Singapore Bird Report – April to June 2020

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

This report covers the period from 1-6 April, and 19-30 June. The intervening period was subject to COVID-19 “circuit breaker” measures.

TB Pigeon, 190620, DFNP, Herman Phua

Thick-billed Green Pigeon photographed at DFNP on 19 Jun 2020 by Herman Phua

APRIL 2020

Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR) and Fringe Parks

Visitors to Hindhede Park reported a Chestnut-bellied Malkoha, Phaenicophaeus sumatranus, on 1 April 2020 (Oliver Tan), as well as the regular Oriental Darter, Anhinga melanogaster, and Blue-eared Kingfisher, Alcedo meninting, on 3 April 2020 (Martin Kennewell).

Sightings at MacRitchie Reservoir Park, a CCNR fringe park, yielded a Chestnut-winged Babbler, Stachyris erythroptera, on 2 April 2020, and a Brown Hawk-Owl, Ninox scutulata, on 5 April 2020, by Marcel Finlay. A Tiger Shrike, Lanius tigrinus, was recorded on 5 April 2020 at the nearby Singapore Quarry, by Art Toh.

Central Singapore

A Javan Pond Heron, Ardeola speciosa, and Chinese Pond Heron, Ardeola bacchus, were reported at Bishan Ang Mo Kio Park on 3 April 2020 by Billy Goh.

Northern Singapore

The Lorong Halus Wetland continued to support a motley of resident and migratory species. For instance, a Grey Wagtail, Motacilla cinerea, was spotted on 3 April 2020 by Mike Hooper, who also saw a Ruddy-breasted Crake, Porzana fusca, on 5 April 2020.  On 6 April 2020, a Common Snipe, Gallinago gallinago, was spotted by Peter Bijlmakers, who noted that the bird had a light trailing edge to its wings. Off the coastline further from Halus, one distant White-winged Tern, Chlidonias leucopterus, was spotted on 4 April 2020 by Martin Kennewell, who also reported seeing two distant Roseate Tern, Sterna dougallii.

Eastern Singapore

Just prior to the start of the circuit breaker, four Chinese Egret, Egretta eulophotes, were reported on 5 April 2020 by Eyzat Amer at Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin, while Changi Point Coastal Walk yielded forty Black-naped Tern, Sterna sumatrana, and four Ruddy Turnstone, Arenaria interpres, on the same day, by Oliver Tan. The woods near Changi Business Park continued to support migratory species and a total of seven snipes, likely Pin-tailed Snipe, Gallinago stenura, were counted on 6 April 2020 by T. Ramesh.

Southern Singapore

A Crested Goshawk, Accipiter trivirgatus, was spotted atKent Ridge Park on 4 April 2020 by John Marriott.

Western Singapore

The Kranji-Neo Tiew-Lim Chu Kang area yielded several sightings. These include a pair of Red Turtle Dove, Streptopelia tranquebarica, on 4 April 2020 at Lim Chu Kang Lane 3 by Raghav Narayanswamy, as well as one Western Osprey, Pandion haliaetus, three Slaty-breasted Rail, Gallirallus striatus, three Wood Sandpiper, Tringa glareola, four Little Tern, Sternula albifrons, two Rusty-breasted Cuckoo, Cacomantis sepulcralis, and a Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler, Locustella certhiola.

At the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Martti Siponen noted the presence of 33 Pacific Golden Plover, Pluvialis fulva, on 5 April 2020. Farther away, residents and visitors to King Albert Park reported a perched and calling Crested Serpent Eagle, Spilornis cheela, on 1 April 2020 (Peter Bijlmakers).

Walkers and runners also reported bird sightings around the Holland-Ulu Pandan area. On 4 April 2020, a Chestnut-winged Cuckoo, Clamator coromandus, and an Asian Emerald Cuckoo, Chrysococcyx maculatus, were spotted at the Ulu Pandan Park Connector by Russell Boyman. Other westerly sightings include one Spotted Wood Owl, Strix seloputo, at Dover Road on 3 April 2020 by Martin Kennewell.

MAY 2020
– no bird report as the whole month was under COVID-19 “circuit breaker” measures

JUNE 2020

Central Catchment Nature Reserve and Fringe Parks

Dairy Farm Nature Park yielded good forest species, including a Blue-winged Leafbird, Chloropsis cochinchinensis and a Thick-billed Green Pigeon, Treron curvirostra, on 19 June 2020 by Herman Phua, as well as Asian Red-eyed Bulbul, Pycnonotus brunneus, on 25 June 2020 by Siew Mun.

Singapore Botanic Gardens

Of the various resident garden birds seen, several Long-tailed Parakeet, Psittacula longicauda, including juveniles, were spotted on 27 June 2020 by Wong Chung Cheong.

Central Singapore

At Ang Mo Kio, a pair of Red-wattled Lapwing, Vanellus indicus, were spotted from 25 June 2020 onwards by Adrian Silas Tay. Much to the surprise of everyone, a pair of Vinous-breasted Starling, Acridotheres burmannicus, along Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5 was reported on 30 June 2020 by Lee Chin Pong, Lum Lai Har, Art Toh and Khoo Mei Ling. 

VB Starling, 300620, AMK, Tuck Loong

A pair of Vinous-breasted Starlings at Ang Mo Kio photographed on 30 June 2020 by Kwok Tuck Loong

Northern Singapore

The area around Seletar Airport yielded various sightings. Observers reported a nesting Banded Woodpecker, Chrysophlegma miniaceum, on 20 June 2020 (Ko Eng Wee) at Baker Street, while there were sightings of an Eastern Cattle Egret, Bubulcus coromandus, which was spotted on 20 June 2020 at Picadilly (Zahidi Hamid), as was a Black-rumped Waxbill, Estrilda troglodytes on 26 June 2020 (Norman Wu). Further north, adult Pin-tailed Whydah, Vidua macroura, were seen performing courtship displays along Seletar North on and around 22 June 2020 (Ko Eng Wee).

Sightings of a pair of Cotton Pygmy Goose, Nettapus coromandelianus, was reported on 27 June 2020 at Lower Seletar Reservoir Park by Lim Kim Chuah, and on 28 June 2020 by Martin Kennewell. The next day, a Western Osprey, Pandion haliaetus, was reported on 29 June 2020 by Wang Wee Woan.

Osprey, 290620, Lower Seletar, Wang Wee Woan, crop

Two other noteworthy sightings in the north include one of the last known bastions of the Little Grebe, Tachybaptus ruficollis, with one bird spotted on 19 June 2020 at the Halus Wetland by Ko Eng Wee, while a family of Buffy Fish Owl, Ketupa ketupu, was reported on and around 29 June 2020 at Yishun Ave 6, by  Lee Chin Pong.

Eastern Singapore

Herman Phua spotted a family of Spotted Wood Owl, Strix seloputo, on 21 June 2020 at Pasir Ris Park, and one of the birds was a juvenile. Several Little Tern, Sternula albifrons, were also reported on 29 June 2020 from around the same park.

Southern Singapore

We received reports of two Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Cacatua galerita, on 20 June 2020 on Sentosa by John Marriott, as well as several Lesser Whistling Duck, Dendrocygna javanica, on 26 June 2020 at Gardens-by-the-Bay by Ko Eng Wee.

Western Singapore

Observers around the Jurong Lake Gardens area reported a pair of Asian Pied Starling, Gracupia contra, on 20 June 2020 in the garden grounds (Mike Hooper); some Zitting Cisticola, Cisticola juncidis, spotted on 27 June 2020 by Siew Mun, and thought to be nesting; as well as a Plaintive Cuckoo, Cacomantis merulinus, on 28 June 2020 (Alok Mishra).

Over at the Kranji Marsh complex, a Cinnamon Bittern, Ixobrychus cinnamomeus, was seen calling within the Kranji Marshes on 22 June 2020, by Wong Chung Cheong, while a Common Iora was found feeding a young Banded Bay Cuckoo on 27 June 2020 by Chen Boon Chong. A single Common Moorhen, Gallinula chloropus, was spotted on 28 June 2020 at Neo Tiew Harvest Link by Fadzrun A.

Further away at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, a Purple Heron, Ardea purpurea, was seen on 24 June 2020 feeding on a needlefish, by Siew Mun, while four Great-billed Heron, Ardea sumatrana, were seen on 26 June 2020 – 1 subadult, & 3 adults were courting and chasing each other (birder with handle “Whatnow Spence”). On 29 June 2020, a pair of White-bellied Sea Eagle, Haliaeetus leucogaster, was seen by Kok M Lee.

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 Herman Phua, Kwok Tuck Loong, and Wang Wee Woan for allowing us to use their photographs.

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