Author Archives: TAN Gim Cheong

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

Summary:

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

Singapore Bird Report – August 2021

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

Residents continued to breed, and migrants started to make their way from their northern breeding grounds to Singapore in August; while most sightings of migrants were of shorebirds, migratory songbirds have also begun to arrive.

Central Catchment Nature Reserve – CCNR

CW Babbler, 018021, Geoff Lim

Chestnut-winged Babbler at Thomson Nature Park on 1 Aug 2021 by Geoff Lim.

Forest species continue to be observed within and along the tracks leading into the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.  The presence of species such as a Thick-billed Green Pigeon, Treron curvirostra, a Chestnut-bellied Malkoha, Phaenicophaeus sumatranus, a Short-tailed Babbler, Pellorneum malaccense, and a pair of Blue-winged Leafbird, Chloropsis cochinchinensis, were noted along Rifle Range Link on 29 August 2021 by Wai Heng Lua, who also spotted a Crested Honey Buzzard, Pernis ptilorhynchus. Other birds seen within the CCNR were one Red-crowned Barbet, Megalaima rafflesii, and three Asian Red-eyed Bulbul, Pycnonotus brunneus, spotted by Ester Gerber on 31 Aug 2021.

The tracks around Mandai, such as Mandai Track 7, have proven to be good birding grounds, given its proximity to old forests such as the Nee Soon forest complex. On 1 August 2021, a Malaysian Hawk-Cuckoo, Hierococcyx fugax, was spotted by Chen RX, while on 21 August 2021, forest specialists, such as a Cream-vented Bulbul, Pycnonotus simplex, and a Chestnut-winged Babbler, Cyanoderma erythropterum, were seen by Tan Kok Hui.

CCNR fringe parks supported species such as a pair of Chestnut-winged Babbler, Cyanoderma erythropterum, on 1 August 2021 at Thomson Nature Park by Geoff Lim, a Square-tailed Drongo Cuckoo, Surniculus lugubris, of which one was seen on 2 August 2021 at Thomson Nature Park by Yip Jen Wei; while along Old Upper Thomson Road, three Brown Hawk-Owl, Ninox scutulata, were reported on 10 Aug 2021 by Tanvi DG. Over at Windsor Nature Park, a Blue-eared Kingfisher, Alcedo meninting, on 27 Aug 2021 (Yap Bao Shen), two Blue-rumped Parrot, Psittinus cyanurus, and a Blyth’s Paradise Flycatcher, Terpsiphone affinis, on 28 Aug 2021 (Fadzrun A), as well as four Long-tailed Parakeet, Psittacula longicauda, on29 Aug 2021 (Matthijs van Bevervoorde) were spotted.

For the Stork-billed Kingfisher, Pelargopsis capensis, nest at Windsor Nature Park, one of the chicks fledged on 14 August 2021 and the nest appeared empty thereafter (Samuel CWJ). The status of the other chick is not known, it could have fledged earlier when no one was around. Nothing is known about the fledging period of the Stork-billed Kingfisher (Wells, 2007). The discovery of the nest on 20 July 2021, when young with unopened eyes were being fed by the parents, tells us that the fledging period is more than 25 days.

SBKF nest, 020821, WNP, Lee Chin Pong

Stork-billed Kingfisher feeding a chick at the nest, the other chick’s bill can be seen near the top of the nest hole, Windsor Nature Park on 2 Aug 2021 by Lee Chin Pong.

At Dairy Farm Nature Park, Yeong WaiKai found the nest of a Straw-headed Bulbul, Pycnonotus zeylanicus, on 25 August 2021. At the Singapore Quarry, an Oriental Darter, Anhinga melanogaster, a Laced Woodpecker, Picus vittatus, a Rufous Woodpecker, Micropternus brachyurus, and two Rufous-tailed Tailorbird, Orthotomus sericeus, were spotted on 28 August 2021 by Wai Heng Lua.

Singapore Botanic Gardens

The Singapore Botanic Gardens continues to be a verdant ground for birds with a Blyth’s Paradise Flycatcher, Terpsiphone affinis, that had just one tail feather, at the ethnobotanical garden on 23 August 2021 (Harry Loh). Over at the Healing and Fragrant Gardens, a Banded Bay Cuckoo, Cacomantis sonneratii, was seen on 25 Aug 2021 by Chen Boon Chong while a Common Kingfisher, Alcedo atthis, and three Coconut Lorikeet, Trichoglossus haematodus, were seen on 27 Aug 2021 by Jon Garcia. Meanwhile, on the same day, a migratory Tiger Shrike, Lanius tigrinus, was spotted by Norhafiani A Majid within the garden grounds.

Central Singapore

A single Asian Palm Swift, Cypsiurus balasiensis, was seen at Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1 on 14 August 2021 by A. Fadzrun A.

Northern Singapore

RC Sunbird, 060821, SBWR, SCC

Ruby-cheeked Sunbird seen on 6 August 2021 at SBWR by Sim Chip Chye.

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR), the premier birding location in northern Singapore, welcomed a rare Ruby-cheeked Sunbird, Chalcoparia singalensis, on 3 August 2021 (Chen RX), 4 August 2021 (Joseph Lim), 5 August 2021 (Gan Lee Hsia), 6 August 2021 (Sim Chip Chye), and on 29 August 2021 (Bhagwant Kurade). The reserve also started to welcome various wintering shorebirds from the north. These included the two Black-tailed Godwit, Limosa limosa, on 14 August 2021 (Kwok Tuck Loong), three Pacific Golden Plover, Pluvialis fulva, five Lesser Sand Plover, Charadrius mongolus, eighty-six Whimbrel, Numenius phaeopus, thirty-five Common Redshank, Tringa totanus, and three Common Greenshank, Tringa nebularia, on 31 August 2021 (Alfred Chia).  Evergreen locals included a Great-billed Heron, Ardea sumatrana, (A. Fadzrun), a pair of Red Collared Dove, Streptopelia tranquebarica, (A. Fadzrun), and one Eastern Cattle Egret, Bubulcus coromandus, (Mike Hooper) on 21 August 2021, one Lesser Adjutant, Leptoptilos javanicus, (Ester Gerber) on26 August 2021, a pair of Copper-throated Sunbird, Leptocoma calcostetha, (Chen Boon Chong) on28 August 2021, and two Little Egret, Egretta garzetta, (Alfred Chia) on 31 August 2021.

A pair of Ashy Tailorbirds, Orthotomus ruficeps, was seen bringing food to their nest at the reserve on 6 August 2021 (Tan Gim Cheong), and Kwan Kee Ming observed that a Lineated Barbet, Psilopogon lineatus, started to build its nest there on 1 August 2021.

Over at Kranji Marsh, a Rusty-breasted Cuckoo, Cacomantis sepulcralis, was seen on 15 August 2021 by Kaeden Sim; a pair of introduced Golden-backed Weavers, Ploceus jacksoni, was building a nest on 11 August 2021 (Tan Gim Cheong); a pair of the introduced Common Waxbill, Estrilda astrild, was building a nest on 23 August 2021 (Keith Hutton); and a nest of the Malaysian Pied Fantail, Rhipidura javanica, contained two chicks (Shahrul Kamal). Another Malaysian Pied Fantail nest contained one chick, which fledged on 28 August 2021, but the fledgling fell into the water and was eaten by a large frog (Felix Wong).

Searchers found White-browed Crake, Porzana cinerea, at Neo Tiew Harvest Link on 15 Aug 2021 (Chen Boon Chong), and four Little Ringed Plover, Charadrius dubius, scurrying in the monsoon drain at Lim Chu Kang Lane 3 on 29 Aug 2021 (Daryl Yeo).  Further eastwards, an Intermediate Egret, Egretta intermedia, a House Swift, Apus nipalensis, and a Golden-bellied Gerygone, Gerygone sulphurea, were reported on 29 August 2021 by Kwok Tuck Loong. Traversing across the northern coastline, we noted the report of a single Western Osprey, Pandion haliaetus, and some Daurian Starling, Agropsar sturninus, along Yishun Dam on 21 August 2021 by Norman Wu, while at Lorong Halus Wetland, an Oriental Dollarbird, Eurystomus orientalis, was seen on 30 August 2021 by John Chin. In the heart of Sengkang, four Rose-ringed Parakeet, Psittacula krameri, and four relatively uncommon Common Myna, Acridotheres tristis, were spotted at Sengkang Riverside Park on 31 Aug 2021 by Tan Kok Hui.

Ashy Tailorbird, 060821, SBWR, TGC_6836,-Ashy-Tailorbird,-m-N-f,-960v

Ashy Tailorbirds, male on left and female on right (paler underparts), 6 August 2021 at SBWR by Tan Gim Cheong.

Eastern Singapore

On 4 August 2021, a fledgling Blue-winged Pitta, Pitta moluccensis, was spotted by Tan Gim Cheong in the understorey of the forest at Pulau Ubin, following a parent pitta; and on 27 August 2021, a fledgling of the similar-looking Mangrove Pitta, Pitta megarhyncha, was calling in the mangroves but no adult pitta came to attend to it (Francis Yap).

The idyllic island also hosted migratory shorebirds such as three Grey Plover, Pluvialis squatarola, and a Terek Sandpiper, Xenus cinereus, which were seen on 13 August 2021 by Oliver Tan, while other visitors encountered residents and local visitors such as the Black-naped Tern, Sterna sumatrana, (Mike Hooper), Black Hornbill, Anthracoceros malayanus, (Tan Hui Zhen), and Green Broadbill, Calyptomena viridis, (Tan Hui Zhen) on 22 August 2021, while an  Abbott’s Babbler, Malacocincla abbotti,  was seen on 23 August 2021 (Tan Gim Cheong), and a White-rumped Shama, Copsychus malabaricus, was seen the next day on 24 August 2021 (Max Khoo). Ubin’s eastern neighbour, Pulau Tekong, yielded a single Grey-tailed Tattler, Tringa brevipes, on 2 August 2021 (Frankie Cheong).

Pasir Ris Park yielded a Lesser Adjutant, Leptoptilos javanicus, on 20 August 2021 (Robert Teo), a Green Imperial Pigeon, Ducula aenea, on 22 August 2021 (Kwok Tuck Loong), and a Black-crowned Night Heron, Nycticorax nycticorax, on 28 August 2021 (Clarice Yan), while five Lesser Whistling Duck, Dendrocygna javanica, were spotted at Bedok Reservoir Park on 26 August 2021 (Jiah Rai).

A White-headed Munia, Lonchura maja, was seen within the grounds of Eastwood Estate on 27 Aug 2021 (Oliver Tan), while Plaintive Cuckoo, Cacomantis merulinus, and Barn Swallow, Hirundo rustica, were seen on 29 Aug 2021 along the Changi Coast Track by A. Fadzrun.

Southern Singapore

Visitors to Gardens-by-the-Bay East spotted a Pacific Reef Heron, Egretta sacra, on 15 Aug 2021 (Fermandez Francis) and seven Masked Lapwing, Vanellus miles, on 28 Aug 2021 (Andrew William). At the breakwater along Marina East Drive in late August, Pary Sivaraman counted 160 Little Terns, Sternula albifrons.

After a failed nesting last month, a pair of Malaysian Plovers, Charadrius peronii, was seen guarding an egg on 1 August 2021 but when revisited 10 days later, “they were gone” (Ko Engwee). The nesting in July failed due to a House Crow which carried off the chick (Low Chong Yang). The chick was at least 25 days old – discovered on 26 June (Max Khoo) and predated on 20 July (Low Chong Yang).

Western Singapore

Jurong Lake Gardens, the swathe of park and wetland abutting the Chinese and Japanese Gardens, proved to be a hit for birds. The heronry continued to support various species of large heron, including one Purple Heron, Ardea purpurea, seen on 29 August 2021 by Andrew William. The highly elusive Barred Buttonquail, Turnix suscitator, proved no match for Norhafiani A Majid who spotted one on 30 August 2021, along with a pair of Buffy Fish Owl, Ketupa ketupu. Other birds that provided considerable excitement and cardio workout included the rarely seen Brown-streaked Flycatcher, Muscicapa williamsoni, on 29 August 2021, which was spotted by the keen and young eyes of Kaeden Sim, as well as a migratory Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, Ficedula zanthopygia, female, spotted on 31 August 2021 by Chen Boon Chong.

BW Stilt, 260821, TSA16, Art Toh

Black-winged Stilt seen on 26 August 2021 at Tuas by Art Toh.

The NTU campus yielded a pair of Red-legged Crake, Rallina fasciata, and a Sunda Scops Owl, Otus lempiji, which were spotted on 26 August 2021 by Yip Jen Wei, while a Grey Wagtail, Motacilla cinerea, was seen on 27 August 2021 by Frank Chen. Nearer the Lim Chu Kang cemeteries, a Blue-winged Pitta, Pitta moluccensis, was seen along Jalan Murai on 28 August 2021 by Eyzat Amer.

Visitors to Tuas South Avenue 16 reported seeing a Red-necked Stint, Calidris ruficollis, on 24 August 2021 (Raghav Narayanswamy), Black-winged Stilt, Himantopus himantopus, on 26 August 2021 (Art Toh), Malaysian Plover, Charadrius peronii, on 29 August 2021 (Bear Jia), four Wood Sandpiper, Tringa glareola, on 29 August 2021 (Max Khoo), and a Curlew Sandpiper, Calidris ferruginea, on 30 August 2021 (Pary Sivaraman).

Over at the Clementi Forest-Holland Plain nexus, a Greater Coucal, Centropus sinensis, was reported on 11 August 2021 from Clementi Forest, while four Tanimbar Corella, Cacatua goffiniana, and one Large-billed Crow, Corvus macrorhynchos, were seen around Holland Plain on 30 August 2021. All records were provided by Lynn Tan.

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 Lee Chin Pong, Sim Chip Chye and Art Toh for allowing us to use their photographs. 

Singapore Bird Report – July 2021

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

TGC_0319_01,-Blue-winged-Pitta,-160721,-v,-nd

A fledgling Blue-winged Pitta at Mandai Track 15 on 16 Jul 2021, by Tan Gim Cheong

Two spectacular July discoveries were reported in the NSS Bird Group blog – the first evidence of breeding of the Blue-winged Pitta, Pitta moluccensis, on mainland Singapore (and only the second breeding record in country), as well as the amazing discovery of the Javan Plover, Charadrius javanicus, a species hitherto never found outside Indonesia.

The story about the Blue-winged Pitta can be found here, while the exciting discovery of the Javan Plover can be accessed here.

Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR)

Within the CCNR core, a Malaysian Hawk-Cuckoo, Hierococcyx fugax, was spotted on 16 July 2021 by Bryan Lim, while a Square-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo, Surniculus lugubris, was seen on 28 July 2021 by Marcel Finlay. A pair of Chestnut-bellied Malkoha, Phaenicophaeus sumatranus, and a single White-rumped Shama, Copsychus malabaricus, were seen on 22 July 2021 within Sime forest by Clarice Yan, while a Blue-eared Kingfisher, Alcedo meninting, two Cream-vented Bulbul, Pycnonotus simplex, Asian Red-eyed Bulbul, Pycnonotus brunneus, and a Blue-winged Leafbird, Chloropsis cochinchinensis, were seen on 25 July 2021 along Rifle Range Link by Lim Kim Chuah. Meanwhile, the regular and solo Oriental Darter, Anhinga melanogaster, was spotted at Hindhede Nature Park, on 17 July 2021 (Matthew Teng) and 27 July 2021 (Martti Siponen).

The western fringe parks abutting CCNR yielded two Van Hasselt’s Sunbird, Leptocoma brasiliana, seen on 10 July 2021 at Dairy Farm Nature Park, by Raghav Narayanswamy, one Short-tailed Babbler, Pellorneum malaccense, and two Blue-winged Leafbird, Chloropsis cochinchinensis, on 11 July 2021 at Chestnut Nature Park by Fadzrun A, while over at Singapore Quarry, three Red-breasted Parakeet, Psittacula alexandri were seen on 21 July 2021 by Sylvester Goh, while two Rufous-tailed Tailorbird, Orthotomus sericeus, and one Little Spiderhunter, Arachnothera longirostra, were spotted on 22 July 2021 by Martti Siponen.

Along Mandai Track 15, Joseph Lim made the stunning discovery of a fledgling Blue-winged Pitta, Pitta moluccensis, on 16 July 2021, while two Short-tailed Babbler, Pellorneum malaccense, were seen on 24 July 2021 at Jalan Ulu Sembawang by Norhafiani A Majid. Birders working along Mandai Road Track 7 reported a Changeable Hawk-Eagle, Nisaetus cirrhatus, two Red-crowned Barbet, Megalaima rafflesii, three Common Hill Myna, Gracula religiosa, and a Cream-vented Bulbul, Pycnonotus simplex, on 21 July 2021 (Oliver Tan); a Chestnut-winged Babbler, Cyanoderma erythropterum, was seen on the same day by Leslie Loh; and Steven Cheong found a Banded Woodpecker, Chrysophlegma miniaceum, feeding its chick at its nest hole on 22 July 2021. A Common Emerald Dove, Chalcophaps indica, was seen on 22 July 2021 at Upper Peirce Reservoir Park by Fermandez Francis.

TGC_7904,-RC-Barbet,-1000v

An excellent portrait of a Red-crowned Barbet taken on 14 Jul 2021 at Thomson Nature Park by Tan Gim Cheong

Visitors had been drawn to Thomson Nature Park in early July 2021 to look at a nesting Red-crowned Barbet, Megalaima rafflesii, which subsequently failed as the tree trunk broke during heavy rain. The birds re-commenced building another nest hole around 20 July 2021 but this, too, did not materialise. At another Red-crowned Barbet’s nest in the park, Tan Chuan Yean managed to photograph the barbet carrying a frog in its beak on 17 July 2021. During this period, visitors noted birds such as two Thick-billed Green Pigeon, Treron curvirostra, on 18 July 2021 (Kaeden Sim), two Plume-toed Swiftlet, Collocalia affinis, and one Asian Palm Swift, Cypsiurus balasiensis, on 19 July 2021 (Krishna Gopagondanahalli), as well as a pair of Chestnut-winged Babbler, Cyanoderma erythropterum, on 27 July 2021 (Joyce Le Mesurier), a species that has become increasingly rare in our forests. On 31 July 2021, a Brown-streaked Flycatcher, Muscicapa williamsoni, was photographed by Meng Kuang Han.

Other breeding records at Thomson Nature Park included a Banded Bay Cuckoo, Cacomantis sonneratii, being fed by a Common Iora, Aegithina tiphia, on 7 July 2021, by Alex Kang; a pair of Crimson Sunbirds, Aethopyga siparaja, feeding their two chicks behind the ladies toilet also on 7 July 2021, by Jojo Kuah; and on 23 July 2021, the successful nesting of a pair of Olive-winged Bulbuls, Pycnonotus plumosus, that the chicks fledged but were still being fed by their parents, also by Jojo Kuah.

At Windsor Nature Park, on 20 July 2021, the nest of the Stork-billed Kingfisher, Pelargopsis capensis, was discovered by Frankie Low. This is the first nest of this kingfisher to be found in Singapore, and it was built in a termite nest on the vertical trunk of a sturdy tree. Frankie Low photographed an adult feeding fish to a chick through the hole in the termite nest.   

Further afield, two Asian Red-eyed Bulbul, Pycnonotus brunneus, were seen on 20 July 2021 along Old Upper Thomson Road by Tan Kok Hui. The Lornie-MacRitchie area also yielded a Red-legged Crake, Rallina fasciata, on 17 July 2021 at MacRitchie Reservoir Park (Marcel Finlay) and an Abbott’s Babbler, Malacocincla abbotti, spotted on 20 July 2021 along Lornie Road (Chen Boon Chong).

Singapore Botanic Gardens

A Buffy Fish Owl, Ketupa ketupu, was spotted within the garden grounds on 11 July 2021 by Joyce Le Mesurier, while a juvenile Banded Bay Cuckoo, Cacomantis sonneratii, was being fed by Common Iora, Aegithina tiphia, from 11 July 2021 (Vincent Chin) to 20 July 2021 (Andrew William). On 15 July 2021, Philip Ng reported three Banded Bay Cuckoo fledglings at separate areas being fed by their foster parents.  

Central Singapore

BT Falconet, 090721, Jln Mashhor, Tang Choon Siang

Black-thighed Falconet at Jalan Mashhor on 9 Jul 2021 by Tang Choon Siang.

On 9 July 2021, a Black-thighed Falconet, Microhierax fringillarius, was spotted at Jalan Mashhor by Art Toh and Tang Choon Siang. The bird was seen on subsequent days up till 12 July 2021 (Vincent Lao). At the same locality, a pair of Common Hill Mynas, Gracula religiosa, mated on 10 July 2021, seen by Chew Serteck. At Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, a Common Kingfisher, Alcedo atthis, was photographed on 16 July 2021 by Vincent Ng, and a Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Haliaeetus ichthyaetus, spotted on 20 July 2021 by Clarice Yan.  Along Potong Pasir, a Purple Heron, Ardea purpurea, was seen on 21 July 2021 by S.O Wu. At Bukit Brown on 21 July 2021, SB Lim photographed a female Pink-necked Green Pigeon, Treron vernans, mounting another female!

Northern Singapore

Note: Sg Buloh, the Kranji Marshes and the Lim Chu Kang-Neo Tiew farmlands are now moved to the section on Northern Singapore to align with NPark’s geographical description of the main Singapore island.

Two Baya Weaver, Ploceus philippinus, were seen on 12 July 2021 at Lorong Halus Wetland (Fermandez Francis), while two Black-crowned Night Heron, Nycticorax nycticorax, were spotted on 24 July 2021 at the Serangoon Estuary (Tan Kok Hui). A single Spotted Wood Owl, Strix seloputo, was seen on 26 July 2021 at the Hampstead Wetlands Park (Steven Cheong).

The Kranji-Lim Chu Kang area yielded a Black-winged Kite, Elanus caeruleus, at the grounds of Kranji Marsh on 19 July 2021 (Martti Siponen) and five early arriving Wood Sandpiper, Tringa glareola, on 25 July 2021 at Lim Chu Kang Lane 3 (Raghav Narayanswamy); further afield, the report of the Ruby-cheeked Sunbird, Chalcoparia singalensis, at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve on 11 July 2021 by YK Han electrified the local birding community, while the report of six Lesser Adjutant, Leptoptilos javanicus, at the Reserve on 12 July 2021 by Martti Siponen served to anchor the birds’ presence in the island republic.

At Kranji Marshes on 14 July 2021, Kok M Lee recorded a Malaysian Pied Fantail, Rhipidura javanica, feeding its foster chick, a Rusty-breasted Cuckoo, Cacomantis sepulcralis, and on 23 July 2021, Avadi L Parimalam saw the mating of a pair of Pied Trillers, Lalage nigra, and the Malaysian Pied Fantail building a nest. 

Eastern Singapore

Javan Plover, 150721, Tekong, Frankie Cheong

Javan Plover taken on 15 Jul 2021 by Frankie Cheong

July witnessed the spectacular discovery of the Javan Plover, Charadrius javanicus, on 15 July 2021 on reclaimed land adjoining one of our eastern islands by Frankie Cheong. At Pulau Ubin, the Green Broadbill, Calyptomena viridis, continued to be seen on 2 July 2021 (Isabelle Lee) until the end of the month; and a Ruddy Kingfisher, Halcyon coromanda, of the resident subspecies minor, given the timing, was heard and photographed on 20 July 2021 by Keita, Dillen and Hong Yao. (The first record of the resident subspecies H. c. minor on Pulau Ubin was in August 2016.)

Other visitors reported the presence of Ubin regulars, such as the Greater Crested Tern, Thalasseus bergii, on 4 July 2021 (Raghav Narayanswamy), Black Hornbill, Anthracoceros malayanus, on 19 July 2021 (Jared Tan), Blue-winged Pitta, Pitta moluccensis, Mangrove Pitta, Pitta megarhyncha, and Copper-throated Sunbird, Leptocoma calcostetha, on 20 July 2021 by Darren Leow and others, as well as up to six White-rumped Shama, Copsychus malabaricus, on 25 July 2021 by Fitri Adnan. Near the site of the Green Broadbill, two Buffy Fish Owls were seen, one blind in the right eye, reported by Tan Chuan Yean.

Green Broadbill, 020721, Ubin, Geoff Lim

Green Broadbill taken on Pulau Ubin on 2 Jul 2021 by Geoff Lim

Other notable sightings in eastern Singapore included a Red Turtle Dove, Streptopelia tranquebarica, at Changi Business Park on 19 July 2021 by T. Ramesh; and at Pasir Ris Park, two Black-crowned Night Heron, Nycticorax nycticorax, on the same day by Joshua Chong.

Breeding-related records at Pasir Ris included a juvenile Slaty-breasted Rail, Lewinia striata, with its parents, on 7 July 2021, and a nest of the Yellow-vented Bulbul, Pycnonotus goaiver, with two chicks on 12 July 2021 when the adult bulbul was photographed holding a young Changeable Lizard in its beak, both by Alvin Seng; and Andrew Hunt found the Collared Kingfishers, Todiramphus chloris, feeding their chicks in their nest at car park D on 21 July 2021, and the chicks reportedly fledged the next day.

YVB catch changeable lizard, 120721, PRP, Alvin Seng

Yellow-vented Bulbul holding a young Changeable Lizard, Pasir Ris Park, 12 Jul 2021, by Alvin Seng

Southern Singapore

Birders who visited the Marina East area reported an early Common Sandpiper, Actitis hypoleucos, and two Lesser Whistling Duck, Dendrocygna javanica, on 18 July 2021 (Max Khoo), while a Great-billed Heron, Ardea sumatrana, was spotted on 20 July 2021 (Krishna Gopagondanahalli) and 24 July 2021 (Jon Garcia). A pair of Malaysian Plover, Charadrius peronii, was also spotted on 20 July 2021, as was a Greater Painted-Snipe, Rostratula benghalensis, and eight Little Tern, Sternula albifrons, all by Krishna Gopagondanahalli.

Other sightings included a pair of Ruddy-breasted Crake, Porzana fusca, at Gardens by the Bay on 5 July 2021 (Joshua Chong), a Chinese Hwamei, Garrulax canorus, at Fort Siloso on 11 July 2021(Chen Boon Chong), a Barred Buttonquail, Turnix suscitator, at Lazarus Island on 16 July 2021 (Rajesh Nagaraj), as well as a White-rumped Munia, Lonchura striata, at Telok Blangah Hill Park on 25 July 2021 (Low Zhi Hao).

Breeding records included a Little Tern, Sternula albifrons, feeding its chick at Lazarus Island on 6 July 2021, by Cecilia Lee; and the Collared Kingfisher feeding its chicks at Buona Vista, by Tan Chuan Yean.

Western Singapore

Two Spotted Wood Owl, Strix seloputo, were seen near King Albert Park on 17 July 2021 by Jai Humphries, while at the nearby Holland Plain, a pair of fairly regular Red-wattled Lapwing, Vanellus indicus, were seen on 21 July 2021, as was an Oriental Dollarbird, Eurystomus orientalis, and five Long-tailed Parakeet, Psittacula longicauda, by Lynn Tan, who also spotted a single Grey-rumped Treeswift, Hemiprocne longipennis, at Maryland Drive the day before on 20 July 2021. Incidentally a single Greater Coucal, Centropus sinensis, was spotted at Holland Plain on 20 July 2021 by Lynn Tan, while two birds were reported on 23 July 2021 by Richard Sanders. It remains to be seen if the Green Corridor area supports more than a pair of these prehistoric-looking birds.

Two Square-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo, Surniculus lugubris, and a Laced Woodpecker, Picus vittatus, were spotted at Bukit Batok Nature Park on 20 July 2021 by Tan Hwee Main. At Jurong Lake Gardens, one Barred Buttonquail, Turnix suscitator, was reported on 28 July 2021 by Tay Kian Guan.

Breeding records at Jurong Lake Gardens included a Slaty-breasted Rail foraging with its young, still in black downy feathers, on 1 July 2021, by Kok M Lee; three Common Tailorbirds, Orthotomus sutorius, fledged on 4 July 2021, by Felix Wong who also recorded the nesting of the Yellow-vented Bulbul, Pycnonotus goaiver; and a pair of Lesser Coucal, Centropus bengalensis, mating on 7 July 2021, when the male offered a grasshopper to the female during the process, photographed by Tan Boon Tiong. At Ulu Pandan on 8 July 2021, Tan Boon Tiong photographed a House Crow, Corvus splendens, carrying a Black-naped Oriole, Oriolus chinensis, chick in its beak as it flew.

Farther west, we noted the report of a Pacific Reef Heron, Egretta sacra, from Pioneer South on 15 July 2021 by Raghav Narayanswamy, while a Buffy Fish Owl, Ketupa ketupu, was reported from the grounds of NTU on 25 July 2021 by Frank Chen.

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 Tang Choon Siang, Frankie Cheong, Geoff Lim, and Alvin Seng for allowing us to use their photographs.

Tweeddale morph? Origins of the name for a uniquely plumaged Oriental Honey Buzzard (Pernis ptilorhyncus)

stray feathers jou 10 1887 hume_0544

19th century painting of “Pernis tweeddalii” by J. G. Keulemans

This post was triggered by an avid birder who asked the above question.

In the late 19th century, an Oriental Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhyncus with an (until then) never seen before blackish-and-white plumage was collected in the southeast of Sumatra, Indonesia. This specimen was described by British ornithologist Arthur Hay in 1877, under Pernis ptilorhyncus, apparently hesitating to separate it from the very variable Oriental Honey Buzzard.

Subsequently, another two specimens of similar plumage were collected, and the distinct plumage of these birds led ornithologists to treat them as a new species of Honey Buzzard. In 1880, this new species was christened Pernis tweeddalii, in honour of Arthur Hay, who was also known as Lord Tweeddale.

Along the way, it was lumped back into Oriental Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhyncus as it breeds with the normal brownish-plumaged OHBs resident in the tropics. Therein lies the origin of the name “Tweeddale morph” of the torquatus subspecies of the OHB.  

“Bubblegum-blowing” by tiny parrot – an apparently undescribed courtship display of the male Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot.

BCHP-bubblegumming,-010321,-Whampoa,-crop,-TGC,-200ms,-699x500

Male Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot (right) “blows bubblegum” (a glob of regurgitated food) in a courtship display to show the female (left) that he is well able to provide food for the family. Animated image by Tan Gim Cheong.

Whampoa, Singapore – a pair of tiny Blue-crowned Hanging Parrots Loriculus galgulus (12-14 cm) flew in to an old tree which had a hole in its trunk. The male flew down from the tree top first, urging the female to come down to check out the tree hole which he had found.

When the female came down to check out the tree hole, the male did something amazing – it started to blow a yellow “bubblegum”, suck it back and blow again, to impress the female. The “bubblegum” is actually a glob of regurgitated food (which is used to feed the chicks). It seems that this display has not been documented before, and is probably part of the male’s courtship ritual to show the female that he is able to provide food for the family.

Unfortunately for this pair, the tree hole was already taken by another pair of hanging parrots, so they both flew off after a while. Good luck finding another tree hole to make a nest, bubblegum blower!

– observed on 1 March 2021

Singapore Raptor Report, Late Spring Migration, April-June 2021

CSH, f, 260621, Fort Siloso Sentosa, Jared Tan, pic

Chinese Sparrowhawk, Sentosa, at an unusually late date – 26 June 2021, by Jared Tan

Summary:

Six migrant raptor species were recorded during this period compared with four in most other years. A Chinese Sparrowhawk Accipiter soloensis photographed by Jared Tan at Sentosa on 25th June came as a huge surprise, as it should have been at its breeding grounds now, and this individual is unseasonally late. The three other records for this species were on 1st April at Telok Blangah Hill Park, 2nd April at Henderson Waves (3 birds), and 9th April at Dairy Farm Nature Park.

The only record for the Black Baza Aviceda leuphotes was a flock of 25 at Henderson Waves on 2nd April, recorded by Zac C. In some years, this species is not recorded from April onwards for spring migration.

The twelve Oriental Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhyncus on 2nd April – eight at Henderson Waves and four at Pinnacle@Duxton – might have been the last migrants to head north for the breeding grounds. There were another 13 records in April, 12 in May and 9 in June, and where photos were available, were all immatures, which would be over-summering here.

Fifty four Japanese Sparrowhawks Accipiter gularis were recorded between 1st to 19th April, a high number compared with only five last April. Three Peregrine Falcons Falco peregrinus were recorded, one adult at Bangkit Road on 18th April, one at Chek Jawa on 25th April, and a juvenile at Sembawang from 18th April to 3rd May. Small numbers of Western Osprey Pandion haliaetus were also recorded between April to June.

Black-thighed Falconet, 300521, Goldhill, Art Toh, same

Black-thighed Falconet, practicing its habit of perching at the top of a bare branch, Goldhill Avenue, 30 May 2021, by Art Toh

Sedentary Raptors

The biggest surprise came in the form of a tiny Black-thighed Falconet Microhierax fringillarius photographed by Art Toh at Goldhill Avenue on 30th May, doing what the species like to do – perching on the top of a bare branch. Unfortunately, it did not stay long. Apart from the juvenile at Yishun in February this year, the last confirmed record for this species was more than 30 years ago, amazing.

The next great find was the first breeding record of the Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela, for which a fresh juvenile was photographed by Tan YinLing on 25th May at Goldhill Avenue. For the next two weeks it appeared on and off alone, and it was only on 8th June that lucky Koh Lian Heng managed to see an adult catching a skink and then passing it to the juvenile before flying off, leaving the juvenile to feed by itself, showing that it had recently fledged and was still dependent on its parents. On 10th June, Zacc HD had the good fortune of seeing the adult serpent eagle holding a snake, and the juvenile flew to the same perch, no doubt to feed on the prey. Other records of the serpent eagle came from Pulau Ubin, on 7th and 10th April, and a sub-adult at Upper Peirce Reservoir on 1st June.

CSE juv, 220621, Goldhill, TGC

Crested Serpent Eagle, the recently fledged juvenile looking well fed, Goldhill Avenue, 22 June 2021 by Tan Gim Cheong

There were breeding records for five other resident raptors. Three nestlings of the Brahminy Kite Haliastur Indus were noted by Lee Chin Pong on 3rd April at Dover Road. On 24th May, three Changeable Hawk-Eagles Nisaetuscirrhatus, an adult and two fresh juveniles, all pale morphs, were photographed at Tampines Avenue 12, where a pair has had a nest for a number of years. On 1st June, a fresh juvenile Grey-headed Fish Eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus that was apparently still dependent on its parents for food was photographed by Ash Foo at Little Guilin.The Crested Goshawks Accipiter trivirgatus at Sin Ming raised a second brood and two chicks were noted on 5th April, however one died on 15th April and the remaining chick was seen perching a few metres outside the nest on 23rd April. Another Crested Goshawk nest was discovered at Toa Payoh on 5th May, with an adult on the nest.

There were five nesting records for the White-bellied Sea Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster. The pair at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve bred again this season and two chicks were out of the nest on 30 May. The pair at Fort Canning also bred again, re-using their old nest which held two chicks on 7th June. At Loyang Avenue, an active nest was reported on 25th April, and two fully grown chicks were recorded on 29th May. At Yishun Avenue 1, a nest with two chicks was seen on 26th April, and at West Coast Park, a chick was reported to have made its maiden flight on 23rd June.

BHO, 300621, HNP, TGC

Brown Hawk Owl, 2 recently fledged young with an adult (partially hidden on the right), Hindhede Nature Park, 30 June 2021, by Tan Gim Cheong

Nocturnal Raptors

There were breeding records for five species of nocturnal raptors. A fledgling Barred Eagle-Owl Bubo sumatranus was photographed at Rifle Range Link on 4th April, while two adults, presumably its parents, were seen the day prior at the same locality.

On 19th April, a family of Spotted Wood Owls Strix seloputo with two chicks was spotted at Pasir Ris Park, and one of the chicks was already out of its nest, which was fittingly a bird’s nest fern. The other chick was also out of the nest on 27th April. At Benjamin Shears bridge, a fully grown Eastern Barn Owl Tyto javanicachick was spotted on 27th April, with its parent.

In May, a fledgling Sunda Scops Owl Otus  lempiji was photographed at the Botanic Gardens, and the adults were seen bringing food to the young owl. On 26th June, a family of Brown Hawk Owl Ninox scutulata with two fledglings was discovered at Hindhede Nature Park.

On 10th June, the mixed Brown Fish Owl Ketupa zeylonensisandBuffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupupair was spotted at Hindhede Quarry, together with their hybrid offspring. This family was first discovered in February 2021.

Many thanks to everyone for posting / sending in / sharing their records, and to Jared Tan & Art Toh for the use of their photos.

For a pdf version with more details, please click Singapore Raptor Report, Late Spring Migration, Apr-Jun 2021

Singapore Bird Report – June 2021

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

Not one but five spectacular species were reported in a hitherto quiet month of June. Read on to find out more!

Black Magpie, 090621 1720h, Hindhede, Kenneth Chow on FBBS

Black Magpie by Kenneth Chow, 9 June 2021 at Hindhede Nature Park.

The first surprise find for June was a Black Magpie, Platysmurus leucopterus, on 9 June 2021 at Hindhede Quarry by Vinod Saranathan. Vinod reported that its “weird raucous call” gave it away when he saw it at 6:40pm that day. Another birder, Kenneth Chow, reported seeing the bird at 4:30pm, which he thought was a “strange crow with dirty wings” at the quarry area, and at 5:20pm when he thought it was a Greater Coucal.

Fluffy-backed Tit-Babbler, posted 150621, Upper Seletar Res, Lawrence Cher, pic

Fluffy-backed Tit-Babbler by Lawrence Cher, 15 June 2021 at Upper Seletar Reservoir Park.

While the community was reeling from the appearance of the Magpie, a hitherto unexpected find in the form of a Fluffy-backed Tit-Babbler, Macronus ptilosus, was made on 15 June 2021 around 2pm at the Upper Seletar Reservoir Park by Lawrence Cher. Lawrence was at the park looking for butterflies to photograph that afternoon as June was relatively quiet in terms of interesting bird life, when he noticed several Pin-striped Tit-Babblers and Chestnut-winged Babbler calling in the background. The birds were popping in and out from view as they foraged, when one popped into the open. Lawrence managed to obtain one clear photo from the series taken; he had thought that it was a Chestnut-winged Babbler until post-processing revealed that it was a different babbler species.

Shearwater, 230621, BAMK, Art Toh, same

Wedge-tailed Shearwater by Art Toh, 23 June 2021 at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park.

The third report to take the community by storm was the appearance of a Wedge-tailed Shearwater, Ardenna pacifica, a seabird more likely to be encountered in the seas and oceans, than at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, as reported by William Khaw on 23 June 2021. The bird was apparently found at one of the apartment blocks of the housing estate that morning, and brought to the park by an unknown person. Concerned parties alerted ACRES, who collected the bird that evening.  While the shearwater appeared to be far from any body of sea-water, these birds travel across long distances and may well have been in transit across our island when it possibly came into contact with one of our tall concrete structures. Unfortunately, the bird expired shortly after its rescue.

Green Broaodbill, 280621, Ubin, AOY

Green Broadbill at Pulau Ubin by Alan Owyong, 28 June 2021.

A Green Broadbill, Calyptomena viridis, was discovered on 27 June 2021 along Jalan Batu Ubin, Pulau Ubin, by Adrian Silas Tay and Jerold Tan. The bird continued to remain visible for the rest of that Sunday, and was seen for subsequent days. According to our records, the bird was last reported in 1941 as a resident and thought to have been extirpated ever since. So, where did this Green Broadbill, a former resident come from?  That was a question venerable birder, Alan Owyong, asked and an excerpt of his social media post is reproduced here:

It is always a difficult question to answer especially if the species is being sold in the pet shops in Singapore or a popular caged bird. On 27 November 2014, one was photographed at East Coast Park and another was photographed a month later on 25 December at Pulau Ubin. These were assigned to Category [D] but were reassigned to Cat A in 2020 and listed in the 2021 Checklist. [I was reminded of one heard at Nee Soon in 2002.]

The Green Broadbills can be nomadic and are known to wander afar in search of fruits. The continuous forest cover at Pulau Ubin must surely be a welcome sight for those birds that fly over from the forest of southern Johor.

This Green Broadbill should be the same bird spotted on 11 April 2021 along the same stretch of road. [On] 28 June, we noticed that the Green Broadbill flew to a MacArthur’s Palm by the roadside to feed on the young green palm fruits. Most broadbills are insectivorous. But the Green Broadbill is [mainly] frugivorous and feed on berries, figs and small fruits. This may be the reason why it stayed around the same area for the past three days.

Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR)

BEO, 050621, RRL, LKC

Barred Eagle Owl by Lim Kim Chuah, 5 June 2021, Rifle Range Link.

Within the core CCNR area, a Barred Eagle-Owl, Bubo sumatranus, was spotted on 5 June 2021, along Rifle Range Link (Lim Kim Chuah), while on the same day a single Black-headed Bulbul, Pycnonotus atriceps, was seen along the same track (Lau Jia Sheng). Visitors also spotted Malaysian Hawk-Cuckoo, Hierococcyx fugax, on 15 June 2021 (Max Khoo), and heard a Chestnut-winged Babbler, Stachyris erythroptera, on 19 June 2021 at Mandai Road Track 7 (Tan Kok Hui). From Jelutong Tower, two Blue-rumped Parrot, Psittinus cyanurus were spotted by Yap Bao Shen on 3 June 2021, as well as two Chestnut-bellied Malkoha, Phaenicophaeus sumatranus, (T. Ramesh), and a pair of Asian Red-eyed Bulbul, Pycnonotus brunneus, (Chan Mei Yee) on 20 June 2021.

Fringe parks abutting the CCNR yielded good forest species such as the Violet Cuckoo, Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus, seen at Hindhede Nature Park on 10 June 2021 by Yip Jen Wei, a Red-crowned Barbet, Megalaima rafflesii, spotted on 20 June 2021 at MacRitchie Reservoir Park by Marcel Finlay. At Thomson Nature Park, a Short-tailed Babbler, Malcocincla malaccensis, was recorded by Fitri Adnan on 20 June 2021, and a family of White-rumped Shama, Copsychus malabaricus, with two fledglings were recorded by Khong Yew on 30 June 2021. A Blue-eared Kingfisher, Alcedo meninting, was spotted at Hindhede Nature Park on 21 June 2021 by Raghav Narayanswamy.

Central Singapore

CSE, 220621, Goldhill, TGC, juvenile

Juvenile Crested Serpent Eagle at Goldhill Avenue by Tan Gim Cheong, 22 June 2021.

There was much rejoicing over the sighting of a juvenile Crested Serpent Eagle, Spilornis cheela, together with adults at Goldhill Avenue. One sighting of the juvenile eagle was on 19 June 2021 by Matthew Teng. More reports of the confirmation of a successful nesting can be found in this link.

Central Singapore also yielded the afore-mentioned Wedge-tailed Shearwater, Ardenna pacifica, which was reported on 23 June 2021 at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park by William Khaw, Art Toh and others. On 13 June 2021, Ash Foo found a pair of Striated Herons, Butorides striata, at their nest at the same park.

Northern Singapore

The Lorong Halus Wetland continued to support the Little Grebe, Tachybaptus ruficollis, which was spotted on 15 June 2021 by Yip Jen Wei, who also saw an Asian Palm Swift, Cypsiurus balasiensis, at the same location. On 24 June, 2021, Yeong WaiKai found a male Common Iora, Aegithina tiphia, sitting on its nest.

Further afield, a Purple Heron, Ardea purpurea, was reportedly seen at Sengkang Riverside Park/ Sengkang Floating Wetland on 21 June 2021 by Vilis Lu. At Punggol Barat on 4 June 2021, Keith Hutton found a Large-tailed Nightjar, Caprimulgus macrurus, nest with two eggs.

Eastern Singapore

Mangrove Pitta, 280621, PRP, Danny Khoo

Mangrove Pitta at Pasir Ris Park by Danny Khoo, 28 June 2021.

Pasir Ris Park continued to support a diverse range of residents, including the single Mangrove Pitta, Pitta megarhyncha, spotted on 4 June 2021 by Danny Khoo, and on 9 June 2021 by Low Zhi Hao, a pair of adult and two juvenile Spotted Wood Owl, Strix seloputo, on 15 June 2021 by Mae Wong, as well as reports of a Green Imperial Pigeon, Ducula aenea, a Tanimbar Corella, Cacatua goffiniana, and an over-summering Crested Honey Buzzard, Pernis ptilorhynchus, on 22 June 2021 by Shuna Maekawa.

At the nearby Tampines Eco Green, a Rufous Woodpecker, Micropternus brachyurus, was reported on 22 June 2021 by Lim Kim Keang, who also reported the presence of two Asian Golden Weavers, Ploceus hypoxanthus.

Pulau Ubin continued to dazzle with reports of the Cinnamon-headed Green Pigeon, Treron fulvicollis, spotted on 12 June 2021 by Lim Kim Chuah, a Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike, Hemipus hirundinaceus, on 21 June 2021, at the Chek Jawa Wetlands by Jeff Tan, and the spectacular Green Broadbill, Calyptomena viridis, on 27 June 2021 at Jalan Batu Ubin, discovered by Adrian Silas Tay and Jerold Tan.

On another northeastern island, Frankie Cheong found a small colony of 20-30 breeding  Little Terns, Sternula albifrons, with some 8-10 chicks hatching around mid-June; later on a single stilt was seen on 25 June 2021, and then he reported 4 stilts, which appeared to be an interesting mix of at least one Pied Stilt, Himantopus leucocephalus, (which was the fifth exceptional species for the month) and one Black-winged Stilt, Himantopus himantopus, on 28 June 2021.   

Southern Singapore

Over at Gardens by the Bay, two House Swift, Apus nipalensis, were reported on 6 June 2021 by Yip Jen Wei, while two species of raptor were reported on 20 June 2021 – a single Changeable Hawk-Eagle, Nisaetus cirrhatus, and a Crested Goshawk, Accipiter trivirgatus, by budding birder, Kaeden Sim, who also saw the Ruddy-breasted Crake, Porzana fusca.

On 20 June 2021, Abegale Queddeng witnessed a snake catching one of the Sunda Pygmy Woodpeckers, Yungipicus moluccensis, that tried to defend their nest, and on the next day Kelvin Ng found the remaining parent still attending to the nest. Kelvin also spotted a fledgling Olive-backed Sunbird, Cinnyris jugularis on the same day. Then on 23 June 2021, Jayden Woo found a Yellow-vented Bulbul’s, Pycnonotus goiavier, nest that held two chicks.

A stone’s throw away, albeit not too literally, a Malaysian Plover, Charadrius peronii, our resident plover, was reported on 12 June 2021 at Marina East by Low Zhi Hao. Across the waters, an Eastern Barn Owl, Tyto javanica, was reported on 22 June 2021 at Millenia Tower by Yip Jen Wei.

Visitors to Sentosa were serenaded by up to two Chinese Hwamei, Garrulax canorus, reported on 21 June 2021 by Norhafiani A Majid. Meanwhile, along the waters of the Southern Islands, a Great-billed Heron, Ardea sumatrana, a Pacific Reef Heron, Egretta sacra, and a Black-naped Tern, Sterna sumatrana, were seen the day before, 20 June 2021, by Raghav Narayanswamy.

Western Singapore

Sungei Buloh Weland Reserve was visited by, not one but eight spectacular Lesser Adjutant, Leptoptilos javanicus, on 14 June 2021 (Ester Gerber), while a pair of Copper-throated Sunbird, Leptocoma calcostetha, were reported on 21 June 2021 (Kieran Kwek). On 12 June 2021, Lee Chin Pong found a Common Tailorbird, Orthotomus sutorius attending to two chicks in a nest. At the nearby Kranji Marsh, a male Pied Triller, Lalage nigra, was seen feeding a chick in its nest on 13 June 2021, by Philip Ng.

Over at the popular Jurong Lake Gardens, a cryptic Barred Buttonquail, Turnix suscitator, was seen on 8 June 2021 (Jared Tan), while the regular Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Haliaeetus ichthyaetus, was seen on 21 June 2021 along the Ulu Pandan Park Connector (Norhafiani A Majid), where a pair of Golden-bellied Gerygones, Gerygone sulphurea, were observed to have mated on 17 Jun 2021 (Richard Lee), and on 20 June 2021, David Chan photographed a Golden-bellied Gerygone feeding a Little Bronze Cuckoo, Chrysococcyx minutillus, that had already left the nest.

Other species noted in the west included a Watercock, Gallicrex cinerea, on 6 June 2021, along Jalan Murai, (Marcel Finlay), a Large-billed Crow, Corvus macrorhynchos, on 20 June 2021 at Greenleaf View (Lynn Tan), as well as two Long-tailed Parakeet, Psittacula longicauda, and three Baya Weaver, Ploceus philippinus, both on 22 June 2021 along Holland Plain (Lynn Tan).


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. Rarities would be assessed by the Records Committee.

Many thanks to Kenneth Chow, Lawrence Cher, Art Toh, Alan Owyong, Lim Kim Chuah, and Danny Khoo for allowing us to use their photographs.

Singapore Bird Report – May 2021

IPH, 020521, Bedok Canal, Herman Phua

Indian Pond Heron, Bedok canal, 2 May 2021, by Herman Phua

May 2021 – most of the migrants have departed. A rare Pheasant-tailed Jacana flying to the north was photographed at Pasir Ris Park on 12 May 2021 by W K Ang. The Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii at Dover Road stayed till 8 May 2021 (Russell Boyman), while another individual at Bedok canal stayed till 13 May 2021 (Max Khoo).

For the cuckoos, a Chestnut-winged Cuckoo Clamator coromandus was photographed at Thomson Nature Park on 6 May 2021 by Norman Wu; a Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx nisicolor reported at Changi Business Park on 8 May 2021 by Lim Kim Keang; and an Indian Cuckoo Cuculus micropterus at Pasir Ris Park on 14 May 2021, by Oliver Tan.

A Black-browed Reed Warbler Acrocephalus bistrigiceps and an Oriental Reed Warbler Acrocephalus orientalis were recorded at Gardens by the Bay on 15 May 2021 by Kaeden Sim. On 8 May 2021, Low Chong Yang photographed a Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler Locustella certhiola, and on 16 May 2021, Yip Jen Wei recorded another at Kranji Marsh.

At Sembawang beach on 3 May 2021, an immature Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus was photographed by Steven Cheong. An unfortunate Hooded Pitta Pitta sordida was found dead at Chestnut Avenue on 5 May 2021, by Troy. On 9 May 2021, Betty Shaw recorded a Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus at Bukit Panjang Link, and the wintering Grey Nightjar Caprimulgus jotaka at Hampstead wetlands was still around (Max Cheo). An Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia with long breeding plumes was photographed at Ulu Pandan on 20 May 2021 by Olga Lipunova.

Intermediate Egret, 200521, Ulu Pandan, Olga Lipunova on BICA

Intermediate Egret, showing long breeding plumes, Ulu Pandan, 20 May 2021, by Olga Lipunova

At the Central Forests and its fringes, an adult Barred Eagle Owl Bubo sumatranus was photographed at Rifle Rang Link on 13 May 2021 by Lam SG; at Jelutong Tower on 8 May 2021, a Cream-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus simplex and a Van Hasselt’s Sunbird Leptocoma brasiliana were recorded by Norvin Ng; at Mandai Track 7 on 2 May 2021, Tan Yes Chong recorded a Red-crowned Barbet Psilopogon rafflesii and a Chestnut-bellied Malkoha Phaenicophaeus sumatranus, and on 16 May 2021, Russell Boyman recorded 6 Chestnut-winged babblers Cyanoderma erythropterum. At Windsor Nature Park, Alex Fok found the Blue-rumped Parrot Psittinus cyanurus feasting on the starfruits on 1 May 2021, and for several days after, at least until 11 May 2021, as noted by Gerald Lim. At Dairy Farm Nature Park on 2 May 2021, Norvin Ng encountered three Rufous-tailed Tailorbirds Orthotomus sericeus.

BR Parrot, posted 110521, Windsor NP, Gerald KC Lim

Blue-rumped Parrot, male, Windsor Nature Park, 11 May 2021, by Gerald KC Lim

At Turut Track, a Savanna Nightjar Caprimulgus affinis was photographed on 8 May 2021, and three Greater Painted Snipes Rostratula benghalensis were photographed on 9 May 2021, both by Norvin Ng. Towards the south, Gilbert Lee photographed three Lesser Whistling Ducks Dendrocygna javanica at Satay by the Bay on 4 May 2021, and Ray Ng saw many Little Terns Sternula albifrons at Marina Barrage on 1 May 2021. At Pasir Ris Park, the Mangrove Pitta Pitta megarhyncha was still around on 4 May 2021 (David Kow), and the Sunda Scops Owl was also detected on 12 May 2021 (Erwin Foo).

Elsewhere, a Great-billed Heron Ardea sumatrana was photographed at Sembawang beach near PAssion Wave on 1 May 2021 by Benjamin Seah; a male Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus was recorded at Eco Lake, Botanic Gardens on 1 May 2021 by Andrew H.; and a White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata visited the terraces at Telok Blangah Hill Park on 2 May 2021 (Khoo MeiLin). On 11 May 2021 at Jurong Lake Gardens, Jade Neo photographed an Oriental Pied Hornbill Anthracoceros albirostris holding a naked chick in its beak (this is quite common as the hornbill is a prolific nest raider). At the park connector along Hougang Avenue 7 on 22 May 2021, a handsome male Mandarin Duck Aix galericulata with a ring on its left leg (escapee) showed up, photographed by Danny Khoo.

Parasitic Jaeger, 080521, port limits, Norhafiani A Majid

Parasitic Jaeger, pelagic off east coast within port limits, 8 May 2021, by Norhafiani A. Majid

During a pelagic trip conducted off the east coast, within port limits, on 2 May 2021, Francis Yap recorded a Common Tern Sterna hirundo. On another similar trip on 8 May 2021, Herman Phua photographed a Parasitic Jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus.

Lau Jia Sheng spent three weekend sessions at Kusu Island watching distant seabirds. He reported six Short-tailed Shearwaters Ardenna tenuirostris on 16 May 2021; 23 Swinhoe’s Storm Petrel Oceanodroma monorhis on 16 May 2021, and 41 individuals on 22 May 2021; ten Bridled Terns Onychoprion anaethetus on 22 May 2021, and nine individuals on 29 May 2021.

Bridled Tern, 080521, port limits, Herman Phua, crop

Bridled Tern, pelagic off east coast within port limits, 8 May 2021, by Herman Phua

Breeding records

At Pasir Ris Park on 1 May 2021, a Spotted Wood Owl Strix seloputo chick that landed on the ground managed to climb back up the tree on its own effort, reported by George Koh. Alan Chew reported 4 owls in total, 2 adults and 2 fledglings.

At Whampoa, a Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot Loriculus galgulus was photographed outside a treehole on 14 May 2021 by Gilbert. In the vicinity of Hampstead Wetlands on 3 May 2021, Joe KS photographed a pair of Oriental Pied Hornbills Anthracoceros albirostris checking out the abandoned tree hole, with the female entering the hole, but they apparently decided not to use it. On 1 May 2021, Jeremiah Loei reported that the female hornbill at Newton Food Centre had broken out of the nest hole, and suspected another nesting failure.

The pair of Collared Kingfishers Todiramphus chloris which successfully raised three chicks at Pasir Ris Park in April was observed mating on 3 May 2021 by Alan Chew. At Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park on 1 May 2021, Max Cheo saw a Purple Heron Ardea purpurea flying with a stick in its beak. A pair of Copper-throated Sunbirds Leptocoma calcostetha were attending to their nest at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR) on 14 May 2021, by Anthony L; and the nest of a pair of Yellow-bellied Prinias Prinia flaviventris at Punggol Barat held three eggs on 28 May 2021, by Keith Hutton. At the eastern end of Yishun Dam, Keith Hutton found a Striated Heron Butorides striata sitting on its nest on 28 May 2021.

BN Tern, 050521, PRP east end, Wong Sangmen

Black-naped Terns, about to mate, Pasir Ris Park, 5 May 2021, by Wong Sangmen

Near Sophia Residence on 3 May 2021, Eric Tan found a Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus goiavier nest with two young chicks. At Dairy Farm Nature Park on 25 May 2021, Tan Boon Tiong saw the Swinhoe’s White-eye Zosterops simplex feeding its fledgling; and at Ulu Pandan on 28 May 2021, Kelvin Ng photographed a Little Bronze Cuckoo Chrysococcyx minutillus in a nest being fed by a Golden-bellied Gerygone Gerygone sulphurea.

At SBWR, Alex Low found a nest of the Ashy Tailorbird Orthotomus ruficeps which held three chicks. He reported that an Oriental Whip Snake was warded off by, interestingly, by a sunbird, and the next day, an Abbott’s Babbler grabbed one chick and dropped it on the ground. The chick was rescued and put back into the nest, but two days later, Alex found the nest empty and abandoned.

At the eastern end of Pasir Ris Park, several Black-naped Terns Sterna sumatrana frequented the offshore buoy. On 4 May 2021, Keith Hutton observed courtship feeding and mating. Mating was also observed on 5 May 2021 and 15 May 2021 by Wong Sangmen. On 8 May 2021, there was at least one chick, photographed by Yeong WaiKai. The terns were also breeding at their traditional site, the nearby Loyang Rock, also known as Squance Rock, observed by various birders.

For the escapees, Janssen Tan saw a male Golden-backed Weaver Ploceus jacksoni flying with a blade of grass at Neo Tiew area on 8 May 2021, and Tan CY photographed a pair mating on 9 May 2021; at Halus Wetlands on 20 May 2021,  Avadi L Parimalam photographed a Black-headed Weaver Ploceus melanocephalus in the early stages of nestbuilding.

This report is compiled by Tan Gim Cheong, assisted by Geoff Lim. 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, Olga Lipunova, Gerald KC Lim, Norhafiani A. Majid, and Wong Sangmen for allowing us to use their photographs.

Singapore Bird Report – April 2021

A rare White-cheeked Starling Spodiopsar cineraceus made a brief appearance at Holland Plains on 25 Apr 2021 (Richard White), and at Pulau Ubin, a Green Broadbill Calyptomena viridis also made a brief appearance on 11 Apr 2021 near Jalan Batu Ubin-Jelutong junction (Keita Sin & Geraldine Lee). At Chek Jawa on 3 Mar 2021, Lim Kim Keang counted seven Chinese Egrets Egretta eulophotes, dropping to five birds on 4 Apr 2021 (Leslie Loh) and 2 birds on 18 Apr 2021 (Norman Wu).

Amur PFC, 080421, JLG, Kelvin Ng Cheng Kwan

Amur Paradise Flycatcher, Jurong Lake Gardens, 8 Apr 2021, by Kelvin Ng Cheng Kwan

At Tampines Eco Green on 7 Apr 2021, Lester Tan bumped into a male long-tailed Japanese Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone atrocaudata which was only seen again on 13 Apr 2021 (Khong Yew). A female showed up at the same area on 17 Mar 2021 (Ch Gan). At Jurong Lake Gardens on 23 Apr 2021, a short-tailed individual was recorded by Jared Tan; and on the first day of the month, another individual appeared at the Botanic Gardens (Dennis Lim).

For the Amur Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone incei a long tailed male was recorded by Ash Foo on 8 Apr 2021 at Jurong Lake Gardens, where there was also a Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus on 24 Apr 2021, recorded by Herman Phua. A Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus was still at the lake gardens on 2 Apr 2021 (Shahrul), but another individual, an adult, showed up at Rower’s Bay Park on 26 Apr 2021 (Basil Chia), and stayed for a few days.

Common Moorhen. 280421, Rower Bay, TGC

Common Moorhen, Rower’s Bay Park, 28 Apr 2021, by Tan Gim Cheong

In addition to the Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii at Dover Road, present  till 23 Apr 2021 (Chen Yi-Fan), there was another individual at the field next to the Chinese Garden MRT station on 21 Apr 2021, recorded by Norhafiani A. Majid. Breeding plumage Javan Pond Heron Ardeola speciosawas recorded at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park on 2 Apr 2021 by Jeremy Lim, and at Marina East Drive on 10 Apr 2021 by Wong Chung Cheong. Recognisable Chinese Pond Herons Ardeola bacchuswere at Labrador Park on 1 Apr 2021 (Lucas), and at Marina East drive on 8 Apr 2021 (Donald).

A Himalayan Cuckoo Cuculus saturatus was at Dairy Farm Nature Park on 3 Apr 2021 (Raghav N.) and 4 Apr 2021 (Art Toh); while a Banded Bay Cuckoo Cacomantis sonneratiiwas atConey Island on 1 Apr 2021 (Norvin Ng). A Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx nisicolor was recorded at Tampines Eco Green on 4 Apr 2021 by Pher Joseph, and at Ketam Quarry, Ubin on 10 Apr 2021 by Aps Kumar.

Himalayan Cuckoo, 040421, DFNP near toilet, Art Toh

Himalayan Cuckoo, Dairy Farm Nature Park, 4 Apr 2021, by Art Toh

For the flycatchers, a Ferruginous Flycatcher Muscicapa ferruginea was still at Windsor Nature Park on 1 Apr 2021 (Lam SG); two Green-backed Flycatchers Ficedula elisae a male and a female were at Rifle Range Link on 5 Apr 2021 (Wong Lee Hong); while a male Mugimaki Flycatcher Ficedula mugimakiwas at Jurong Lake Garden on 7 Apr 2021 (Kok M Lee).

At Pasir Ris Park, a White-rumped Shama Copsychus malabaricus showed up on 11 Apr 2021 (HongWY); a Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis at the bridge near car park B on 18 Apr 2021 (Ray Ng); and the Mangrove Pitta Pitta megarhyncha was still around on 25 Apr 2021 (Yip Jen Wei). Around six Black-naped Terns Sterna sumatrana were observed at the buoy off the eastern end of the park on 21 Apr 2021, by Vincent Yip.

A shy Malayan Night Heron Gorsachius melanolophus was seen at Changi Business Park on 15 Apr 2021 by Ramesh T.; two Pacific Reef Herons Egretta sacra one dark morph and one white morph were seen at Marina East on 19 Apr 2021 by Darren Leow; and a Grey Heron Ardea cinerea at Check Jawa, Ubin caught a big fish on 24 Apr 2021 (Peh Chee Ee).

Grey Heron eat big fish, 240421, CJ, Ubin, Peh Chee Ee

Grey Heron caught a big fish, Chek Jawa, Ubin, 24 Apr 2021, by Peh Chee Ee

The small Van Hasselt’s Sunbird Leptocoma brasiliana was seen near Jelutong Tower on 4 Apr 2021 by Lam SG, and a Blue-winged Pitta Pitta moluccensis on 6 Apr 2021 at Golf Link after the boardwalk towards Jelutong Tower (Keith Hutton).

A male Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu showed up at Hindhede Nature Park on 14 Apr 2021 (Raghav N.), while a female appeared at Rifle range Link on 26 Apr 2021 (Tan Ping Guang). Lesser Whistling Ducks Dendrocygna javanica were seen near the PIE- Bedok PCN intersection on 11 Apr 2021 by Ryuta Teo (7 birds), and at Satay by the bay on 26 Apr 2021 by Sylvester Goh (9 birds). A Grey Nightjar Caprimulgus jotaka was photographed at Pasir Ris Park on 2 Apr 2021 by Bhupesh Kurade, while the nightjar at Hampstead Wetlands was still around on 4 Apr 2021 (Peter Cheng).

Elsewhere, a Ruddy-breasted Crake Zapornia fusca was photographed at Neo Tiew Harvest Link on 6 Apr 2021 by Meena Vathyam; an Eyebrowed Thrush Turdus obscurus atConey Island on 7 Apr 2021 by Vincent Yip; three Pacific Golden Plovers Pluvialis fulva in different plumages at Bedok Canal on 19 Apr 2021 by Tan Gim Cheong; a Tiger Shrike Lanius tigrinusat Goldhill Avenue on 12 Apr 2021 by Steven Cheong; a White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata at Telok Blangah Hill Park on 16 Apr 2021 by Ash Foo; and two Straw-headed Bulbuls Pycnonotus zeylanicus at Little Guilin on 18 Apr 2021 by Wong LP.

PGP, 250421, Bedok canal, Ho Siew Mun, crop

Pacific Golden Plover, this individual was the most advanced in moult into breeding plumage, Bedok canal, 25 Apr 2021, by Ho Siew Mun

During a pelagic trip conducted within port limits on 25 Apr 2021, four Short-tailed Shearwater Ardenna tenuirostris were recorded – three near Changi and one nearer to Marina East (Francis Yap). From Kusu Island, Lau Jia Sheng saw two of these birds on 24 Apr 2021.

For escapees, two Vinous-breasted Starlings Acridotheres burmannicus were back at Ang Mo Kio Street 53 on 1 Apr 2021, noted by Tan Heng Liang; while a female Mandarin Duck Aix galericulata was at the field between Hougang Ave 3 and Defu Ave 1 on 9 Apr 2021 (Mark Oei) and on 22 Apr 2021 (Vincent Yip).

Breeding records

Mating was recorded for the following species: Common Flameback at Tampines Eco Green on 20 Apr 2021 by Lim Chong Hwee; Long-tailed Parakeet at Sembawang on 20 Apr 2021 by Keith Hutton; and a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo Cacatua galerita mating with a Tanimbar Corella Cacatua goffiniana in April photographed by Julie Edgley.

CPSBB, 170421, HWL, TGC

Coppersmith Barbet, feeding its chick, Hampstead Wetlands, 17 Apr 2021, by Tan Gim Cheong

Mating was also observed for the Blue-throated Bee-eaters Merops viridis at Sentosa in April, by Vincent Yip; and at Tampines Eco Green on 18 Apr 2021 by Wong Sangmen. The bee-eaters were seen digging holes in a sand pile at Sentosa on 8 April 2021 by Norvin Ng; and in the ground at Punggol end on 25 Apr 2021 by Mark Oei.

An Asian Glossy Starling Aplonis panayensis was perched in a nest being built by a Baya Weaver Ploceus philippinus on 14 Apr 2021 but was chased away by the weaver, noted Thomas Chong. A Chestnut-bellied Malkoha Phaenicophaeus sumatranus couple was building their nest near Jelutong Twr on 11 Apr 2021, seen by Ingo Moench. The Sooty-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus aurigaster was seen nesting at Lorong Halus on 9 Apr 2021 by Senthil Kumar Damodaran. A number of Golden-backed Weavers Ploceus jacksoni were building nests at Lorong Halus on 10 Apr 2021, noted Peter Wong. At the Botanic Gardens on 12 Apr 2021, an Oriental Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis nest containing eggs was raided by Oriental Pied Hornbills Anthracoceros albirostris (Cheng Li Ai).

TGC_4784,-Collared-KF, 1280x960, 130421, PRP

Collared Kingfisher feeding a gecko to its chick, 13 Apr 2021, Pasir Ris Park, by Tan Gim Cheong

At Hampstead Wetlands, a pair of Coppersmith Barbet Psilopogon haemacephalus was feeding their chicks on 2 Apr 2021 (Derrick Wong) and through many days thereafter. At Pasir Ris Park, a pair of Collared Kingfishers Todiramphus chloris wre also feeding their chicks on 10 Apr 2021 (Julian Wong), and Samantha Wong reported that all three chicks fledged on 14 Apr 2021. At Petir Road on 30 Apr 2021, an adult Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker Yungipicus moluccensis was seen feeding a big chick in its nest hole (Cheong Khan Hoong).

At Jurong Lake Gardens on 29 Apr 2021, Neo Jinju saw a Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus goiavier feeding a fledgling, while Benny Ng reported that chicks of the Striated Herons Butorides striata at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve had fledged on 21 Apr 2021. At Rifle Range Link on 4 Apr 2021, Lam SG photographed a recently fledged Barred Eagle Owl Bubo sumatranus covered mainly in white feathers, and the fledgling was recorded on subsequent days, including on 25 Apr 2021 by Christian H.

BEO chick, early April 21, RRL, Norhafiani A Majid

Barred Eagle Owl, Rifle Range Link, early April 2021, by Norhafiani A. Majid

This report is compiled by Tan Gim Cheong, assisted by Geoff Lim & Alan OwYong. 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 Kelvin Ng Cheng Kwan, Peh Chee Ee, Art Toh, Ho Siew Mun and Norhafiani A. Majid for allowing us to use their photographs.

 

Singapore Bird Report – March 2021

Emerald Cuckoo, 050321, May Swales

Asian Emerald Cuckoo, Living Lab, Pulau Ubin, 5 Mar 2021, by May Swales

A number of rarities showed up in March 2021. An Asian Emerald Cuckoo Chrysococcyx maculatus, for which there are less than five records, was photographed by May Swales at Living Lab, Pulau Ubin on 5 Mar 2021. The female was present till 8 March (Wong Wai Loon).

At Lim Chu Kang Lane 3, Lau Jia Sheng photographed the elusive Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus on 6 Mar 2021. And at Marina East, Linda Teh photographed a Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus that made a brief visit on 19 Mar 2021. On 19 Mar 2021, another 1-day bird, a female Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius visited Catalina Tong’s high rise balcony along Thomson Road opposite Singapore Polo Club.

The Cotton Pygmy Goose Nettapus coromandelianus that showed up at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park last month was joined by a second bird on 2 Mar 2021 (Yk Goh) but both birds promptly disappeared the next day. The Sakhalin Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus borealoides noted at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR) in February continued to be present from 1 Mar 2021 (Wilson Chua) till 13 Mar 2021 (Leslie Loh).

Green Sandpiper, 060321, 0925h, LCK3, Lau Jia Sheng, crop

Green Sandpiper (left) with a Wood Sandpiper (right), Lim Chu Kang Lane 3, 6 Mar 2021, by Lau Jia Sheng

A rare Black-naped Monarch Hypothymis azurea put up a brief appearance at Jurong Lake Gardens on 15 Mar 2021, photographed by Vincent Chin and Joseph Pher. Five days later, on 20 Mar 2021, one monarch, probably the same individual, showed up at Clementi Woods Park (Frank Rheindt) and remained for most of the day but disappeared thereafter.

At Dover Road on 8 Mar 2021, a pond heron that started to moult into breeding plumage showed signs of it being an Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii (Art Toh), and it would develop into full breeding plumage over the course of the month. A male Japanese Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone atrocaudata with long tail showed up at Coney Island on 18 Mar 2021 (Richard Wee) and those who braved the rain in the afternoon were rewarded with views of its exquisite beauty.

At Kent Ridge Park, a Lanceolated Warbler Locustella lanceolata skulked in the bushes on 23 Mar 2021 (Norman Wu), and was present till 26 Mar 2021 (Lee Chin Pong). On a northeastern island, a Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes showed up on 20 Mar 2021 (Frankie Cheong). Two Oriental Pratincoles Glareola maldivarum gave close views at the Marina East field on 2 Mar 2021 (Vincent Yip).

BNM, 200321, Clementi Woods, Art Toh, crop

Black-naped Monarch, Clementi Woods Park, 20 Mar 2021, by Art Toh

The skittish Black-capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata was recorded at Upper Peirce Reservoir Park on 6 Mar 2021 by Teo Soon Haur, and at Turut Track on 14 Mar 2021 by Fitri Titi. The Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus was first noted near 1036 Sembawang Road on 15 Mar 2021 by Desmond Yap, with up to 17 birds showing on 19 Mar (Fadzrun A.); the species was also recorded at Lorong Halus on 21 Mar 2021 and up to 12 birds were observed (Russel Boyman).

Two smart-looking male Yellow-rumped Flycatchers Ficedula zanthopygia were recorded at Upper Peirce Reservoir Park on 14 Mar 2021 by Lam SG, and another two males at Jurong Lake Gardens on 20 Mar 2021 by Yang Chee Meng. A shy Large Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx sparverioides was noted at Changi Business Park on 3 Mar 2021 (Ash Foo), and an injured individual, probably from flying into a window, was resting on a tree along Jalan Pemimpin on 15 Mar 2021, noted by Lian Yee Ming.

The next three species were recorded at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio (BAMK) Park and another location. A Javan Pond Heron Ardeola speciosa at BAMK on 11 Mar 2021 was coming into breeding plumage (Pher Joseph) while the one at Marina East at 29 Mar 2021 had attained breeding colours (Herman Phua). A Chinese Pond Heron Ardeola bacchus at BAMK on 15 Mar 2021 (Sneo), and another at Springleaf Nature Park on 20 Mar 2021 (Ho Kinyunn) were in recognizable breeding colours. A female Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus was at BAMK on 12 Mar 2021 (Vincent Yip) and a male at Eco Lake, Botanic Gardens on 18 Mar 2021 (Steve Ang).

JPFC, 180321, Coney, Lum Lai Har

Japanese Paradise Flycatcher, male, Coney Island, 18 Mar 2021, by Lum Lai Har

The juvenile diffusus Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis was still at SBWR on 12 Mar 2021 (Tan Gim Cheong) and the Mangrove Pitta Pitta megarhyncha at Pasir Ris Park was also still around on 20 Mar 2021 (Keith Loh). A Black-headed Bulbul Brachypodius atriceps was recorded at Jelutong Tower on 5 Mar 2021 by Emily Wong; a female Greater Painted Snipe Rostratula benghalensis was at Turut Track on 14 Mar 2021 (Fitri Titi); two Chestnut-winged Cuckoos Clamator coromandus were recorded at Coney Island on 15 Mar 2021 by Sze Kai; and a Ferruginous Flycatcher Muscicapa ferruginea was at Windsor Nature Park on 31 Mar 2021 (Yip Jen Wei).

Steven Struyck photographed a White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis holding a mouse it its beak on 8 Mar 2020, and Joseph Lim photographed a Collared Kingfisher Todiramphus chloris holding a baby squirrel in its beak.

As for species which are more clearly escapees, there was an Asian Pied Starling Gracupica contra at Jurong Lake Gardens on 18 Mar 2021, photographed by Gan Lee Hsia; a Crested Myna Acridotheres cristatellus at Changi Business Park on 22 Mar 2021 photographed by Nomis Gnat; and a small flock of Zebra Finches Taeniopygia guttata at Upper Peirce Reservoir Park, one of which was caught by an adult Brahminy Kite Haliastur Indus on 3 Mar 2021, photographed by Liu Xiao Dong.

Breeding records

Mating was observed for these two species: Pied Trillers Lalage nigra on 5 Mar 2021 by Sim Chip Chye, and Red-crowned Barbets Psilopogon rafflesii on 14 Mar 2021 by Ivan Khor. Copper-throated Sunbirds Leptocoma calcostethawerenestbuilding at SBWR on 4 Mar 2021, observed by Koh Wen Min, who saw 6 birds.

TGC_8924,-CTSB,-male, 960v, 080321, SBWR

Copper-throated Sunbird, male, displaying its yellow pectoral tufts, SBWR, 8 Mar 2021, by Tan Gim Cheong

On 14 Mar 2021, Tabiyeo photographed two Grey Herons Ardea cinerea at their nest at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park. On 18 Mar 2021 Alyssa Sng photographed a Pied Imperial Pigeon Ducula bicolor sitting on its nest. An active Coppersmith Barbet Psilopogon haemacephalusnest was observed Jurong Lake Gardens on 16 Mar 2021 by Tan Gim Cheong, and another at Hampstead Wetlands by William Chua on 19 Mar 2021. On 23 Mar 2021, Philip Ng photographed a male Common Iora Aegithina tiphiasitting on its nest at Lorong Halus. And on 24 Mar 2021, Helen Tee recorded a pair of Collared Kingfishers nesting at Pasir Ris Park.

A Barred Buttonquail Turnix suscitator chick was accompanied by its parent at Jurong Lake Gardens on 24 Mar 2021, observed by Dennis Lim, while Tracy Doan saw a Golden-bellied Gerygone Gerygone sulphurea feeding a Little Bronze Cuckoo Chrysococcyx minutillus, its brood parasite.

There were four reported nestings for the Black-naped Oriole. One nest was observed outside Sophia Residences on 18 Mar 2021 by Eric Tan. On 20 Mar 2021 Khoo MeiLin reported a nest at West Coast Park being raided by a pair of Oriental Pied Hornbills which were undeterred by the mobbing by the adult orioles. Tan Tze Siong reported a successful nesting at Bukit Timah with two chicks fledging, he also noted that the parents fed the chicks with a baby bird. At Satay by the Bay, a nest with two chicks was observed on 15 Mar 2021 (Steve Ang), it was unusually open, perhaps as a result of the nest tree shedding leaves. On 17 Mar 2021 Andy Chew saw a House Crow Corvus splendens taking one chick from the nest, and killing it. On 19 Mar 2021, another Black-naped Oriole tried to raid the nest but was driven away, and on 22 Mar 2021, the remaining chick fledged (David Kow). This last pair fed their chicks with small geckos, grasshoppers and small round fruits (16 Mar 2021, Tan Gim Cheong).

BNO nest, 160321, SBTB, TGC

Black-naped Oriole nest with 2 chicks, the nest was unusually open, perhaps as a result of the nest tree shedding leaves, Satay by the Bay, 16 Mar 2021, by Tan Gim Cheong

At Pulau Ubin on 8 Mar 2021, a male Oriental Pied Hornbill Anthracoceros albirostris was feeding its family through the slit in a man-made nestbox, observed by Lee Chin Pong. Unfortunately for theOriental Pied Hornbill nest in the vicinity of Hampstead Wetlands, one chick was found dead on 14 Mar 2021 by Justin Jing Liang, and another chick dead on 19 Mar 2021, observed by Valli Nalla. On 21 Mar 2021 the male was still seen feeding the female through the slit (Tuck Loong), but the hole was reported as having been unsealed on 22 Mar 2021 by a birder who goes by the initials “R L”.

Three nestings were also reported for the House Crow, all of which were parasitized by the Asian Koel Eudynamys scolopaceus. At Marina East on 9 Mar 2021, Neo Jinju observed a koel chick being hosted by the crows. At Fort Road car park on 25 Mar 2021, a nest with three crow chicks and one koel chick was observed by Sylvester Goh. And at Yishun Street 22 on 18 Mar 2021, Keith Hutton found three koel fledglings out of the nest being fed by the crows.

This report is compiled by Tan Gim Cheong, assisted by Geoff Lim & Alan OwYong. 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 May Swales, Lau Jia Sheng, Art Toh, and Lum Lai Har, for allowing us to use their photographs.