February 2021 was marked by a number of interesting records. A Brown Fish Owl Ketupa zeylonensis, the first for Singapore, was photographed at Hindhede Quarry on 17 Feb 2021 by Jackie Yeo and Yeak Hwee Lee. The Brown Fish Owl even sired an owlet with a Buffy Fish OwlKetupa ketupu. At Yishun, a juvenile Black-thighed Falconet Microhierax fringillarius showed up at an apartment block on 12 Feb 2021 to the delight of Lee Lay Na (refer to the Feb 2021 raptor report for more details for both of these).
A rare Cotton Pygmy Goose Nettapus coromandelianus showed up at a pond at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park on 8 Feb 2021, recorded by Teo Ang Guan, and was present through the month. At Goldhill Avenue/Malcolm Road patch of woods, a male Scarlet Minivet Pericrocotus speciosus with a portion of its tail missing/broken, was photographed on 25 Feb 2021 by Thomas Soo. A Sakhalin Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus borealoides was seen and sound-recorded at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR) on 9 Feb 2021 by Yong Ding Li, and also recorded by others through the rest of the month, with Norhafiani A. Majid snagging a photo on 28 Feb 2021.
A juvenile diffusus Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis was photographed at Hampstead Wetlands on 21 Feb 2021 by Ash Foo, and also at SBWR on the same day by Ang Hou Boon. At SBWR, 14 Lesser Adjutants Leptoptilos javanicus were recorded on 7 Feb 2021 by Rene Sun, and on 27 Feb 2021 by Spencer Yau. About 100 Asian Openbills Anastomus oscitans at SBWR on 27 Feb 2021 early morning recorded by Bernard Seah flying southwest was the biggest flock for this season; there were 74 at Tuas South on the same day mid-morning, possibly the same flock, heading west, recorded by Martti Siponen. At nearby Lim Chu Kang Lane 3, a Baillon’s Crake Zapornia pusilla was photographed on 27 Feb 2021 by Keith Hutton.
Towards the south, a Black Bittern Ixobrychus flavicollis was recorded at Satay by the Bay on 7 Feb 2021 by Saravanan K., and an Oriental Pratincole Glareola maldivarum at Marina East on 27 Feb 2021 by Lam SG. The wintering Grey-headed Lapwing Vanellus cinereus was at Central Boulevard on 6 Feb 2021 (Khoo MeiLin), and at Marina East on 18 Feb 2021 (Marcel Finlay). Interestingly, Adrian Silas Tay found a Pied Bushchat Saxicola caprata at Central Boulevard on 21 Feb 2021, and the bird was on site for the next four days. The Pied Bushchat at Holland Plain was still there on 11 Feb 2021 (Yip Jen Wei).
Elsewhere, a Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx nisicolor was recorded at Dairy Farm Nature Park on 5 Feb 2021 by Tan Gim Cheong; an Orange-headed Thrush Geokichla citrina at Ubin on 5 Feb 2021 by Mike Hooper; the Grey Nighjar Caprimulgus jotaka was still wintering at Hampstead Wetlands on 22 Feb 2021 (Johnny Wee); a Hooded Pitta Pitta sordida at Venus Drive on 25 Feb 2021 by Adeline Goh; an Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher (Black-backed) Ceyx erithaca at the rail corridor south of King Albert Park on 27 Feb 2021 by Gideon; and a Javan Pond Heron Ardeola speciosa had started to moult into breeding plumage at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park on 28 Feb 2021 (Khoo MeiLin).
A male Green-backed Flycatcher Ficedula elisae was recorded at Rifle Range Link on 7 Feb 2021 by Ramesh T., while individual females were recorded at Dairy Farm Nature Park (1 Feb 2021, Steven Cheong), Central Catchment (6 Feb 2021, Raghav N.), and Hindhede Nature Park (18 Feb 2021, Choong YT), quite a month for the Green-backed Flycatchers.
Mating was observed for the following birds: Asian Koel Eudynamys scolopaceus at Windsor Nature Park on 16 Feb 2021 by Ong Peline; White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis on 19 Feb 2021 by Lai Yeu Huan; Zebra Dove Geopelia striata at Hampstead Wetlands on 20 Feb 2021 by Meena Vathyam; Coppersmith Barbet Psilopogon haemacephalus at Hampstead Wetlands on 21 Feb 2021 by Ash Foo; and Blue-throated Bee-eater Merops viridis at Neo Tiew Harvest Lane on 21 Feb 2021 by Wang Jun Loong.
A Red-legged Crake Rallina fasciata chick was moving about with its parents at Hindhede Nature Park on 5 Feb 2021, by Tan Gim Cheong. At Whampoa, the Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot Loriculus galgulus was visiting a treehole on 9 Feb 2021 (Eric Yeo), and was photographed bringing leaves, tucked into its rump feathers, back to the treehole on 25 Feb 2021, by Tan Gim Cheong.
At Hampstead Wetlands, a pair of Banded Woodpeckers Chrysophlegma miniaceum was observed feeding their chicks in a treehole on 11 Feb 2021, by Kwok Tuck Loong. On 15 Feb 2021, Javan Mynas Acridotheres javanicus entered the nest hole and attacked the chicks, causing one chick to fall into the pond below. Unfortunately, as the chick struggled on the water, a monitor lizard closed in swiftly and caught it, observed by Jess Leo, Serene Ong and Tan Heng Liang. This is an example of how an invasive species (Javan Myna) can negatively affect native species (Banded Woodpecker). The parent woodpeckers fought with the mynas and one chick was strong enough to fly to safety (Yeak Hwee Lee). In the aftermath, the Javan Mynas occupied the nest hole. Note: in mid-November 2020, Wong Keng photographed the Banded Woodpecker and Javan Mynas fighting over the tree hole, and the Banded Woodpeckers proceeded to use the hole for nesting.
In the vicinity of Hampstead Wetlands, a male Oriental Pied Hornbill Anthracoceros albirostris was seen bringing food to its mate sealed in a treehole on 3 Feb 2021, by Wong Chung Cheong. Unfortunately, this nesting failed eventually. At SBWR, a Crimson Sunbird Aethopyga siparaja nest with two chicks was observed on 21 Feb 2021 by Andy Chew, but on 25 Feb 2021 only one chick remained and a pair of Copper-throated Sunbirds Leptocoma calcostethaattacked the nest and were chased away by the nesting sunbird. On 28 Feb 2021, the remaining chick was found dead, noted by Khoo MeiLin.
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 Sim Chip Chye, Norhafiani A. Majid, Lee Chin Pong, Ramesh T., and Lai Yeu Huan for allowing us to use their photographs.