Summary for migrant species:
Five rarities were recorded in December, including a species new to Singapore. The Amur Falcon Falco amurensis that arrived in November was still around at Lorong Halus / Punggol until 14 Dec 2021. Amazing photos by Lai Yeu Huan show the falcon stealing katydids carried by flying Digger Wasps Sphex diabolicus, with the wasp letting go of the katydid at the last moment. The kleptoparasitic behaviour was repeated many times, allowing other photographers to also capture the theft on camera.
On 9 Dec 2021, a Rufous-bellied Eagle Lophotriorchis kienerii was photographed at Kranji Marshes. A Black Kite Milvus migrans showed up at the Neo Tiew area on 12 Dec 2021 and was recorded sporadically through the month.
On 8 Dec 2021, a single Himalayan Vulture Gyps himalayensis was seen at Dairy Farm Nature Park, and at the Botanic Gardens. Then on 27 Dec 2021, a flock of five vultures were seen flying over Tan Tock Seng Hospital towards Orchard Road area. Those following the vultures over the next few days eventually found them perched in the vicinity of the Botanic Gardens, and they were astonishingly in the company of a Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus, a first record!
Scarce migrant raptors included a juvenile Grey-faced Buzzard Butastur indicus wintering at Telok Blangah Hill Park, a juvenile Eastern Marsh Harrier Circus spilonotus at Neo Tiew area on 15 Dec 2021, a Common Buzzard Buteo buteo at Holland Road area on 29 Dec 2021
Six Jerdon’s Baza Aviceda jerdoni were recorded, with four of them at Coney Island most of the time. Six Chinese Sparrowhawks Accipiter soloensis were recorded, including the site faithful female at Ang Mo Kio, and two birds at Coney Island.
Twenty one Japanese Sparrowhawks Accipiter gularis were recorded throughout Singapore, whereas the 35 Black Bazas Aviceda leuphotes were mostly at Neo Tiew and Coney-Pasir Ris areas.
There were also 36 migrant Oriental Honey Buzzards Pernis ptilorhyncus, two Western Ospreys Pandion haliaetus, and twelve migrant Peregrine Falcons Falco peregrinus, many perched on tall buildings.
Highlights for sedentary species:
Breeding-related activities were noted for four resident species. Mating was observed for a pair of Brahminy Kites Haliastur Indus at East Coast Park on 20 Dec 2021, and at West Coast Park on 24 Dec 2021. For the White-bellied Sea Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster, an adult pair mated at SBWR on 24 Dec 2021, while a pair comprising an adult female and an immature male was in a mating position at Pasir Ris Park on 25 Dec 2021. At Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, an adult Grey-headed Fish Eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus was seen in flight carrying a stick, apparently for nest-building. At Pasir Ris Park, a nest of the Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus held two chicks, with the mother in attendance, catching a young monitor lizard on 21 Dec 2021.
The rare Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela was only recorded at Goldhill Avenue (7 Dec 2021), and at Pulau Ubin. An adult ernesti Peregrine Falcon was photographed at Central Boulevard on 27 Dec 2021. A male torquatus Oriental Honey Buzzard was recorded at the Botanic Gardens on 4 Dec 2021 and at Gilman Barracks on 12 Dec 2021, while an immature was recorded at Jelutong Tower on 9 Dec 2021. The other diurnal resident raptors recorded were the Black-winged Kite and Changeable Hawk-Eagle.
For the nocturnal raptors, an Eastern Barn Owl Tyto javanica was recorded at Kusu Island on 4 Dec 2021, and a juvenile Sunda Scops Owl Otus lempiji at Sentosa on 12 Dec 2021. In addition to two Barred Eagle Owls Bubo sumatranus at Rifle Range Link on 9 Dec 2021, one was at NTU on 16 Dec 2021 and another at Labrador Park on 28 Dec 2021. And for the Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupu, the pair at Hampstead Wetlands mated on 2 Dec 2021 and an individual was seen at Berlayer Creek on 19 Dec 2021.
Addendum to November 2021 Raptor Report
A juvenile Pied Harrier Circus melanoleucos was photographed at Sungei Buloh on 26 Nov 2021 by Kin Hong Pun.
Many thanks to everyone who had reported their sightings in one way or another, and especially to Vincent Yip, Lai Yeu Huan and Wong Sangmen for the use of their photos.
For a pdf version with more details please click Singapore Raptor Report – Dec 2021