Tag Archives: Brown Fish OWl

Singapore Bird Report – February 2021

CPG, 090221, BAMK, SCC

Cotton Pygmy Goose, Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, 9 Feb 2021, by Sim Chip Chye

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.

Sakhalin Leaf Warbler, 280221, SBWR entrance boardwalk, Norhafiani A Majid, pic

Sakhalin Leaf Warbler, SBWR, 28 Feb 2021, by Norhafiani A. Majid

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).

PBC, 230221, Lee Chin Pong, crop

Pied Bushchat, Central Boulevard – Marina Gardens Drive junction, 23 Feb 2021, by Lee Chin Pong

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.

GBFC male, 070221, Rifle Range Link, Ramesh T

Green-backed Flycatcher, male, Rifle Range Link, 7 Feb 2021, by Ramesh T.

Breeding records

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.

Banded Woody fight J Myna, 150221, Hampstead, Lai Yeu Huan

Banded Woodpecker defending its nesting hole against a Javan Myna, Hampstead Wetlands, 15 Feb 2021, by Lai Yeu Huan

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.

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

Singapore Raptor Report – February 2021

Brown FO crop, Jackie Yeo

Brown Fish Owl, at Hindhede Nature Park, 17 Feb 2021, by Jackie Yeo

The highlight for February 2021 must have been the incredible sighting of the first Brown Fish Owl in Singapore, and the Black-thighed Falconet which had not been seen for decades, more on these later.

Summary for migrant species:

In February 2021, 139 raptors of eight migrant species were recorded. The only Rufous-bellied Eagle wintering in Singapore was recorded at Dairy Farm Nature Park on the 1st, Woodlands on the 6th, and Hillview MRT vicinity on the 21st. Only two Chinese Sparrowhawks were recorded, the wintering female at Ang Mo Kio Town Garden West on the 12th and 13th, and a male at Lorong Halus Wetlands on the 20th.

Five Jerdon’s Bazas were recorded, singles at Pulau Ubin, Changi Business Park, Pasir Ris Park, Tampines Eco Green, and Lorong Halus-Punggol Waterway area. There were also five Western Ospreys and they were recorded at Changi Business Park, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Upper Seletar Reservoir, Jelutong Tower, and Hindhede Nature Park. Fourteen Peregrine Falcons were recorded, often perched on buildings. There were also 22 Japanese Sparrowhawks, 39 Black Bazas,and51 Oriental Honey Buzzards.

Highlights for sedentary species:

Jackie Yeo was at Hindhede Nature Park on 17 Feb 2021 when he photographed an unusual-looking large brown owl that proved to be a Brown Fish Owl, the first sighting of the species in Singapore. The nearest known population is at northern Peninsular Malaysia, some 500-600 kilometres away. More incredibly, the next day, Vincent Yip photographed the Brown Fish Owl perching next to an almost fully grown hybrid owlet that looked mostly like a young Buffy Fish Owl. Subsequently, the Brown Fish Owl was seen perched next to an adult Buffy Fish Owl, presumably its mate. The mystery deepens when Jan Tan checked her photos of an unusual-looking owl taken at nearby Singapore Quarry on 3 Aug 2019, one and a half years ago, and discovered that it was a Brown Fish Owl!   

Brown FO crop, Jan Tan

Brown Fish Owl, at Singapore Quarry, 3 Aug 2019, by Jan Tan

The other amazing occurrence was that of a juvenile Black-thighed Falconet that was found by Lee Lay Na, perched on the parapet of an HDB flat in Yishun Street 71, on 12 Feb 2021, as if to welcome the first day of the Lunar New Year. The last confirmed record for the falconet was more than 30 years ago.


Black-thighed Falconet, perched on HDB parapet at Yishun Street 71, 12 Feb 2021, by Lee Lay Na

Breeding-related activities were noted for three other species. At least one chick was observed in the nest of a pair of Black-winged Kites at Seletar on the 28th. Separate pairs of White-bellied Sea Eagles were observed on their respective nests at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve on the 6th, and Fort Canning on the 20th. For the Buffy Fish Owl, a fledgling was observed with its parents at Yishun on the 4th & 9th, another owlet at Jurong Lake Gardens had fledged from its nest (a Bird’s Nest Fern) by the 6th, and yet another owlet was observed in its nest (another Bird’s Nest Fern) along Hampstead Gardens on the 6th and 8th.

One adult ernesti Peregrine Falcon was recorded in the vicinity of the Botanic Gardens on the 25th. There were four records of the Crested Serpent Eagle at SBWR, Chek Jawa, Goldhill Avenue, and Kent Ridge Park. Ten Grey-headed Fish Eagles, 12 Black-winged Kites, 17 Crested Goshawks, and eight Changeable Hawk-Eagles were also recorded. Finally, one Barred Eagle Owl was recorded at Rifle Range Link, while one Spotted Wood Owl was recorded at Goldhill Avenue, Satay by the Bay, and Pasir Ris Park.

Table 1

Many thanks to everyone who had reported their sightings in one way or another, and especially to Jackie Yeo, Jan Tan, and Lee Lay Na for the use of their photos.

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