Monthly Archives: October 2021

Singapore Raptor Report, Early Autumn Migration, July-September 2021

JSH, 200921, PRP, Philip Chua

Japanese Sparrowhawk, Pasir Ris Park, 20 September 2021, by Philip Chua


A total of 8 Japanese Sparrowhawks Accipiter gularis were recorded in September, with the first arrival on 20 September; one individual was not aged, while the other seven were all adults. At Henderson Waves, there were 30 unidentified sparrowhawks on 24 September.

A total of 34 observations were made for the Oriental Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhyncus during the July to September period : 10 in July, 7 in August and 17 in September. As with the previous year, where photographs were available, the honey buzzards could be aged as sub-adults (2nd calendar year), right up to end September, these being over-summering birds. Moult of the primaries (feathers) progressed from 4-5 new primaries in July, to 5-6 new primaries in August, to 6-7 new primaries in September, consistent with last year’s observation. Although one individual had 7 new primaries on 14 August, it was probably not exceptional.

An adult torquatus Oriental Honey Buzzard was photographed at Upper Seletar Reservoir Park on 23 July, while a juvenile with uniform plumage was photographed at Thomson Nature Park on 7 September.

Two Peregrine Falcons Falco peregrinus of the ernesti subspecies were recorded – one adult photographed at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve flying towards Johor on 21 July, and another adult photographed at Marina East on 29 July. The ernesti at Fort Canning on 29 July might have been the same individual as the Marina East falcon.

The Western Osprey Pandion haliaetus, a regular during this time of the year, was recorded at Pulau Ubin (29 July), Yishun Dam (21 August) and Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (5 September).

CHE, 110821, NTHL, SCC

Changeable Hawk-Eagle with a Changeable Lizard held by its beak and another in its right talons, Neo Tiew Harvest Lane, 11 August 2021, by Sim Chip Chye

For the resident raptors, the great rarity was the lone Black-thighed Falconet Microhierax fringillarius, discovered by Art Toh and Tang Choon Siang on 9 July at Jalan Mashhor, and which made brief appearances on the next two days before disappearing. The rare Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela was only recorded twice – an adult photographed at Pulau Ubin on 7 August, and another adult photographed at Kent Ridge Park on 6 September.

There were nesting-related records for a number of species of diurnal raptors. At Seletar, a pair of Black-winged Kites Elanus caeruleus was nest-building and mated in mid-August; while a pair of Brahminy Kites Haliastur Indus mated on 31 August and were adding sticks to their nest on 24 September.

At Little Guilin, a pair of Grey-headed Fish Eagles Haliaeetus ichthyaetus mated in late August. Their fledgling of a few months is probably about to become independent. At Pasir Ris Park, a pair of Crested Goshawks Accipiter trivirgatus comprising an adult male and a rather young (sub-adult) female mated on 19, 21, 24 and 28 July, as well as 9 August; while a different pair of adults mated on 25 September. For the White-bellied Sea Eagle Haliaeetus leocogaster, a juvenile was still at the vicinity of the nest on a tall tree at Singapore General Hospital on 5 August.   

Throughout these 3 months, a dark morph Changeable Hawk-Eagle Nisaetus cirrhatus had been frequenting Pasir Ris Park, catching a feral Junglefowl hen on 1 August. Another individual at Neo Tiew Harvest Lane caught two Changeable Lizards on 11 August.

BHO, 150821, Mandai Track 7, Vincent Yip

Brown Hawk-Owl, with yellow left iris and orange right iris, Mandai Track 7, 15 August 2021, by Vincent Yip

For nocturnal raptors, a fledgling Sunda Scops Owl Otus lempiji was photographed at Mandai Track 7 on 16 July. At Pasir Ris Park, the two juvenile Spotted Wood Owls Strix seloputo which left the nest in April were still with their parents on 21 August. At Hindhede Nature Park, the family of four Brown Hawk-Owls Ninox scutulata (found in June) were recorded again on 4 July and 2 August.

On 7 August, HP Tan photographed an interesting looking fish owl that appeared to be the Brown x Buffy Fish Owl hybrid offspring of the mixed Brown Fish Owl and Buffy Fish Owl pair recorded in February 2021.

BFO hybrid, posted 070821, Hindhede, HP Tan FBBS, pic, crop

This appears to be the hybrid Brown Fish Owl x Buffy Fish Owl offspring, Hindhede Nature Park, 7 August 2021, by HP Tan

At Yishun, a pair of Buffy Fish Owls Ketupa ketupu mated on 1 September. Unfortunately, on 16 September, one of the owls was found in the monsoon drain, appeared to be weak and would probably have floated away with the shallow water had it not been rescued.

At Mandai Track 7, an interesting Brown Hawk-Owl had yellow iris on the left eye and orange iris on the right eye. At Jalan Asas, an adult Barred Eagle Owl Bubo sumatranus was recorded on 19 July and 23 July.

Many thanks to everyone for their records, and to Philip Chua, Sim Chip Chye, Vincent Yip and HP Tan for the use of their photos.

For a pdf version with more details, please click Singapore Raptor Report, Early Autumn Migration, Jul-Sep 2021