Bird Records Committee Report (Feb 2020)
By Lim Kim Seng
Chairman, Nature Society (Singapore) Bird Group Records Committee.
Large Woodshrike Tephrodornis gularis at Jelutong Tower, 22 Oct 2018. Photo by Francis Yap.
The Records Committee continues to receive records of new bird species to the Singapore List and rarities. This report updates the findings of the period, October 2018 – January 2020.
Eleven new bird species were added to the Singapore List, bringing the total number of species to 414. The 2020 edition can be downlink here NSS Singapore Checklist 2020 edition. NSS-Singapore Checklist-2020-edition
They include the following:
Shikra Accipiter badius
An immature photographed flying over Jelutong Tower on 21 Nov 2019 by Alex Fok was the first record for Singapore since a specimen was collected in 1891.
Shikra Accipiter badius at Jelutong Tower on 21 Nov 2019. Photo by Alex Fok.
Pied Stilt Himantopus leucocephalus
Up to five birds photographed on Pulau Tekong on 17 Jul 2019 by Frankie Cheong was the first record for Singapore.
Pied Stilt Himantopus leucocephalus at Pulau Tekong on 17 July 2019. Photo: Frankie Cheong.
Oriental Turtle-dove Streptopelia orientalis
An adult of the nominate subspecies orientalis recorded on Sisters’ Island during an island survey by Camphora Pte Ltd on 28 Nov 2018 for SDC. This was the first record for Singapore.
Oriental Turtle-dove Streptopelia orientalis at Sisters’ Island on 28 Nov 2018. Photo: Camphora Pte Ltd.
Fairy Pitta Pitta nympha
A bird seen and photographed near Dillenia Hut in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve on 8 Nov 2019 by Francis Yap and Richard White was the first record for Singapore.
Fairy Pitta Pitta nympha at Central Catchment Forest on 8 Nov 2019. Photo: Francis Yap.
Large Woodshrike Tephrodornis gularis
A female seen at Jelutong Tower on 22 Oct 2018 by Oliver Tan, Francis Yap and Pary Sivaraman. This was the first record for Singapore since the 1950s.
Large Woodshrike Tephrodornis gularis at Jelutong Towers on 22 Oct 2019. Photo: Francis Yap.
Eurasian Skylark Alauda arvensis
One photographed at Pandan Reservoir on 3 Nov 2018 by Angela Chua was the first record for Singapore.
Eurasian Skylark, Alauda arvensis, at Pandan Reservoir on 3 Nov 2018. Photo by Angela Chua.
Daurian Redstart Phoenicurus auroreus
A male photographed at the Ecolake, Singapore Botanic Gardens, on 12 Nov 2019 by Dennis Lim and Arman Nacionales and confirmed by Geoff Lim on 15 November 2019 was our third record for Singapore. A female seen at Satay by the Bay on 9 Feb 2013 by Laurence Eu was the first record. A male seen at Cashew Heights by Subha on 20 Jan 2014 was the second record while a female seen at Tg Rhu on 14 and 15 Jan 2020 by Manju Gang was our fourth record. Lastly, a male seen at National University of Singapore on 30 Jan 2020 by Lynette Chia was our fifth. Previously assigned to Cat E, recent studies have shown that this species occur on a regular basis in Southeast Asia during the winter months, and should be rightly considered as wild birds.
Daurian Redstart Phoenicurus auroreus at Singapore Botanic Gardens on 15 Nov 2019. Photo: Geoff Lim.
Taiga Flycatcher Ficedula albicilla
A non-breeding male/female seen and photographed at the Ecolake, Singapore Botanic Gardens on 30 Nov 2019 by Lim Kim Seng, Wayne Merritt and Roy Toh was the first record for Singapore.
Taiga Flycatcher Ficedula albicilla at Singapore Botanic Gardens on 30 Nov 2019. Photo: Lim Kim Seng.
Japanese Tit Parus minor
A bird photographed at Pasir Ris Park on 30 Nov 2019 by Yeo Seng Beng was our third record of this species in Singapore. The first record came from a bird observed at Chinese Garden on 27 Oct 2012 by Choo Teik Ju and photographed by Frankie Lim and Wong Lee Hong. The second was another individual photographed at Tuas on 5 November by Yong Ding Li.
Japanese Tit Parus minor at Pasir Ris Park on 30 Nov 2019. Photo: Yeo Seng Beng.
White-cheeked Starling Spodiopsar cineraceus
A subadult male was found at Seletar Aerospace Drive on 16 Jan 2020 by Martin Kennewell. This was our first record. It was seen again later by Alan OwYong and Alfred Chia who submitted a formal report for it to be accepted into Cat A.
White-cheeked Starling Spodiopsar cineraceus at Seletar Aerospace Drive on 16 Jan 2019. Photo: Alan OwYong.
Brahminy Starling Sturnia pagodarum
A bird photographed at Jurong Lake Gardens on 30 Jan 2020 by Deborah Friets was our sixth record. The other records were singles at Marina East on 2 Feb 2008 and 5 Oct 2008 by Mike Hooper, Bidadari on 3 Dec 2013 by Frankie Cheong, Punggol Barat on 8 Feb 2016 by Francis Yap and 12 Sep 2016 at Gardens by the Bay by Mike Hooper. Terry Heppell also photographed one at Gardens by the Bay on 13 Sept 2016 and should be the same bird as Mike Hooper’s. Previously assigned to Category E, recent studies have shown that this species occur on a regular basis in Southeast Asia during the winter months, and should be rightly considered as wild birds.
Brahminy Starling Sturnia pagodarum at Jurong Lake Gardens on 30 Jan 2020. Photo: Deborah Friets.
In addition, a record of Black-headed Bunting in difficult juvenile plumage reported from Kranji on 18 Nov 2018 remains as “pending” as its identification (from the similar Red-headed Bunting) was not conclusive. Another record of Blue Whistling Thrush reported from Fort Canning Park on 7 Dec 2019 was assigned to category E.
The following eight rarities were accepted.
Swinhoe’s Snipe Gallinago megala
An adult photographed at Lim Chu Kang Lane 3 on 18 Jan 2020 by Dillen Ng was our second confirmed record from the field. Its similarity to Pintail Snipe means that a close look at its outermost tail feathers is essential to confirm its identification.
Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus
A bird seen and photographed at Kranji Marshes on 15 Jan 2020 by Veronica Foo and Lim Kim Keang was our fourth record. This individual was photographed at Lim Chu Kang Lane 3 earlier on 11 Jan 2020 by Art Toh.
Chestnut-cheeked Starling Agropsar philippensis
A male photographed at Jurong Lake Gardens on 9 Feb 2020 by Sandra Chia was our fifth record. Previous records include singles at Loyang on 8 Dec 1987 by R. Subaraj, Bidadari on 11 Oct 2014 by Zahidi Hamid, Pandan River on 1 Nov 2019 by Mai Rong Wen and at Henderson Waves on 16 Nov 2019 by See Toh Yew Wai.
We would like to thanks the following observers for submitting their records for review and for the use of their photographs in this report: Frankie Cheong, Alfred Chia, Lynette Chia, Sandra Chia, Angela Chua, Veronica Foo, Alex Fok, Deborah Friets, Geoff Lim, Lim Kim Seng, Dillen Ng, Alan Owyong, Oliver Tan, Felix Wong, Francis Yap and Yeo Seng Beng. Finally, thanks are also due to my fellow committee members for their expertise in the deliberation process: Alfred Chia, Kenneth Kee, Benjamin Lee, Lim Kim Chuah, Lim Kim Keang, Alan Owyong, Dr Frank Rheindt, Tan Gim Cheong and Dr Yong Ding Li.
Lim, K.S. (2009). The avifauna of Singapore. Nature Society (Singapore), Singapore.