Category Archives: Singapore Raptor Report

Singapore Raptor Report – March 2022

N-Boobook,-270322,-SBTB,-Lam-SG,-same,-brighten

Northern Boobook, at Gardens by the Bay, 27 Mar 2022, by Lam SG

Summary for migrant species:

In March 2022, 146 raptors of eleven migrant species were recorded. A shy Northern Boobook Ninox japonica was photographed at Gardens by the Bay on the 27th, while an Oriental Scops Owl Otus sunia was photographed at Thomson Nature Park on the 4th and 5th.

Wintering migrant raptors that were still around included the juvenile Grey-faced Buzzard Butastur indicus at Telok Blangah Hill Park on the 11th; two Rufous-bellied Eagles Lophotriorchis kienerii – a sub-adult and a juvenile at the Dairy Farm Nature Park / Singapore Quarry area; the female Chinese Sparrowhawk Accipiter soloensis at Ang Mo Kio on the 5th (another four Chinese Sparrowhawks were recorded, probably passing through); three Jerdon’s Bazas Aviceda jerdoni were still at Coney Island on the 12th (while another four – two at Sentosa on the 9th, and 2 at Ubin on the 30th were recorded).

There were also four Western Ospreys Pandion haliaetus, seven Peregrine Falcons Falco peregrinus, 17 Japanese Sparrowhawks Accipiter gularis, 33 Black Bazas Aviceda leuphotes,and68 Oriental Honey Buzzards Pernis ptilorhynchus.

GHFE, 060322, Ulu Pandan, Julian Wong

Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Ulu Pandan, 2 Mar 2022, by Julian Wong.

Highlights for sedentary species:

Breeding-related activities were observed for four resident raptor species. The two chicks of the Black-winged Kite Elanus caeruleus nest at Turut Track had fledged and were seen grabbing prey from their parent’s talons in mid-air on the 26th. The chick of the Brahminy Kite Haliastur Indus nest at East Coast Park had also fledged by the 11th. A chick of the Changeable Hawk-Eagle Nisaetus cirrhatus fledged at the Dairy Farm area on the 9th. And there were two nests of the White-bellied Sea Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster – one at Lorong Halus had 1 chick, while the one at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve had 2 chicks.

March was a good month for the Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela, with records from Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve on the 5th (adult), Kent Ridge Park on the 15th (adult), Pasir Ris Park on the 16th, Telok Blangah on the 17th, Goldhill Avenue on the 20th, Changi Business Park on the 24th (immature), Botanic Gardens on the 25th (adult), and Choa Chu Kang park on the 28th. The other diurnal resident raptors recorded were the Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus, and Grey-headed Fish Eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus, both reported from various localities.

At Hampstead Wetlands on the 12th, an adult Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupu was on the ground ‘sunning’ its feathers, and it was apparently a daily routine. In the leafy compounds at the zoo, two Spotted Wood Owl Strix seloputo were spotted in late March.

BFO, posted 310322, sunning, Wong Sangmen

Buffy Fish Owl ‘sunning’ its feathers on the ground, Hampstead Wetlands, 31 Mar 2022, by Wong Sangmen.

Table 1

For a pdf version with more details, please click Singapore Raptor Report – March 2022

Many thanks to everyone who had reported their sightings in one way or another, and especially to Lam SG, Julian Wong, and Wong Sangmen for the use of their photos.

Singapore Raptor Report – February 2022

BB, 060222, Nanyang Crescent, Chen Boon Chong

Black Baza, at Nanyang Crescent, 6 Feb 2022, by Chen Boon Chong

Summary for migrant species:

In February 2022, 156 raptors of eleven migrant species were recorded. The highlight is the report of a Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus at Yishun Dam on the first weekend of the month. The juvenile Black Kite Milvus migrans at Neo Tiew area was still around until the 20th, and the juvenile Grey-faced Buzzard Butastur indicus wintering at Telok Blangah Hill Park was still around on the 25th.

Two Rufous-bellied Eagles Lophotriorchis kienerii were recorded – the sub-adult from last month was recorded on the 2nd & 3rd at the Jalan Asas area, while a newly arrived juvenile was recorded at the same area throughout the month. Only three Chinese Sparrowhawks Accipiter soloensis were recorded – the wintering female at Ang Mo Kio, one at Lower Peirce on the 2nd, and another at Sentosa on the 21st. Of the four Jerdon’s Bazas Aviceda jerdoni, two were at Pulau Ubin on the 2nd, and another two at Coney Island on the 3rd.

There were also six Western Ospreys Pandion haliaetus, mostly along the northern coast, and ten Japanese Sparrowhawks Accipiter gularis. Rounding up the migrant raptors were 12 Peregrine Falcons Falco peregrinus. 20 Black Bazas Aviceda leuphotes, and 94 Oriental Honey Buzzards Pernis ptilorhynchus.

Osprey, 020222, Kranji Rd, Angie Cheong

Western Osprey, Kranji Road, 2 Feb 2022, by Angie Cheong.

Highlights for sedentary species:

Breeding-related activities were observed for five resident raptor species. At West Coast Park on the 4th, a pair of White-bellied Sea Eagles Haliaeetus leucogaster were nest-building. At NTU on the 6th, the Changeable Hawk-Eagle Nisaetus cirrhatus was carrying nesting material. At Turut Track on the 18th, a nest of the Black-winged Kite Elanus caeruleus contained two chicks. At East Coast Park, a nest of the Brahminy Kite Haliastur Indus held one chick in white down on the 17th, and the chick appeared juvenile-like on the 28th.

For the Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus, there were three separate breeding-related activities. At West Coast Park on the 7th, an adult was tearing up prey to feed its chick on a nest, and on the next day, the chick was perched outside the nest; at Pasir Ris Park, the pair whose two chicks fledged in January, mated again on the 11th (after the male offered the female a junglefowl chick) and 21st; while at Bukit Panjang Park on the 23rd, an adult brought prey to a fledgling, with another fledgling perched at the nest.

RBE, 050222, Jln Asas, Chen Boon Chong

Rufous-bellied Eagle juvenile, Jalan Asas, 5 Feb 2022, by Chen Boon Chong

Six Crested Serpent Eagles Spilornis cheela were recorded, two at Pulau Ubin on the 3rd, including an immature that had moulted a few primaries into adult type feathers; two adults at Holland Plains on the 9th; one at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve on the 11th; and one at Goldhill Avenue on the 20th.

An adult ernesti Peregrine Falcon was photographed at Shenton Way on the 22nd, and there were several records of the Grey-headed Fish Eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus, including a juvenile at Potong Pasir. Additionally, a Brahminy Kite was photographed hunting a bat successfully at Rower’s Bay in daylight hours.

For the nocturnal raptors, two Sunda Scops Owl Otus lempiji fledglings were seen with one parent owl at Bukit Batok Nature Park on the 15th; another year and another chick of the Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupu fledged from their nest at Hampstead Wetlands on the 26th; the same goes for the Spotted Wood Owl Strix seloputo pair at Pasir Ris Park with two chicks fledging on the 17th. In addition, the Spotted Wood Owl was recorded at a few places where records are scarce – Bukit Batok Nature Park on the 15th, Berlayer Creek on the 19th, and St John’s Island on the 27th.

Table 1

For a pdf version with more details, please click Singapore Raptor Report – February 2022

Many thanks to everyone who had reported their sightings in one way or another, and especially to Chen Boon Chong and Angie Cheong for the use of their photos.

Singapore Raptor Report – January 2022

Kestrel, 120122, MED, Trevor Teo 1

Common Kestrel, Marina East Drive, 12 Jan 2022, by Trevor Teo

Summary for migrant species:

A number of rare raptors were recorded in January 2022. A Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus showed up at Marina East on 11 Jan 2022 and was present on-and-off through the rest of the month. Another two were detected at Seletar Aerospace Crescent on 15 Jan 2022. The lone Black Kite Milvus migrans at Neo Tiew area was observed between 22 to 30 Jan 2022 (having been there since 12 Dec 2021). On 28 Jan 2022, a Rufous-bellied Eagle Lophotriorchis kienerii was photographed at Dairy Farm Nature Park.

On 12 Jan 2022, two Himalayan Vultures Gyps himalayensis were found heading towards Pasir Ris from Punggol, and one was detected on 13 Dec 2022 at Pasir Ris Park. Five days later, on 18 Jan 2022, a flock of 7-8 were seen near Bayshore Park Condo, and two were recorded at Satay by the Bay. On the morning of 19 Jan 2022, seven of these huge vultures were found roosting on tall trees at Lorong Sesuai. They flew off towards noon time and were not recorded on subsequent days. (there were five of these in December 2021). The lone, weak Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus taken in for veterinary care in December 2021 was released successfully on 10 Jan 2022.

GFB, 310122, TBHP, Julie Edgley, crop

Grey-faced Buzzard, Telok Blangah Hill Park, 31 Jan 2022, by Julie Edgley

Three uncommon species of raptors were recorded in January 2022. These included the juvenile Grey-faced Buzzard Butastur indicus wintering at Telok Blangah Hill Park; four Jerdon’s Baza Aviceda jerdoni at Coney Island (15 Jan 2022) and one at Tampines Eco Green (3 – 27 Jan 2022); single Chinese Sparrowhawks Accipiter soloensis at Skyville at Dawson on 9 Jan 2022, NTU on 10 Jan 2022, the site faithful adult female at Ang Mo Kio Town Garden West on 15 Jan 2022, and another at Lorong Halus Wetlands on 15 and 30 Jan 2022.

Black Kite, 300122, Bollywood veggies, Chen Boon Chong

Black Kite, Neo Tiew Road, 30 Jan 2022, by Chen Boon Chong

Seventeen Japanese Sparrowhawks Accipiter gularis, 45 Black Bazas Aviceda leuphotes and 67 migrant Oriental Honey Buzzards Pernis ptilorhyncus were recorded at various locations. Three Western Ospreys Pandion haliaetus, and nine migrant Peregrine Falcons Falco peregrinus were also recorded.

Highlights for sedentary species:

Breeding-related activities were noted for four resident species. A pair of Black-winged Kites Elanus caeruleus, was nesting at Turut Track. For the White-bellied Sea Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster, the pair comprising an adult female and an immature male was in a mating position at Pasir Ris Park on 3 Jan 2022 (they were in a similar position on 25 Dec 2021). At Pasir Ris Park, the two chicks of the  Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus fledged on 4 Jan 2022, and the pair at Pepys Road nested again. One juvenile Grey-headed Fish Eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus fledged from its nest at Little Guilin in mid January and the nesting started in October 2021, with the chick first seen in early December 2021.

The rare Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela was recorded at Kranji Marsh only, on 23 and 30 Jan 2022. An adult ernesti Peregrine Falcon was photographed at the ‘supertrees’ at Gardens by the Bay on 9 Jan 2022. A male torquatus Oriental Honey Buzzard was recorded at Sentosa on 30 Jan 2022. The other diurnal resident raptors recorded included the Brahminy Kite Haliastur Indus, and Changeable Hawk-Eagle Nisaetus cirrhatus.

Barn Owl, 180122, Blk 833, Tampines St 83, Angie Cheong

Eastern Barn Owl, Tampines Street 83, 18 Jan 2022, by Angie Cheong

For the nocturnal raptors, an Eastern Barn Owl Tyto javanica was recorded at Tampines Street 83 on 18 Jan 2022; the Spotted Wood Owl Strix seloputo pair at Pasir Ris were nesting again and two chicks were noted on 29 Jan 2022; and for the Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupu a family with one recently fledged juvenile was observed at Jurong Lake Gardens south promenade on 5 Jan 2022, while another juvenile was recorded at NTU on 25 Jan 2022.

Table 1

Many thanks to everyone who had reported their sightings in one way or another, and especially to Trevor Teo, Chen Boon Chong, and Angie Cheong for the use of their photos.

For a pdf version with more details, please click Singapore Raptor Report – January 2022 v2

Singapore Raptor Report – December 2021

Cinereous Vulture, 291221, SBG, Vincent Yip

Cinereous Vulture, SBG Learning Forest, 29 Dec 2021, by Vincent Yip

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!

HV, 301221, SBG, Wong Sangmen

Himalayan Vulture, SBG Learning Forest, 30 Dec 2021, by Wong Sangmen

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.

Amur Falcon, posted 041221, Lai Yeu Huan

Amur Falcon, about to catch a katydid as the digger wasp releases its prey, 4 Dec 2021, by Lai Yeu Huan.

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.

WBSE mating, 251221, PRP, Wong Sangmen 2

White-bellied Sea Eagles in mating position, immature male on top, Pasir Ris Park, 25 Dec 2021, by Wong Sangmen

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.

Table 1

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

Singapore Raptor Report – November 2021

Long-eared Owl, 201121, MED, Shiu Ling FBBS, crop

Long-eared Owl, a first for Singapore, harassed by crows, at Marina East, 20 Nov 2021, by Choo Shiu Ling

Summary for migrant species:

It’s another amazing November, with 20 migrant raptor species recorded (compared with 18 last year). Most astonishing was Singapore’s first record of the Long-eared Owl Asio Otus, an individual harassed by crows at Marina East on the 20th, well captured on camera by Choo Shiu Ling. The only Northern Boobook Ninox japonica was unfortunately found dead at Ghim Moh on the 1st. An Oriental Scops Owl Otus sunia appeared on the kitchen floor of a resident on the 15th; and on the 17th, a rufous morph was found concussed on the ground, in front of some shops at Jurong Street 52 where it was placed on a tree as it recovered and subsequently flew into the dense foliage higher up a tree.

The rarity for diurnal raptors is no doubt the Amur Falcon Falco amurensis that showed well at Lorong Halus Wetlands on the 26th, found by Lim Yu Jun and Tan Kian Hoe, hunting and feeding on the wing for prolonged periods over the wetlands. It continued to frequent the same area everyday for the rest of the month, resting on an apartment block undergoing construction, in between its feeding flights (it is still around as of this report).

Amur Falcon, 271121, Halus, Chen Boon Chong

Amur Falcon, at Lorong Halus Wetlands, 27 Nov 2021, by Chen Boon Chong

The one and only Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus, a pale morph, was photographed by Zacc HD and others at Mount Faber on the 6th (Zacc also photographed the only Booted Eagle, a dark morph, last November). Only one Common Buzzard Buteo buteo so far this season, a juvenile pale morph, was recorded on the 6th at Henderson Waves. One Rufous-bellied Eagle Lophotriorchis kienerii was recorded at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and its vicinity on the 5th, 17th and 20th.

Only two Pied Harriers Circus melanoleucos were recorded, a juvenile at Nanyang Crescent on the 5th, and a female at Henderson Waves on the 17th.

Three Common Kestrels Falco tinnunculus were recorded, one on the 1st, perched on a low branch at Canterbury Road, another on the 6th at Henderson Waves / Mount Faber, and the last on the 14th at Mount Faber. Also three in number were the Black Kites Milvus migrans, one on the 11th at Telok Blangah Hill Park (TBHP) / Mount Faber, one on the 19th at Bukit Timah hill, and the third at TBHP on the 22nd.

All four Greater Spotted Eagles Clanga clanga recorded were juveniles. One was photographed from Skyville@Dawson on the 2nd; another at Mount Faber on the 9th, gliding straight through the site without flapping nor turning; one at Tuas on the 13th, harassed by a juvenile White-bellied Sea Eagle, and another at Henderson Waves on the 21st.

JB, 221121, DFNP, Dave Koh

Jerdon’s Baza, at Dairy Farm Nature Park, 22 Nov 2021, by Dave Koh

Juveniles made up the majority of the seven Eastern Marsh Harriers Circus spilonotus recorded. One was at Mount Faber on the 5th; another at Lorong Halus Wetlands on the 6th; the only male at Henderson Waves on the 6th; singles at Mount Faber on the 16th, Bukit Timah hill top on the 19th, Jurong Lake Gardens on the 20th, and East Coast Park on the 25th.

The first Jerdon’s Baza Aviceda jerdoni was recorded at the southern ridges from TBHP to Henderson Waves to Mount Faber, with a max of five at Mount Faber. Subsequently, they were recorded at Dairy Farm Nature Park, Bukit Timah hill top, Lorong Halus Wetlands, and Coney Island where three birds seem to be wintering. Altogether, 16 of these charismatic raptors were recorded.

Eighteen Grey-faced Buzzards Butastur indicus were recorded, spanning from the 1st to the 28th, mostly along the southern ridges to Marina Bay belt, with one outlier at Lorong Halus Wetlands on the 27th. All of them appear to be on passage migration. Four Western Ospreys Pandion haliaetus were recorded along the northern coast, and sixteen Peregrine Falcons Falco peregrinus throughout, including site faithfuls at Bedok South, Sembawang and Jurong West.

TGC_7535,-GFB,-261121,-TBHP

Grey-faced Buzzard, juvenile, at Telok Blangah Hill Park, 26 Nov 2021, by Tan Gim Cheong

Of the thirty four Chinese Sparrowhawks Accipiter soloensis recorded, the site faithful adult female at Ang Mo Kio which arrived last month continued to be present. Most of the 175 Japanese Sparrowhawks Accipiter gularis were recorded migrating over the southern ridges, with 15 birds being the highest in a day, on the 4th.

We had 236 Black Bazas Aviceda leuphotes this month, with 40 birds over Mount Faber on the 11th, and 30 birds on the 16th. For the 819 Oriental Honey Buzzards Pernis ptilorhyncus, a day high of 71 birds was recorded at Tuas on the 4th, with another 56 birds on the 10th, and 57 birds on the 16th at Mount Faber.

GHFE, posted 301121, Wong Sangmen

Grey-headed Fish Eagle, juvenile, at Potong Pasir, 30 Nov 2021, by Wong Sangmen

Highlights for sedentary species:

There were five Crested Serpent Eagles Spilornis cheela, three on Pulau Ubin on the 5th, one at Kranji Marshes on the 21st and another at the southern ridges on various dates. Only one torquatus Oriental Honey Buzzard was recorded, at Lock Road on the 28th.

The other diurnal resident raptors recorded included the Black-winged Kite, Changeable Hawk-Eagle, Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Crested Goshawk and the common Brahminy Kite and White-bellied Sea Eagle. An adult Brahminy Kite attacked a Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo at Pebble bay on the 15th, and the pair of Grey-headed Fish Eagles at Little Guilin may be starting to use their nest again.

For the nocturnal residents, the Eastern Barn Owl Tyto javanica was recorded at Hotel G near Bugis on the 6th, and at Bishan Street 12 on the 13th mobbed by crows. The pair of Buffy Fish Owls Ketupa ketupu at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is raising a chick and there were three Spotted Wood Owls Strix seloputo at the Botanic Gardens on the 8th and at Mandai on the 17th, both suggestive of adults with a young owl.

Table 1

Many thanks to everyone who had reported their sightings in one way or another, and especially to Choo Shiu Ling, Chen Boon Chong, Dave Koh, and Wong Sangmen for the use of their photos.

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

Singapore Raptor Report – October 2021

Jap,-231021,-TBHP,-Chen-Boon-Chong,-crop

Japanese Sparrowhawk, a rather lightly marked and pale-looking juvenile, at Telok Blangah Hill Park, 23 Oct 2021, by Chen Boon Chong

Summary for migrant species:

Raptor migration got off to a gradual start in October 2021, with 753 migrant raptors of 7 species recorded (in contrast, more than 15 migrant raptors species recorded in October last year, but that was exceptional). There were another 18 unidentified raptors and 112 unidentified accipiters, many of which were probably migrants.

Only one Eastern Marsh Harrier Circus spilonotus was recorded, a juvenile at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR). Eight Grey-faced Buzzards Butastur indicus were recorded, the first was at Henderson Waves on the 23rd, followed by singles at Bukit Timah Hill on the 25th and 27th, Henderson Waves again on 27th, SBWR on 31st, and three at Henderson Waves on 31st. 

The most numerous migrant raptor was the Oriental Honey Buzzards Pernis ptilorhyncus, with 426 recorded. They were just about everywhere, and the highest number recorded in a day was 45, at Henderson Waves on the 23rd.

Jap, 191021, Kusu, TGC

Japanese Sparrowhawk, a more heavily marked juvenile, at Kusu Island, 19 Oct 2021, by Tan Gim Cheong

They were followed by the Japanese Sparrowhawks Accipiter gularis, for which 171 were recorded. The highest number in a day was 20, at Henderson Waves on the 30th. 132 Chinese Sparrowhawks Accipiter soloensis were recorded, of these, a flock of 28 was recorded at Mount Faber on the 15th.

Ten migrant Peregrine Falcons Falco peregrinus were reported. Notably, site faithfuls returned to Bedok South and Geylang East. The rest were probably on passage. Lastly, four Western Ospreys Pandion haliatus were recorded.

Highlights for sedentary species:

There were five records for the locally scarce Crested Serpent Eagle, one at Dairy Farm Nature Park on the 8th, one at Goldhill Avenue on the 14th, one at Ubin and one at  Kranji Marsh on the 30th, and another at the southern ridges on the 8th, 21st and 25th.

An adult Peregrine Falcon of the resident ernesti subspecies was recorded in the south – from the southern ridges to Tanjong Pagar, throughout the month.

The other resident raptors recorded included five Black-winged Kites; eight Grey-headed Fish Eagles; 11 Crested Goshawks, 18 Changeable Hawk-Eagles; and the common Brahminy Kite and White-bellied Sea Eagle.

BFO n chick, posted 291021, SBWR, Wong Sangmen

Buffy Fish Owl with its chick, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, 29 Oct 2021, by Wong Sangmen

Breeding-related activities were recorded for three resident species. An adult White-bellied Sea Eagle was seen flying over Dover Forest carrying a large stick, probably for nest-building. At Telok Blangah Hill Park on the 26th, a pair of Crested Goshawks shared a meal before mating; and at Pasir Ris Park, a pair mated on the 28th. At Choa Chu Kang Park on the 27th, a pair of Changeable Hawk-Eagles were nest-building.


A Brahminy Kite caught a swamp eel from a waterlogged field at Seletar Aerospace Park on the 13th, while a Changeable Hawk-Eagle preyed on a junglefowl chick at Pasir Ris Park on the 3rd. For the nocturnal Buffy Fish Owl, three nestings were recorded this month, with a single chick each at Dover Forest, SBWR, and Pasir Ris Park.

table 1

Many thanks to everyone who had reported their sightings in one way or another, and especially to Chen Boon Chong and Wong Sangmen for the use of their photos.

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

14th Singapore Raptor Watch Report (2021)

Autumn 2021 Migration – 6 Nov 2021

OHB -JS

Oriental Honey Buzzard, adult male, at Puaka Hill, Pulau Ubin, 6 Nov 2021, by Jacky Soh

The 14th Singapore raptor watch was held on Saturday, 6 November 2021. The weather held up, mostly. While a few sites experienced some rain, other sites were spared. Apart from the usual six sites, three more were added to make a total of nine sites. The numbers counted at each site varied from a high of 120 to a low of 13 birds. A total of 553 raptors were counted, including 420 raptors representing 9 migrant species and 100 raptors of 7 resident species. A further 33 raptors could not be identified to species level.

1

Our usual sites are Tuas South, Jurong Lake Garden, Kent Ridge Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park, Lorong Halus Wetlands, and Puaka Hill, Pulau Ubin – thanks to all the site leaders for their faithful support! The new sites are Little Guilin, Henderson Waves, and St. John’s Island. Due to the proximity of Henderson Waves to Telok Blangah Hill Park, a fair amount of duplication is expected, but there were some differences in the numbers and species detected.

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Figure 1 : 2021 Raptor Watch Sites. (source of basemap – maps.google.com.sg)

The highest number of raptors recorded was at Henderson Waves (120 birds), followed by Tuas South (111 birds), Telok Blangah Hill Park (98 birds), and St John’s Island (83 birds).

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Figure 2 : Total count by Site

The figure below provides a snapshot of the number of raptors according to the three categories – migrant, un-identified & resident raptors, at the 9 sites. Tuas South Link 3 had the most number of migrant raptors (106), followed by Henderson Waves (101), Telok Blangah Hill Park (75), and St. John’s Island (60).

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Figure 6 : Raptor Sub-totals by Category by Site

The greatest diversity of migrant raptors was at Henderson Waves with seven species, followed by Telok Blangah Hill Park and St. John’s Island with five species, and Puaka Hill, Pulau Ubin with 4 species.

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Figure 3 : Species Richness by Site

Numbers for migrant raptors started to pick up from 10am, and experienced a spike between 12pm to 1pm (200 migrant raptors).

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Figure 3 : Raptor numbers by 1-hour time periods (migrant raptors only)

PF, TGC crop

Peregrine Falcon, juvenile, at Tuas South Link 3, 6 Nov 2021, by Tan Gim Cheong.

The Oriental Honey Buzzard was the only species present at all the sites and was the most numerous with 226 birds counted. The largest number of OHB was at Tuas South (77 birds). There were 106 Japanese Sparrowhawks across seven sites, with 27 birds at Tuas South, 26 at Telok Blangah Hill Park, and 25 at Henderson Waves.

A total of 62 Black Bazas were recorded at three sites, the bulk (35 birds) was at St John’s Island. The 12 Chinese Sparrowhawks were recorded at four sites, and five Peregrine Falcons at four sites. The scarcer Eastern Marsh Harrier was recorded singly at Lorong Halus Wetlands and Henderson Waves. The only Western Osprey was recorded at Ubin.

St. John’s Island was the only site where the Grey-faced Buzzard was recorded (2 birds). The single Common Buzzard was recorded at Henderson Waves.

7b

For the resident species, the total count was 100 raptors of 7 species. The Brahminy Kite and White-bellied Sea Eagle were recorded at all nine sites. The Changeable Hawk-Eagle was recorded at eight sites. At the other end of the spectrum, the Black-winged Kite was only recorded at one site – Tuas South Link 3.

The count for the resident raptors comprised 42 Brahminy Kites, 23 White-bellied Sea Eagles, 21 Changeable Hawk Eagles, 6 Grey-headed Fish Eagles, 4 Crested Serpent Eagles, 3 Crested Goshawks, and 1 Black-winged Kite.

8

Figure 5 : Resident Raptors Counted

A complete breakdown of the species counted at each site is shown in the table below:

9b

Thanks to all the 22 people – site leaders, NParks staff, volunteers, for spending their Saturday out in the open to count raptors:

10

Please click here for the pdf version 14th Singapore Raptor Watch – 2021, v2

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 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 Raptor Report – March 2021

JB,, 190321, Coney, Kelvin Ng Cheng Kwan

Jerdon’s Baza, living up to its alternate name Lizard Hawk, feeding on a Changeable Lizard, Coney Island, 19 Mar 2021, by Kelvin Ng Cheng Kwan

Summary for migrant species:

In March 2021, 210 raptors of eleven migrant species were recorded. A Black Kite fitted with a transmitter was recorded at Dairy Farm Nature Park on the 1st, and Singapore Quarry on the 2nd. The only Eastern Marsh Harrier was recorded on a northeastern island on the 5th, and a Rufous-bellied Eagle at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve on the 6th.

Amazingly, seven Grey-faced Buzzards were reported, one at Kent Ridge Park on the 14th, three on the 15th, two on the 16th, and another at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve on the 16th, all seemingly on passage. Five Jerdon’s Bazas were recorded, one at Changi Business Park on the 8th and up to four at Coney Island from 17th to 19th.

CSH, 170321, Coney, Ash Foo

Chinese Sparrowhawk, immature male, Coney Island, 18 Mar 2021, by Ash Foo

Five Chinese Sparrowhawks were recorded, singles at Ubin on the 6th, Kent Ridge Park on the 17th, Coney Island on the 17th (female) & 18th (male), and Lorong Halus on the 19th. There were also five Western Ospreys at various locations, including Upper Peirce Reservoir Park, and nine Peregrine Falcons. In addition, there were 31 Black Bazas, 43 Japanese Sparrowhawks,and102 Oriental Honey Buzzards.

CSE mating crop, posted 070321, Goldhill, Julian Wong

A pair of Crested Serpent Eagles mating, the 1st mating record for Singapore, Goldhill Avenue, 7 Mar 2021, Julian Wong

Highlights for sedentary species:

At Goldhill Avenue on the 7th, Julian Wong recorded a video of a pair of Crested Serpent Eagles mating – probably the first record of this species mating in Singapore! Breeding-related activities were also noted for four other diurnal resident raptors. At Seletar, where a pair of Black-winged Kites nested, one adult was seen passing a rat to another adult on the 6th, on the 10th two chicks fledged, and on the 25th and 26th, a fledgling was observed taking prey from the adult in mid-air.

BWK, 260321, Seletar, Kelvin Leong, food transfer in flight

A fledgling Black-winged Kite (left) in the process of taking prey from its parent, in mid-air, Seletar, 26 Mar 2021, by Kelvin Leong

At Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve on the 26th, an adult White-bellied Sea Eagle was sitting on its nest together with two chicks. At Turut Track on the 14th, two Brahminy Kite fledglings were observed. For the Crested Goshawk, the pair at West Coast Park was rebuilding their nest on the 1st and 3rd, and mated on the 4th. At Sin Ming, an adult was sitting on its nest on the 15th, and on the 31st, a chick covered in white down was seen, together with the adult female, in the nest.

WBSE, 130321, SBWR, Lawrence Koh, catch monitor lizard

White-bellied Sea Eagle, caught a young water monitor lizard, SBWR Eagle Point, 13 Mar 2021, by Lawrence Koh

For nocturnal raptors, a Brown Fish Owl was seen feeding its hybrid chick at Hindhede Nature Park on the 3rd, and a Buffy Fish Owl chick at Hampstead Wetlands fledged on the 14th. There were also two Barred Eagle Owls at Rifle Range Link.

In terms of prey items, a Crested Serpent Eagle at Goldhill Avenue caught two Paradise Tree Snakes at one go, on the 4th; and a juvenile water monitor lizard on the 17th. A White-bellied Sea Eagle at SBWR caught a juvenile water monitor lizard on the 13th.

CSE, 040321, Goldhill, SB Lim, same 4

A Crested Serpent Eagle, catching 2 Paradise Tree Snakes (which may have been mating) at a go, Goldhill Avenue, 4 Mar 2021, by SB Lim

All in, there were eight records of the Crested Serpent Eagle at Goldhill Avenue, Ubin, Jalan Gemala 2, Kent Ridge Park and Old Holland Road; ten Grey-headed Fish Eagles; 11 Black-winged Kites; 14 Crested Goshawks; ten Changeable Hawk-Eagles; and two torquatus Oriental Honey Buzzards.

GHFE, 070321, Ulu Pandan, Teo Chee Yong

Grey-headed Fish Eagle, swooping down on a fish, Ulu Pandan, 7 Mar 2021, by Teo Chee Yong

Table 1

Many thanks to everyone who had reported their sightings in one way or another, and especially to Kelvin Ng Cheng Kwan, Julian Wong, Ash Foo, Kelvin Leong, Lawrence Koh, Teo Chee Yong and SB Lim for the use of their photos.

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