Singapore Raptor Report – February 2021

Brown FO crop, Jackie Yeo

Brown Fish Owl, at Hindhede Nature Park, 17 Feb 2021, by Jackie Yeo

The highlight for February 2021 must have been the incredible sighting of the first Brown Fish Owl in Singapore, and the Black-thighed Falconet which had not been seen for decades, more on these later.

Summary for migrant species:

In February 2021, 139 raptors of eight migrant species were recorded. The only Rufous-bellied Eagle wintering in Singapore was recorded at Dairy Farm Nature Park on the 1st, Woodlands on the 6th, and Hillview MRT vicinity on the 21st. Only two Chinese Sparrowhawks were recorded, the wintering female at Ang Mo Kio Town Garden West on the 12th and 13th, and a male at Lorong Halus Wetlands on the 20th.

Five Jerdon’s Bazas were recorded, singles at Pulau Ubin, Changi Business Park, Pasir Ris Park, Tampines Eco Green, and Lorong Halus-Punggol Waterway area. There were also five Western Ospreys and they were recorded at Changi Business Park, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Upper Seletar Reservoir, Jelutong Tower, and Hindhede Nature Park. Fourteen Peregrine Falcons were recorded, often perched on buildings. There were also 22 Japanese Sparrowhawks, 39 Black Bazas,and51 Oriental Honey Buzzards.

Highlights for sedentary species:

Jackie Yeo was at Hindhede Nature Park on 17 Feb 2021 when he photographed an unusual-looking large brown owl that proved to be a Brown Fish Owl, the first sighting of the species in Singapore. The nearest known population is at northern Peninsular Malaysia, some 500-600 kilometres away. More incredibly, the next day, Vincent Yip photographed the Brown Fish Owl perching next to an almost fully grown hybrid owlet that looked mostly like a young Buffy Fish Owl. Subsequently, the Brown Fish Owl was seen perched next to an adult Buffy Fish Owl, presumably its mate. The mystery deepens when Jan Tan checked her photos of an unusual-looking owl taken at nearby Singapore Quarry on 3 Aug 2019, one and a half years ago, and discovered that it was a Brown Fish Owl!   

Brown FO crop, Jan Tan

Brown Fish Owl, at Singapore Quarry, 3 Aug 2019, by Jan Tan

The other amazing occurrence was that of a juvenile Black-thighed Falconet that was found by Lee Lay Na, perched on the parapet of an HDB flat in Yishun Street 71, on 12 Feb 2021, as if to welcome the first day of the Lunar New Year. The last confirmed record for the falconet was more than 30 years ago.

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Black-thighed Falconet, perched on HDB parapet at Yishun Street 71, 12 Feb 2021, by Lee Lay Na

Breeding-related activities were noted for three other species. At least one chick was observed in the nest of a pair of Black-winged Kites at Seletar on the 28th. Separate pairs of White-bellied Sea Eagles were observed on their respective nests at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve on the 6th, and Fort Canning on the 20th. For the Buffy Fish Owl, a fledgling was observed with its parents at Yishun on the 4th & 9th, another owlet at Jurong Lake Gardens had fledged from its nest (a Bird’s Nest Fern) by the 6th, and yet another owlet was observed in its nest (another Bird’s Nest Fern) along Hampstead Gardens on the 6th and 8th.

One adult ernesti Peregrine Falcon was recorded in the vicinity of the Botanic Gardens on the 25th. There were four records of the Crested Serpent Eagle at SBWR, Chek Jawa, Goldhill Avenue, and Kent Ridge Park. Ten Grey-headed Fish Eagles, 12 Black-winged Kites, 17 Crested Goshawks, and eight Changeable Hawk-Eagles were also recorded. Finally, one Barred Eagle Owl was recorded at Rifle Range Link, while one Spotted Wood Owl was recorded at Goldhill Avenue, Satay by the Bay, and Pasir Ris Park.

Table 1

Many thanks to everyone who had reported their sightings in one way or another, and especially to Jackie Yeo, Jan Tan, and Lee Lay Na for the use of their photos.

For a pdf version with more details, please click Singapore Raptor Report – February 2021

2 thoughts on “Singapore Raptor Report – February 2021

  1. Aditya Srinath

    Is this the right way to contribute to the raptor counts?

    Saw a likely brahminy kite flying over the Bukit timah canal from 335 Bukit timah road on 1st May[Image]

    Get Outlook for Android
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