked Flycatcher Muscicapa williamsoni 12-Aug-19
Brown-streaked Flycatcher Muscicapa williamsoni 16-Aug-19
Nectariniidae

 

Van Hasselt’s Sunbird Leptocoma brasiliana 26-Aug-19
Little Spiderhunter Arachnothera longirostra 14-Aug-19
Little Spiderhunter Arachnothera longirostra 15-Aug-19

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