By Lim Kim Chuah
The 2019 Annual Bird Census (ABC) was conducted on 24 March. Weather was generally fine at all the 17 sites covered. Another three sites on Ubin which were counted on 10 March as part of the Comprehensive Ubin Survey Monthly Survey were also added. This brings the number of sites counted to 20. The three sites counted on Ubin represented the sites which were traditionally counted during the ABC.
A total of 5,575 birds was counted, a 66% increase (2,207) compared to 2018. The number of species counted was 143 species, an increase compared to 137 species in 2018. The increases in both numbers and species counted in 2019 compared to 2018 could be due to the increase in the number of sites counted, 20 versus 17.
Some highlights from this year’s census include:
- Asian Openbill – 1 at Buloh Route 1
- Ashy Drongo – 1 at Telok Blangah
- Black Bittern – 1 each at Bishan Park and Dairy Farm Nature Park
- Black-browed Reed-Warbler – 1 at Kranji Marsh
- Blue-rumped Parrot – 4 at Bukit Batok West (Sadly, this is likely to be the last year that this site will be covered as the place is currently being developed into the Tengah New Town)
- Blue-winged Pitta – 1 at Lower Pierce and at Bukit Batok West and 3 at Poyan
- Chestnut-bellied Malkoha – 1 at Poyan
- Chestnut-winged Cuckoo – 1 at Halus
- Cinnamon Bittern – 1 at Buloh Route 2 and 1 at Kranji Marsh
- Crested Serpent Eagle – 1 at Malcolm Park
- Dark-sided Flycatcher – 1 at Lower Pierce Reservoir
- Great-billed Heron – 2 at Buloh Route 1, 1 at Buloh 2, 1 at Lower Seletar, 2 at Ubin East
- Green Imperial Pigeon – 1 at Pasir Ris Park
- Large Hawk Cuckoo – 1 at Pasir Ris Park
- Lesser Adjutant – 2 at Buloh Route 1 and 1 at Kranji Marsh
- Lesser Whistling Duck – 11 at Buloh Route 2
- Little Grebe – 2 at Lorong Halus and 1 at Ubin East
- Oriental Pratincole – 2 at Ubin West
- Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler – 1 at Kranji Marsh
- Straw-headed Bulbul – 46 counted at 8 locations with most of them from Ubin
- Violet Cuckoo – 2 at Poyan
- Watercock – 1 at Kranji Marsh
Despite the increase in number of birds counted this year compared to 2018, the total is still below the last 10 years’ average of 7,356. This could be attributed to the lesser number of sites counted due largely to the lack of manpower which meant some key sites like Sungei Mandai had to be left out in 2019.
Chart below shows the total number of birds and species counted from 2010-19:
Chinese Garden turned out to be the site with the highest number of birds counted (432). And Kranji Marsh remained the site with the highest number of species counted (73).
Chart below shows the number of birds counted at each site:
Chart below shows the number of species counted at each site:
And again, it was not surprising that our ubiquitous Javan Myna is the most numerous birds counted, reclaiming its position from the Asian Glossy Starling which it relinquished to in 2018.
NSS Bird Group would like to thank the following volunteers for participating and helping with the census. Without their support, we would not have been able to continue to monitor the state of the birdlife here in Singapore all these years.
Lee Ee Ling, KP Teh, Alfred Chia, Veronica Foo, Wing Chong, John Spencer, Keita Sin, Danny Lau, Nessie Khoo, Alvin Seng, Terry and Jane Heppell, Francis Chia, Betty Shaw, Steven Shields, Alan Owyong, Con Foley, Yan Jiejun, Tan Kok Hui, Eunice Kong, Lee Bee Yong, Milton Tan, Beh Swee Hua, John Marriott, Woo Lai Choo, Cheng Li Ai, Pary Sivaraman, Arasu Sivaraman, Gahyatree Arasu, Lena Chow, Kong Lai Peng, Anandaraman Sivakumar, Patricia Lorenz, Jean-Marc Chavatte, Yong Jun Zer, Lim Jia Xuan and Lim Li Fang.