Monthly Archives: May 2020

Report on the 35th Annual Bird Census

Report on the 35th Annual Bird Census

By Lim Kim Seng

Asian Openbill 4

Five Asian Openbill Storks foraging at Kranji Marshes. Photo: Lim Kim Chuah.

The 35th Annual Bird Census (ABC) was conducted on 29th March 2020 just before the nation-wide “circuit breaker” kicked in. Organized by the NSS Bird Group, it saw the involvement of 39 members and volunteers at 26 sites all around Singapore. This is an improvement from last year when 39 counters covered 20 sites. Altogether, ABC 2020 logged a total of 6,342 birds and 147 species, an overall increase from 2019’s 5,496 birds and 143 species. This could be due to more sites been counted in 2020 as compared to 2019.

So what’s Singapore most abundant bird? If you are guessing Javan Myna, you’re wrong! It is the Asian Glossy Starling which scored 847 birds to beat Javan Myna, with 737 birds, into second place. Third was Pink-necked Green Pigeon (358), followed by a resurgent House Crow (256) and Yellow-vented Bulbul (250). The rest of the Top Ten species are Little Egret (186), Common Redshank (170), Black-naped Oriole (164), Spotted Dove (152) and the nationally threatened Grey Heron (149).

Last year’s fifth placing Pacific Golden Plover came in at 11th with 136 birds, down from 198 in 2020. In 12th position was Collared Kingfisher (124), followed by Olive-backed Sunbird (113), Olive-winged Bulbul (108), Pin-striped Tit-babbler (107), Common Iora (103), Rock Dove (101) and the globally near-threatened Long-tailed Parakeet (100). In 19th place was the Asian Openbill (98) that only invaded Singapore in huge numbers in late 2019. In 20th place was the ever-increasing introduced Red-breasted Parakeet (80).

The Top Twenty Species of 2020 are provided below:


What about the sites? The most species diverse sites were Kranji Marshes with 70 species. The mixed habitats of marshland, grassland and open woodland provided at Kranji for a high biodiversity. Coming a distant second was Sungei Buloh Route 2 which had 56 species and third was Kranji Dam, with 47 species. The least species diverse sites were Lower Seletar Dam (27), followed by Chinese Garden, Mount Faber and Pasir Ris Park, all with 28 species.


How about numbers? Well, the sites with the most number of birds counted were Sungei Buloh Route 1 with 495 birds counted followed by Sungei Buloh Route 2 (460) and Kranji Marshes (456). The sites with the least number of birds were Lower Peirce Reservoir with 80 birds, followed by Sime Track, Central Catchment Nature Reserve (130) and Bukit Batok Nature Park (137).


Rare and interesting migratory species found during ABC2020 included Peregrine Falcon, Grey Plover, Drongo Cuckoo, Indian Cuckoo, Blue-winged Pitta, Red-rumped Swallow, Yellow-browed Warbler. Eastern Crowned Warbler and Black-browed Reed Warbler. Globally threatened species included Lesser Adjutant (2 birds at Mandai Estuary), Straw-headed Bulbul (national count of 77 birds) and Greater Green Leafbird (2).

Nationally threatened specialties included Little Grebe (2 birds), Great-billed Heron (5), Changeable Hawk Eagle (9), Red-wattled Lapwing (11), Rusty-breasted Cuckoo (3), Mangrove Pitta (2 birds on Pulau Ubin), Asian Red-eyed Bulbul (7), Chestnut-winged Babbler (2), Oriental Magpie-robin (30) and White-rumped Shama (18)

This census would not have been possible if not for the counters who braved the elements and helped us to complete our 35th year of census. So, our grateful thanks to 39 volunteers.

Alan OwYong KP Teh Sin Yong Chee Keita
Alfred Chia Lee Bee Yong Steven Shields
Andrew Chow Leung Wei Kee Susan Knight
Atsuko Kawasaki Lim Kim Chuah Tan Kok Hui
Betty Shaw Lim Kim Keang Terry Heppell
Con Foley Martin Kennewell Twang Fangqi
Ding Li Yong Morten Strange Veronica Foo
Erika, Michelle Movin Nyanasengeran Willie Foo
Esther Kong MY Chan Wing Chong
Eunice Kong Nessie Khoo Yan Jiejun
Jane Heppell Ng Bee Choo Yap Wee Jin
John Spencer Ng Chay Tuan Yap Wee Jin
Kim Seng Lim Seng Beng Yeo Yong Yik Shih

Hope to see all of you again in 2021!

Birds Species Detectability in a HDB Heartland

Bird Species Detectability in a HDB Heartland

By Lim Kim Seng (

Fig 2-1

Javan Myna, a joint Top Most Detectable Species With Rock Dove and Asian Glossy Starling. Photo © Lim Kim Seng


This is a continuation of my studies of birds outside my balcony window in a HDB heartland called Woodlands. In the previous study, I found out that my one-hectare HDB neighbourhood actually has a decent diversity of birds – 36 species seen or heard over 40 days. What I wanted to do in this particular study is to find out what species are the most regularly seen or heard. In other words, what bird species are present virtually every day? What are our most common birds in HDB heartland? What are the rarest?


To find out the most common birds in my neighbourhood, I resorted to a simple method or recording “presence”“ or “absence”, based on my observations by sight or sound of birds outside my balcony and study windows. I also added species that I saw on my regular trips to the wet market and supermarket to buy groceries. I kept a list of species in a notebook from April 4th to May 16th, a total of 40 days. I tried to keep watch of a total duration of an hour a day, aided by my 8×30 binoculars and my 65x zoom bridge camera.

Detectability and “Common-ness”

Over 40 days, 36 bird species were recorded. The results for the Ten Most Common or “Detectable” Species included three that were ever present – Asian Glossy Starling, Javan Myna and Common Pigeon.  These species were most often seen utilizing man-made structures such as rooftops, TV aerials as well as on trees and different ground surfaces. It should come as no surprise that two of these were introduced to Singapore.

Joint fourth was the Brown-throated Sunbird. This was a surprise as I had expected the ubiquitous Olive-backed Sunbird to be the winner. The former came to a tree outside my balcony almost every day to perform its chiffchaff-like song, especially at dawn. I think it is just one or two pairs that exist in my neighbourhood but they are very noticeable when they call. The other species was Swinhoe’s White-eye, another dawn singer in my tree and also present almost daily with a variety of chirps that made them instantly recognizable. I missed both only on one day each.

The rest of the Top Ten included Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot, one of four parrots recorded, Black-naped Oriole, Pacific Swallow, Spotted Dove, Red-breasted Parakeet and either Germain’s or Black-nest Swiftlet.

The Eleventh to Twentieth positions also include some very familiar “garden birds” such as Asian Koel, House crow, Yellow-vented Bulbul and Olive-backed Sunbird as well as newly colonizing species such as Little Bronze Cuckoo. The complete list is in Appendix 1.

Perhaps, as our HDB heartlands and urban spaces are landscaped with plants that attract wildlife and as urban green spaces become more heterogeneous, these and other species will invade more urban areas in Singapore in the future. In addition, balconies in more favorable surroundings like parklands, wetlands, coasts or forests should show a richer and more diverse birdlife than my neighbourhood.

Recommendations and Conclusion

Even though this was a one-off study at just one site, I hope that it gives us an idea of what our most common birds of urban Singapore is, and how such studies can be done very easily with a minimum of fuss. More detailed studies could perhaps be made on why these species are so highly successful at colonizing man-made habitats compared to others.

 Appendix 1

Full List of Birds Detected at Woodlands Study Site, April 4th to May 16th, 2020 (Numbers in brackets next to the species indicates the number of days they were detected.)

1            Asian Glossy Starling  Aplonis panayensis (40)

2            Rock Dove Columba livia (40)

3            Javan Myna Acridotheres javanicus (40)

4            Brown-throated Sunbird Anthreptes malacensis               (39)

5            Swinhoe’s White-eye Zosterops simplex               (39)

6            Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot Loriculus galgulus (33)

7            Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis (32)

8            Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica (31)

9            Spotted Dove Spilopelia chinensis (31)

10          Red-breasted Parakeet  Psittacula alexandri (25)

11          Swiftlet sp. Aerodramus sp. (25)

12          Olive-backed Sunbird Cinnyris jugularis (24)

13          Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker Dicaeum cruentatum (23)

14          Pied Triller Lalage nigra (20)

15          Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker Yungipicus moluccensis (17)

16          Asian Koel Eudynamys scolopacea  (16)

17          Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus goiavier (15)

18          House Crow Corvus splendens (14)

19          Little Bronze Cuckoo Chrysococcyx minutillus (14)

20          Rose-ringed Parakeet Psittacula krameri  (14)

21          Pink-necked Green Pigeon Treron vernans (13)

22          Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus  (11)

23          Zebra Dove Geopelia striata (7)

24          Common Hill Myna Gracula religiosa (4)

25          Savanna Nightjar Caprimulgus affinis (4)

26          Blue-throated Bee-eater Merops viridis (3)

27          Scaly-breasted Munia Lonchura punctulata (3)

28          Arctic Warbler Phylloscopus borealis (2)

29          Common Myna Acridotheres tristis (2)

30          Golden-bellied Gerygone Gerygone sulphurea (2)

31          Long-tailed Parakeet Psittacula longicauda (2)

32          Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus  (1)

33          Collared Kingfisher Todiramphus chloris (1)

34          Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus (1)

35          Pied Imperial Pigeon Ducula bicolor (1)

36          White-bellied Sea Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster (1)

Fig 2-2

Spotted Dove and Asian Glossy Starlings seen from my balcony. Photo © Lim Kim Seng

Bird Species Diversity in a HDB Heartland.

Bird Species Diversity in a HDB Heartland

By Lim Kim Seng (

Fig 1

The study site looking from my study window, Woodlands, Singapore. Photo © Lim Kim Seng


I live in Woodlands, a lively HDB township in the north of Singapore. My unit is on the 6th floor of a 13th storey HDB flat facing north, just 2 km from the Straits of Johor. My balcony and study room windows face the south, overlooking a 4-storey multi-story car park and another 13th flat just 100 m away. To north of my flat is a tiny patch of secondary forest that had been reduced in extent over the last twenty years due to the establishment of a new polytechnic and upcoming plans for retail, commercial and industrial infrastructure, and a new MRT station. To the south are yet more flats, a small shopping mall with an adjoining wet market and supermarket, an old folks’ home and a small community garden. To the south-west, a primary school where both of my kids studied.

From a landscape ecology perspective, my estate is about as concrete as it gets with about fifty trees (mostly Podocarpus, but also including saga, Cassia, Syzigium, rambutan, tembusu and mahogany), hedges and grassy verges surrounding my flat and the nearby roads. A small grassy field separates my flat from a neighbouring flat. The whole area is no more than one hectare.


The unprecedented circuit breaker measures enforced by the Singapore government in late March 2020 to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak offered an opportunity to study the birds of my 25-year old neighbourhood. Beginning April 4th, I spent an average of one hour each day watching and listening birds outside my balcony or study room windows. I kept a list of species seen or heard each day. This was supplemented by walks to the supermarket about twice a week for groceries. On May 16th, I stopped to review what I have recorded after 40 days.

Species Diversity

Over 40 days, I recorded 36 species of birds. Of these, almost all were resident breeders. The sole exception was an Arctic Warbler, which wasn’t seen subsequently and likely passing through. The average daily diversity was 14.75 species with a low of 10 achieved on 4 days and a high of 22 on 2 days.

The most successful families were the pigeons with five species represented, followed by parrots (4 species), sturnids (4 species) and raptors (3 species).

Most of the 36 species were common species such as pigeons, crows, mynas and sparrows but they also included some surprises. Pied Imperial Pigeon was detected only once, two birds feeding on the fruits of a MacArthur’s Palm outside a neighbourhood supermarket. Long-tailed Parakeet was detected on two occasions and indicated that the planting of suitable fruiting trees could help it become a common urban species in Singapore. Also surprising was a Collared Kingfisher that demonstrated its adaptability to apparently unsuitable habitat in my study area.

The time of the year favours the resident species, for which April to June is peak breeding period, and was rather late for migrating birds. As such only one migrant (Arctic Warbler) was detected whereas common migratory species such as Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Asian Brown Flycatcher and Daurian Starling, all of which I have recorded in my area in the past, went missing in this study.

Other surprise omissions include the following urban species: White-throated Kingfisher, Coppersmith Barbet, Common Flameback, Oriental Dollarbird, Long-tailed Shrike, Common Iora, Common Tailorbird and Paddyfield Pipit.

Perhaps, as our HDB heartlands and urban spaces are landscaped with plants that attract wildlife and as urban green spaces become more heterogeneous, these and other species will invade more urban areas in Singapore in the future. In addition, balconies in more favorable surroundings like parklands, wetlands, coasts or forests should show a richer and more diverse birdlife than my neighbourhood.

Species Discovery Curve

The 40-day period of observation also allowed me to plot a Species Discovery Curve for my neighbourhood. It gives an indication of the species diversity of an area. The richer the area is, the longer it would take for the curve to flatten out.


Table 1: Species Discovery Curve for Woodlands Estate

The vertical axis marks the cumulative number of species from day 1 to 40 while the horizontal axis marks the number of days that the species were surveyed. It can be seen that the curve started flattening on Day 5 when 28 species were recorded. It took another 35 days to record an additional 8 species, to make a grand total of 36 species in all.

It would be interesting to do a similar graph for other HDB heartlands and urban areas in Singapore to see if the species diversity is similarly low. Of course, balconies located near richer ecosystems like coasts, mangroves or rainforests can expect higher species diversity as well as a different assemblage of species.

Recommendations and Conclusion

Even though this was a one-off study at just one site, I hope that it gives us an idea of what the bird species diversity is like for the more urban parts of Singapore. I hope that this study will show how such studies can be done very easily with a minimum of fuss.

Appendix 1

Full List of Birds Detected at Woodlands Study Site, April 4th to May 16th, 2020

  1. Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus
  2. Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus
  3. White-bellied Sea Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster
  4. Rock Dove Columba livia
  5. Spotted Dove Spilopelia chinensis
  6. Zebra Dove Geopelia striata
  7. Pink-necked Green Pigeon Teron vernans
  8. Pied Imperial Pigeon Ducula bicolor
  9. Asian Koel Eudynamys scolopacea
  10. Little Bronze Cuckoo Chrysococcyx minutillus
  11. Savanna Nightjar Caprimulgus affinis
  12. Swiftlet sp. Aerodramus
  13. Collared Kingfisher Todiramphus chloris
  14. Blue-throated Bee-eater Merops viridis
  15. Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker Yungipicus moluccensis
  16. Rose-ringed Parakeet Psittacula krameri
  17. Red-breasted Parakeet Psittacula alexandri
  18. Long-tailed Parakeet Psittacula Longicauda
  19. Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot Loriculus galgulus
  20. Golden-bellied Gerygone Gerygone sulphurea
  21. Pied Triller Lalage nigra
  22. Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis
  23. House Crow Corvus splendens
  24. Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus goiavier
  25. Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica
  26. Arctic Warbler Phylloscopus borealis
  27. Swinhoe’s White-eye Zosterops simplex
  28. Asian Glossy Starling Aplonis panayensis
  29. Common Hill Myna Gracula religiosa
  30. Javan Myna Acridotheres javanicus
  31. Common Myna Acridotheres tristis
  32. Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker Dicaeum cruentatum
  33. Brown-throated Sunbird Anthreptes malacensis
  34. Olive-backed Sunbird Cinnyris jugularis
  35. Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus
  36. Scaly-breasted Munia Lonchura punctulata

Fig 2

Spotted Dove, one of the regulars seen from my balcony. Photo © Lim Kim Seng

Singapore Bird Report – March 2020

By Geoff Lim & Isabelle Lee.
and Tan Gim Cheong (ed.)

March continued to see the reporting of spectacular species – the 3rd record of the Asian Emerald Cuckoo, a male, at Ghim Moh; the continued presence of the 3rd recorded Chinese Blue Flycatcher; and visitation by the globally threatened Chinese Egrets at Pulau Ubin.

Chinese Egret

Chinese Egret, 210320, Chek Jawa, Vincent Ng, crop

A Chinese (left) and Intermediate Egret at Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin on 21 March 2020 by Vincent Ng

On 16 March 2020, Richard White and Francis Yap was at Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin at low tide when Richard spotted a Chinese Egret, Egretta eulophotes, a rare visitor, on the intertidal zone. The egret continued to frequent the tidal flats on subsequent days, giving many birders a chance to see this globally threatened species in Singapore. T. Ramesh was delighted to spot the egret on 20 March 2020 just before the low afternoon tide and recorded some videos of its active feeding behaviour. On 31 March 2020, Vincent Ng recorded three individuals feeding together. The species was previously reported with a fair degree of regularity at Pulau Tekong only.

According to Dr. Yong Ding Li, “the egret can be tricky to ID, especially if in the non-breeding plumage, and seen from a great distance. But a nicely written article by Nial Moores shows that foraging behaviour can be a great clue towards its identification – especially its more erratic and ‘kancheong‘ movements!” This was also observed by T. Ramesh in his short notes and video.

Asian Emerald Cuckoo

AEC, 230320, Ghim Moh, Kelvin Ng Cheng Kwan

The Asian Emerald Cuckoo at Ghim Moh, photographed on 23 March 2020 by Kelvin Ng Cheng Kwan.

Singapore’s third record of the Asian Emerald Cuckoo, Chrysococcyx maculatus, came in the form of a splendid male. The two earlier records were at Upper Seletar Reservoir Park in May 2006, when an immature and a female appeared, and at Sentosa between late December 2017 and January 2018, when two females appeared. Social media reports indicated that the bird was first discovered on 23 March 2020 along the park connector at Ghim Moh. This bird continued to stay at the location until the end of the month, feeding on the abundant caterpillars that flourished in the trees.

The species is regarded at being of Least Concern and can be found from the Himalayas, through Nepal and Bhutan, NE India, Bangladesh and S China, through Myanmar, NW Thailand, N Laos and N and central Vietnam. During winter, it flies to S India, Sri Lanka, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Indochina and Malaysia, with small numbers arriving at Sumatra (Payne, 2020). First reports of the bird arriving at the Penang Botanical Gardens were posted on social media around 16 December 2019 (Kelvin Low), and 19 December 2019 (Chan Kai Soon). Hence, it is possible that the bird encountered in March 2020, may well be a returnee heading back to its northern breeding grounds.

Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR) and Fringe Parks

Chinese Blue FC, 110320, Dillenia, Angela Yeo

The Chinese Blue Flycatcher at CCNR, photographed on 11 March 2020 by Angela Yeo.

The core CCNR continued to support interesting forest species. These included a Sakhalin Leaf Warbler, Phylloscopus borealoides, which was spotted on 4 March 2020 at Mandai Track 15 by Choong YT, a non-breeding visitor in the form of a Cinereous Bulbul, Hemixos cinereus, at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve on 8 March 2020, as seen by Lim Kim Chuah, the gem of an Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, Ceyx erithaca, on 12 March 2020 along Rifle Range Link by Choong YT, and a Mugimaki Flycatcher, Ficedula mugimaki, on 14 March 2020 by John Ascher. Birders and photographers alike continued to be delighted to find the very rare Chinese Blue Flycatcher, Cyornis glaucicomans, from 1 March 2020, through to 14 March 2020, as seen by Norhafiani A Majid, and by Geoff Lim on 16 March 2020 (the same individual was first recorded on 25 February 2020). This presents the possibility that the species may be over-wintering in Singapore, albeit undetected.  Up to two Green-backed Flycatcher, Ficedula elisae, were also seen by Geoff Lim and Norman Wu on 16 March 2020.

At Dairy Farm Nature Park an Orange-headed Thrush, Geokichla citrina, was reported on 4 March 2020 by Steven Cheong. Two owls were reported by Choong YT on 17 March 2020, a Barred Eagle-Owl, Bubo sumatranus, (heard only), and a Northern Boobook, Ninox japonica, that was rehabilitated and released by Jurong Bird Park/NParks. About a week later, on 24 March 2020, three Blue-winged Leafbird, Chloropsis cochinchinensis, were seen and reported by Oliver Tan, while an Abbott’s Babbler, Malacocincla abbotti, was reported on 28 March 2020 by Mike Hooper.

Windsor Nature Park proved to fruitful, with a Jambu Fruit Dove, Ptilinopus jambu, seen on 14 March 2020 by Mike Hooper, a Black-crested Bulbul, Pycnonotus flaviventris, reported on 16 March 2020 by Oliver Tan, and a Blue-rumped Parrot, Psittinus cyanurus, seen and reported feeding on starfruit on 18 March 2020 by Kwok Tuck Loong.

Singapore Botanic Gardens

GPS, 060320, SBG, Herman Phua

Greater Painted Snipe at Botanic Gardens photographed on 6 March 2020 by Herman Phua.

A Malayan Night Heron, Gorsachius melanolophus, was reported on 2 March 2020 on the Red Brick Path by Kwok Tuck Loong, while a Greater Painted Snipe, Rostatrula benghalensis was seen at the Eco-Lake of the Gardens on 5 March 2020 by Laurence Eu, and subsequently reported until 12 March 2020 (David Fur). During this period, a Von Schrenck’s Bittern, Ixobrychus eurhythmus, was reported on 8 March 2020 by Mike Hooper, while a Taiga Flycatcher, Ficedula albicilla, (possibly the same individual – Singapore’s first record – first seen on 30 November 2019) was reported on 14 March 2020 by Marcel Finlay and on 20 March 2019 by Myron Tay. At the end of the month, a Hooded Pitta, Pitta sordida, was reported on 30 March 2020 by Choong YT. On the fringe of the Gardens, a Yellow-browed Warbler, Phylloscopus inornatus, was reported from Cluny Road on 5 March 2020 by Sandra Chia.

Taiga FC, 200320, SBG, Myron Tay

Taiga Flycatcher at Singapore Botanic Gardens, taken on 20 March 2020 by Myron Tay.

Central Singapore

Barn Owl, MAr 2020, TPY, David Fur

Eastern Barn Owl at Toa Payoh, photographed by David Fur on 16 March 2020.

Beginning on 11 March 2020, visitors to the Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park stumbled upon a Mangrove Pitta, Pitta macrorhyncha. First reported by Steve Ang a day after, the bird continued to be reported until 30 March 2020 by Vincent Chin.  This bird represents one of the few rare occurrences on mainland Singapore’s non-mangrove habitats, previous records included one at Singapore Botanic Gardens and two at the Lower Peirce Reservoir boardwalk in 2014, and a recent finding at Woodlands in January 2020. During this period, visitors also reported two Asian Palm Swift, Cypsiurus balasiensis, on 11 March 2020 (Martin Kennewell). An Eastern Crowned Warbler, Phylloscopus coronatus, was also seen on 28 March 2020 by Angela Christine Chua. At Toa Payoh,  an Eastern Barn Owl, Tyto javanica, was reported on 16 March 2020 by Norman Wu.

Northern Singapore

A Black-capped Kingfisher, Halcyon pileata, was reported on 8 March 2020 from 960 Woodlands Road by Geri Lim, while a Jerdon’s Baza, Aviceda jerdoni, was reported on 21 March 2020 from Coney Island by Tan Kok Hui.

Eastern Singapore

An Indian Cuckoo, Cuculus micropterus, was reported from Tampines Eco Garden on 5 March 2020 by Philip Howell, while a Malaysian Hawk-Cuckoo, Hierococcyx fugax, was seen on 14 March 2020 at Changi Business Park, by T. Ramesh, who also saw a Common Buzzard, Buteo buteo, at Bedok North Street 1 on 16 March 2020, and a Grey Plover, Pluvialis squatarola, on 28 March 2020 at Tanah Merah Coastal Road.

The star attraction at Pulau Ubin beginning on 16 March 2020 to the month’s end was the rarely encountered Chinese Egret, Egretta eulophotes. Also observed at Chek Jawa were a Hodgson’s Hawk-Cuckoo, Hierococcyx nisicolor, on 18 March 2020 (Fadzrun A), a Greater Crested Tern, Thalasseus bergii, on 20 March 2020 (Fadzrun A), as well as two Bar-tailed Godwit, Limosa lapponica, on 21 March 2020 (Tay Kian Guan).

Southern Singapore

Malaysian Plover, 190320, ME, Art Toh

Two Malaysian Plovers at Marina East photographed on 19 March 2020 by Art Toh.

One report of a Siberian Blue Robin, Larvivora cyane, was made on 20 March 2020 by Mike Hooper, while a White-throated Needletail, Hirundapus caudacutus, was spotted on 24 March 2020 on Sentosa by Dillen Ng. The Marina East area saw reports of two Malaysian Plover, Charadrius peronii, on 19 March 2020 by Art Toh, a Lesser Sand Plover, Charadrius mongolus, on 28 March 2020 by Russell Boyman, a Pacific Reef Heron, Egretta sacra, on 29 March 2020 by Mike Hooper, who also saw two Kentish Plover, Charadrius alexandrinus, and four Malaysian Plover on the same day. At the top of Pinnacle @ Duxton, a juvenile/female Blue Rock Thrush, Monticola soltarius, was photographed by Angie Cheong on 7 March 2020.

Western Singapore

The Kranji Marshes-Neo Tiew Harvest Lane-Lim Chu Kang Lane 3 area continued to support a good number of species. Beginning with Kranji Marshes, we received sighting reports of eight White-shouldered Starling, Sturnia sinensis, on 7 March 2020 from Lau Jia Sheng. Also seen were two Grey-faced Buzzard, Butastur indicus, and a single Red Avadavat, Amandava amandava, on 8 March 2020 by Martti Siponen, who also spotted two Common Moorhen, Gallinula chloropus, on 21 March 2020. One Blue-winged Pitta, Pitta moluccensis, was seen on 29 March 2020, as was an Ashy Minivet, Pericrocotus divaricatus, by Martin Kennewell.

Over at the monsoon drain running somewhat parallel to Lim Chu Kang Lane 3, one Little Ringed Plover, Charadrius dubius, and a White Wagtail, Motacilla alba, were spotted on 23 March 2020 by Raghav Narayanswamy, who also spotted a Greater Painted-Snipe, Rostratula benghalensis, on 27 March 2020. A Ruddy Kingfisher, Halcyon coromanda, which was earlier reported at the site in January and February 2020, continued to be seen on 8 March 2020 by Vincent Chang and on 29 March 2020 by Michael Leong.

Ruddy KF, 080320, LCKL3, Vincent Chang

Ruddy Kingfisher at Lim Chu Kang Lane 3 photographed on 8 March 2020 by Vincent S S Chang.

Along the fields at Neo Tiew Harvest Lane, a Watercock, Gallicrex cinerea, was spotted on 14 March 2020 by Martin Kennewell, while a Long-toed Stint, Calidris subminuta, was reported on 15 March 2020 by Russell Boyman. Several days later, two Oriental Pratincole, Glareola maldivarum, were reported on 27 March 2020 by Raghav Narayanswamy. At the nearby Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, a  Black Baza, Aviceda leuphotes, was spotted on 28 March 2020 by Martti Siponen, while the resident Copper-throated Sunbird, Leptocoma calcostetha, was observed on 30 March 2020 by Peter Bijlmakers.

Brahminy Starling, 010320, JLG, Art Toh

Brahminy Starling at Jurong Lake Garden on 1 March 2020, photographed by Art Toh.

The Brahminy Starling, Sturnia pagodarum, at Jurong Lake Garden continued to be seen, with a record on 1 March 2020 by Art Toh. Apart from the afore mentioned Asian Emerald Cuckoo on 23 March 2020, we also noted reports of a Thick-billed Green Pigeon, Treron curvirostra at King Albert Park by Martin Kennewell, as well as a  Greater Coucal, Centropus sinensis, on the same day at Ulu Pandan Park Connector by Oliver Tan. Two days later, an Ashy Drongo, Dicrurus leucophaeus, was reported from Ulu Pandan Park Connector as well, by Sylvester Goh.


This report is compiled/written by Geoff Lim and Isabelle Lee, 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 Art Toh, Angela Yeo, David Fur, Herman Phua, Kelvin Ng Cheng Kwan, Myron Tay,  Vincent Chang, and Vincent Ng for allowing us to use their photographs.


Payne, R. B. (2020). Asian Emerald Cuckoo (Chrysococcyx maculatus), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (J. del Hoyo, A. Elliott, J. Sargatal, D. A. Christie, and E. de Juana, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.