Singapore Raptor Report – October 2019

OHB, 191019, HW, Zacc, crop

Oriental Honey Buzzard, juvenile, showing its long neck and slim bill, at Henderson Waves, 19 Oct 2019, by Zacc HD

Summary for migrant species:

October 2019 is as remarkable as last year, with 11 migrant species recorded (we usually record around 9 species in October). Henderson Waves continued to be a popular place to watch migrating raptors. A total of 712 migrant raptors were recorded, with another 48 unidentified accipiters, which are likely to be migrants too.

The most numerous were the 425 Oriental Honey Buzzards, followed by 135 Japanese Sparrowhawks, and 130 Chinese Sparrowhawks (quite a jump compared to last October’s 57). Notably no Black Baza was recorded.

Besra, 181019, Jelutong, Fryap 6, crop

Besra, juvenile, note the lightly marked underwing coverts and strong mesial stripe, at Jelutong Tower, 18 Oct 2019, by Francis Yap

A rare Besra was photographed by Francis Yap at Jelutong Tower on the 18th and amazingly, another at Henderson Waves on the 31st, photographed by both Deborah Friets and Looi Ang Soh Hoon, lucky birders indeed. Both the Besras were juveniles. Another rarity was the Common Kestrel, seen and photographed at Tuas South on the 5th.

Booted Eagles are now harder to see as they no longer seem to winter here, occurring only as passage migrants, but Keita Sin got lucky at Henderson Waves on the 30th, photographing one as it flew over. The uncommon Grey-faced Buzzard was only recorded on the 30th – two birds at Henderson Waves in the morning and one at Bukit Timah summit in the afternoon.

Common Kestrel, 051019, Tuas Sth St 13, Fryap, crop

Common Kestrel, at Tuas South, on 5 Oct 2019, by Francis Yap

The Eastern Marsh Harrier was recorded on passage at Kranji Dam on the 7th (a juvenile); at Kranji Marshes on the 14th (a female); and on the 28th, one juvenile was first photographed at Seletar at 9:01am and thereafter at Jelutong Tower at 9:28am.

The Common Buzzard was recorded at the Southern Ridges area only – a juvenile dark morph at Kent Ridge on the 11th, two adult pale morphs at Henderson Waves on the 12th, a juvenile pale morph at Henderson Waves on the 20th, and another juvenile pale morph at Kent Ridge on the 24th. (Note: the various subspecies are ‘lumped’ as Buteo buteo in the NSS bird checklist).

CB, 121019, HW, AST, crop

Common Buzzard, at Henderson Waves, on 12 Oct 2019, by Adrian Silas Tay

Four migrant Peregrine Falcons were recorded – one adult at Sembawang (21st & 25th), one at Dairy Farm Nature Park (26th), on at Lorong Halus (28th), and one at the Southern Ridges (20th, 21st & 27th). Two Western Ospreys were recorded, one at the Sungei Buloh and one at Henderson Waves.


The 2nd Besra, a juvenile, note the lightly marked underwing coverts, mesial stripe and streaked body, at Henderson Waves, 31 Oct 2019, by Deborah Friets

Highlights for sedentary species:

There were two records for the locally scarce Crested Serpent Eagle, one at Henderson Waves on the 14th and another at Neo Tiew Harvest Link on the 18th; five records for the  Grey-headed Fish Eagle, one each at Pandan, Botanic Gardens, Coney Island and two at Henderson Waves; five records for the Crested Goshawk, one each at Satay by the Bay, Pasir Ris Park, Woodlands Street 81, and two at the Henderson Wave – Kent Ridge area. were observed mating at West Coast Park. Then on 23 Oct, 2 chicks of the were seen on a nest at Woodlands. These  are good signs for our resident raptors.

On 5th Oct, a Peregrine Falcon of the resident ernesti subspecies recorded at Henderson Waves; and on 30th Oct, a torquatus Oriental Honey Buzzard was photographed at Bukit Timah summit by Alan OwYong. The other resident raptors recorded included four Black-winged Kites at Tuas and two at Kranji Marshes; eleven Changeable Hawk-Eagles; and the common Brahminy Kite and White-bellied Sea Eagle. To streamline the report, only notable records, such as breeding-related or interesting behaviour, will be reported for the last two species.

Capture Table

For more details, please click Singapore Raptor Report – October 2019

Many thanks to everyone who had reported their sightings in one way or another, and especially to Zacc HD, Deborah Friets, Adrian Silas Tay and Francis Yap for the use of their photos.

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