Tag Archives: Cinnamon-headed Green Pigeon

Singapore Bird Report – June 2019

by Geoff Lim, & Tan Gim Cheong (ed.)

Resident species dominate this month’s report. Of note is the report of 11 newly hatched Lesser Whistling Duck at Gardens by the Bay, the preponderance of forest species at Dairy Farm Nature Park, as well as the stars of Pulau Ubin – the Buff-rumped Woodpecker, Mangrove Pitta and the Black-winged Flycatcher-Shrike.

Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR) & DFNP

The bulk of sightings in this area took place at Dairy Farm Nature Park (DFNP) as birds were drawn to several fruiting mulberry and false curry leaf trees near Wallace Centre. Between 3 and 22 June 2019, a variety of forest species were spotted:

  • A Common Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica was spotted on 22 June by Saravanan Krishnamurthy;
CED, Saran

Common Emerald Dove at DFNP on 22 June 2019 by Saravanan K.

  • Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu; a male and female were spotted on 3 June 2019 by Steven Cheong, a female on 5 June by Betty Shaw, a female on 6 June by Kelvin Ng Cheng Kwan, a female on 9 June by Nicholas Lim and a female again on 13 June by Peter Lim;
Jambu, Steven Wong

Male Jambu Fruit Dove at DFNP on 3 June 2019 by Steven Wong.

  • Chestnut-bellied Malkoha Phaenicophaeus sumatranus: two sightings of this non-parasitic cuckoo were reported on 3 June (Steven Cheong) and 5 June (Terence Tan);
CBM, Terence Tan

Chestnut-bellied Malkoha at DFNP on 5 June 2019 taken by Terence Tan.

  • Both species of Barbets were observed. The resident Red-crowned Barbet Megalaima rafflesii and introduced Lineated Barbet Megalaima lineata were spotted on 7 June by Terence Tan. The Lineated Barbet sighted was a juvenile;
  • A Banded Woodpecker Chrysophlegma miniaceum was spotted on 7 June by Terence Tan;
  • Both trees attracted the Black-crested Bulbul Pycnonotus flaviventris, which is more commonly seen at the summit of Bukit Timah Hill, from 2 to 10 June by various observers such as Siew Mun, Dean Tan, Raymond Bong, Terence Tan and Steven Lee, the Cream-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus simplex on 8 June by Yong Ding Li and Geoff Lim, and the Asian Red-eyed Bulbul Pycnonotus brunneus on 5 June by Betty Shaw and 7 June by Peter Lim, who also spotted the critically endangered Straw-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus zeylanicus (BirdLife 2018) on 6 June;
BCB, Siew Mun

Black-crested Bulbul at DFNP on 2 June 2019 by Siew Mun.

SRB, Betty Shaw

Asian Red-eyed Bulbul at DFNP on 5 June 2019 by Betty Shaw.

  • Two species of Leafbirds were observed. A female Greater Green Leafbird Chloropsis sonnerati was seen on 5 June by Betty Shaw and Terence Tan feeding on the false curry leaf tree, and a male on 8 June by Yang Chee Meng. This species occurs in lower densities. Currently listed as being Vulnerable (Birdlife 2016), the bird’s singing abilities have made it a target of songbird poachers in Indonesia (Chng et al, 2017). The more colourful Blue-winged Leafbird Chloropsis cochinchinensis was spotted on 4 June and 10 June (male) by Desmond Yap, 11 June (male) by Vincent Chin and 16 June (male) by Angela Yeo. All sightings involved the bird feeding on a mulberry tree.
GGLB, Terence Tan

Female Greater Green Leafbird at DFNP on 5 June 2019 by Terence Tan.

BWLB, AY

Blue-winged Leafbird at DFNP photographed by Angela Yeo on 16 June 2019.

  • The Van Hasselt’s Sunbird Leptocoma brasiliana was reported on 5 June (Terence Tan) and 13 June (Kok M Lee), the Crimson Sunbird Aethopyga siparaja on 9 June (Liu Xiao Dong; juvenile bird) and 13 June (Kok M Lee), and the Little Spiderhunter Arachnothera longirostra on 16 June (Angela Yeo).
LSPH, AY

Little Spiderhunter at DFNP on 16 June 2019 by Angela Yeo.

A short distance away at the Singapore Quarry, the Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster was reported on 26 June 2019 by Benson Brighton, while a juvenile Barred Eagle-Owl Bubo sumatranus was spotted on 28 June 2019 by Art Toh – good indication of successful breeding for the year. The regular pair of Brown Hawk-Owl Ninox scutulata was seen at Hindhede Nature Park on 26 June 2019 by Khoo MeiLin.

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Oriental Darter at Singapore Quarry on 26 June 2019 by Benson Brighton.

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Juvenile Barred Eagle-Owl photographed at SG Quarry Road on 28 June 2019 by Art Toh.

BHO, KML

Brown Hawk Owl at Hindhede on 26 June 2019 taken by Khoo Mei Lin.

Mandai Track 7 held the Chestnut-winged Babbler Stachyris erythroptera, which was spotted on 5 June (Steven Cheong), 9 and 16 June (Angela Yeo) and 22 June (Francis Yap), as well as the Red-crowned Barbet Megalaima rafflesii, which was spotted on 9 June 2016 by Angela Yeo.

CWB, AY

Chestnut-winged Babbler at Mandai Track 7 on 16 June 2019 by Angela Yeo.

RCB, AY

Red-crowned Barbet at Mandai Track 7 on 9 June 2019 by Angela Yeo.

Other birds reported within the CCNR include Plume-toed Swiftlet Collocalia affinis reported on 11 June 2016 by Oliver Tan, a Chestnut-winged Babbler Stachyris erythroptera, which was heard on 14 June 2019 by Oliver Tan, a Violet Cuckoo Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus on 16 June 2019 by Francis Yap, and a juvenile Drongo Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris on 16 June 2019 by Vincent Lao.

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Juvenile Drongo Cuckoo inside CCNR on 16 June 2019 by Vincent Lao.

Singapore Botanic Gardens

A pair of Common Hill Myna Gracula religiosa was spotted on 8 June 2019 in the Gardens by Cheng Li Ai.

Northern Singapore

A Black Bittern Dupetor flavicollis was spotted on 6 June at the Baker Street pond by Veronica Foo. Two Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis were seen at the pond behind the Lorong Halus wetland centre on 18 June 2019 by Feroz Ghazali, while one was seen on 22 June 2019 at Lorong Halus by Darren Leow. A Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica was seen at the Lorong Halus Wetland vicinity on 30 June 2019 by Martin Kennewell. The bird was said to be flying east at 10:10am.

Eastern Singapore

On 4 June, two Green Imperial Pigeon Ducula aenea were spotted within the grounds of Pasir Ris Park by Fadzrun Adnan; two birds were subsequently seen within the mangrove broadwalk on 22 June by Graham Risdon. The resident Spotted Wood Owl Strix seloputo was seen on 5 June by Charlie Pitts, while two female Common Flameback Dinopium javanense were observed fighting on 7 June by Jimmy Ng. The Rose-ringed Parakeet Psittacula krameri was observed on 14 June by Alvin Seng. Further afield, Little Tern Sternula albifrons, which were reported since 5 June, continued to receive the attention of photographers at the water bodies around Pasir Ris Town Park.

RRP, alvin

Rose-ringed Parakeet spotted at PRP on 14 June 2019 by Alvin Seng.

About 1.5 kilometres away at Tampines Eco-Green, a Savanna Nightjar Caprimulgus affinis was seen on 8 June by Ken Joree Tan and on 15 June by Wang HM, while up to two Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinus were spotted on 9 and 13 June by Wang HM.

P cockoo, Wang HM

Plaintive Cuckoo at TEG on 13 June 2019 by Wang HM.

Visitors to Pulau Ubin seeking out the rare Buff-rumped Woodpecker Meiglyptes tristis were rewarded by sightings of the bird on 2, 5, 8 and 23 June (Jerold Tan, Francis Yap, Adrian Silas Tay and Arasu Sivaraman, respectively). During this period, the Mangrove Pitta Pitta megarhyncha was seen on 1 June (Desmond Yap) and nesting activities observed on 8 June (Khoo Meilin), while the Black Hornbill Anthracoceros malayanus was spotted on 2 June (Jerold Tan) and 8 June (Marvin Heng and Khong Yew). Visitors also saw the White-rumped Shama Copsychus malabaricus, including one juvenile on 8 June by Khoo Meilin, and an adult on 11 June by Leong Kaikee. A rare Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hemipus hirundinaceus was seen on 22 June by Ben Keen, who noted that it was “seen clearly from top of viewing tower on east side of island around 8am. Flew into tree next to tower all white underneath, all dark on top. No white on wings. Recently saw some bar-winged flycatcher-shrike [sic] so I had a point of reference.”

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Mangrove Pitta at Pulau Ubin on 8 June 2019 by Francis Yap.

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Buff-rumped Woodpecker at Pulau Ubin on 5 July 2019 by Vincent Lao.

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Black Hornbill photographed on Pulau Ubin on 8 June 2019 by Khong Yew.

Also spotted on Ubin were four Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus during the joint NParks-NSS Bird Group survey on 23 June 2019, as well as a Cinnamon-headed Green Pigeon Treron fulvicollis on Ubin Day on 29 June 2019 at the entrance of Butterfly Hill by Kerry Pereira.

Other birds seen in the east included more than thirty Red-breasted Parakeet Psittacula alexandri on 3 June 2019 at the vicinity of Loyang Villa by a friend of Julie Wee, and feeding Coconut Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus on 18 June at Eastwood Estate by Herman Phua.

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Red-breasted Parakeet at Loyang Villa on 3 June 2019 through Julie Wee.

Southern Singapore

Lesser Whistling Duck Dendrocygna javanica were sighted at Gardens by the Bay on 8 June 2019 by Kay Aik. Subsequently a pair were seen with 11 ducklings at the Garden grounds on 27 June 2019 by Steven Wong.

LWD, Steven Wong

Lesser Whistling Duck with young at Gardens by the Bay on 27 June 2019 by Steven Wong.

A Chinese Hwamei Garrulax canorus was spotted at the nature park area of Sentosa on 12 June 2019 by Choong YT, while a House Swift Apus nipalensis was seen at the vicinity of Imbiah at Sentosa on 18 June 2019 by Dick Dallimore.

Western Singapore

Considerable attention was paid to the Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting at Jurong Eco Garden (JEG); the bird was seen on 9, 11 and 18 June by Leong Kaikee, Alok Mishra and Terence Tan, respectively. Visitors to JEG also observed the presence of a female Laced Woodpecker Picus vittatus on 12 June (Kok M Lee) and Coconut Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus on 16 June (Desmond Yap). A Chestnut-bellied Malkoha Phaenicophaeus sumatranus was spotted on 19 June by Terence Tan.

BEKF, TT

Blue-eared Kingfisher at Jurong Eco Garden on 18 June 2019 by Terence Tan.

A family of three Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupu, comprising a juvenile and two adults was spotted at Jurong Lake Garden on 9 and 12 June (Siew Mun and Dave Koh, respectively) indicates successful nesting for the species.  One of the adults appeared to have some abnormality in its left eye. Also, a family of Lesser Whistling Ducks with 7 ducklings were recorded on 28 June (Khoo Meilin).

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Buffy Fish Owl at Jurong Lake Garden on 9 June 2019 by Siew Mun.

 

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A Savanna Nightjar Caprimulgus affinis was reportedly found at the grounds of Chinese Garden on 7 June and left at an animal lover’s home at a nearby HDB estate in Jurong West in the morning. The incident was reported by Xin Yan, who reported that the bird remained weak and died during the night.

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Savanna Nightjar at Jurong West on 7 June. Photograph provided by Xin Yan.

There were no reports on bird activities around Kranji Marsh, save for one of a Changeable Hawk-Eagle Nisaetus cirrhatus seen on the ground foraging on 17 June by Tan Eng Boo. Further away, visitors at the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR) reported the presence of up to three Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus on 7 and 15 June (YK Han), while a Great-billed Heron Ardea sumatrana was reported on 9 June by Angela Chua. A pair of Slaty-breasted Rail Gallirallus striatus were reported at Sungei Kadut during the evening of 16 June by Koh Tse Hsien.

Pandan River, which continued to attract photographers, saw Little Tern Sternula albifrons on 6 June (David Chan) while looking for the resident Grey-headed Fish-Eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus.

Little Tern

Little Tern at Pandan River on 6 June 2019 taken by David Chan.

Further afield, we received continuing reports of the Slaty-breasted Rail Gallirallus striatus at Jurong East on 6 June (Steven Chong), the House Swift Apus nipalensis at West Coast Drive on 20 June (Tay Kian Guan) and the Abbott’s Babbler Malacocincla abbotti at West Coast Park on 27 June (Steven Wong).

Abbreviations:
BTNR: Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
CCNR: Central Catchment Nature Reserve
DFNP: Dairy Farm Nature Park
JEG: Jurong Eco Garden
SBG: Singapore Botanic Gardens
SBWR: Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
TEG: Tampines Eco-Green
This report is written by Geoff Lim 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 Saravanan K., Steven Cheong, Terence Tan, Betty Shaw, Angela Yeo, Art Toh, Khoo Mei Lin, Alvin Seng, Wang HM, Marvin Heng, Steven Wong, Siew Mun, Benson Brighton, Julie Wee, Vincent Lao, Francis Yap, Xin Yan, and David Chan for allowing us to use their photographs.

REFERENCES

Chng, S. C. L.; Eaten, J. A., and Miller, A. E. (1997) “Greater Green Leafbird – the trade in South-east Asia”. TRAFFIC Bulletin Vol. 29 (1): 4-8.

https://www.traffic.org/site/assets/files/…/traffic_pub_bulletin_29_1_greater-green.pdf

Downloaded on 10 July 2019.

BirdLife International 2016. Chloropsis sonnerati. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22704950A93992403. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22704950A93992403.en. Downloaded on 10 July 2019.

BirdLife International 2018. Pycnonotus zeylanicus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T22712603A132470468. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-2.RLTS.T22712603A132470468.en. Downloaded on 10 July 2019.

LIST OF BIRDS REPORTED IN JUNE 2019

Family Species Scientific Name Date
Anatidae Lesser Whistling Duck Dendrocygna javanica 8 Jun 19
Lesser Whistling Duck Dendrocygna javanica 27 Jun 19
Podicipedidae Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis 18 Jun 19
Ardeidae Black Bittern Dupetor flavicollis 6 Jun 19
Great-billed Heron Ardea sumatrana 9 Jun 19
Pacific Reef Heron Egretta sacra 17 Jun 19
Anhingidae Oriental  Darter Anhinga melanogaster 26 Jun 19
Accipitridae Changeable Hawk-Eagle Nisaetus cirrhatus 17 Jun 19
Grey-headed Fish Eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus 10 Jun 19
Grey-headed Fish Eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus 11 Jun 19
Rallidae Slaty-breasted Rail Gallirallus striatus 6 Jun 19
Slaty-breasted Rail Gallirallus striatus 16 Jun 19
Recurvirostridae Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus 23 Jun 19
Scolopacidae Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus 7 Jun 19
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus 15 Jun 19
Laridae Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica 30 Jun 19
Little Tern Sternula albifrons 7 Jun 19
Little Tern Sternula albifrons 6 Jun 19
Columbidae Common Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica 22 Jun 19
Cinnamon-headed Green Pigeon Treron fulvicollis 29 Jun 19
Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu 3 Jun 19
Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu 3 Jun 19
Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu 5 Jun 19
Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu 6 Jun 19
Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu 9 Jun 19
Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu 9 Jun 19
Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu 10 Jun 19
Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu 11 Jun 19
Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu 13 Jun 19
Green Imperial Pigeon Ducula aenea 4 Jun 19
Green Imperial Pigeon Ducula aenea 22 Jun 19
Cuculidae Chestnut-bellied Malkoha Phaenicophaeus sumatranus 3 Jun 19
Chestnut-bellied Malkoha Phaenicophaeus sumatranus 5 Jun 19
Chestnut-bellied Malkoha Phaenicophaeus sumatranus 19 Jun 19
Violet Cuckoo Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus 16 Jun 19
Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinus 9 Jun 19
Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinus 13 Jun 19
Drongo Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris 16 Jun 19
Strigidae Barred Eagle-Owl Bubo sumatranus 28 Jun 19
Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupu 9 Jun 19
Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupu 12 Jun 19
Spotted Wood Owl Strix seloputo 5 Jun 19
Spotted Wood Owl Strix seloputo 4 Jun 19
Brown Hawk-Owl Ninox scutulata 26 Jun 19
Caprimulgidae Savanna Nightjar Caprimulgus affinis 8 Jun 19
Savanna Nightjar Caprimulgus affinis 15 Jun 19
Savanna Nightjar Caprimulgus affinis 7 Jun 19
Apodidae Plume-toed Swiftlet Collocalia affinis 11 Jun 19
House Swift Apus nipalensis 18 Jun 19
House Swift Apus nipalensis 20 Jun 19
House Swift Apus nipalensis 30 Jun 19
Alcedinidae Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting 9 Jun 19
Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting 11 Jun 19
Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting 18 Jun 19
Bucerotidae Black Hornbill Anthracoceros malayanus 2 Jun 19
Black Hornbill Anthracoceros malayanus 8 Jun 19
Megalaimidae Lineated Barbet Megalaima lineata 7 Jun 19
Red-crowned Barbet Megalaima rafflesii 7 Jun 19
Red-crowned Barbet Megalaima rafflesii 9 Jun 19
Picidae Banded Woodpecker Chrysophlegma miniaceum 7 Jun 19
Laced Woodpecker Picus vittatus 12 Jun 19
Common Flameback Dinopium javanense 7 Jun 19
Buff-rumped Woodpecker Meiglyptes tristis 2 Jun 19
Buff-rumped Woodpecker Meiglyptes tristis 5 Jun 19
Buff-rumped Woodpecker Meiglyptes tristis 8 Jun 19
Buff-rumped Woodpecker Meiglyptes tristis 23 Jun 19
Psittacidae Rose-ringed Parakeet Psittacula krameri 14 Jun 19
Red-breasted Parakeet Psittacula alexandri 3 Jun 19
Coconut Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus 18 Jun 19
Coconut Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus 16 Jun 19
Pittidae Mangrove Pitta Pitta megarhyncha 1 Jun 19
Mangrove Pitta Pitta megarhyncha 8 Jun 19
Mangrove Pitta Pitta megarhyncha 14 Jun 19
Tephrodornithidae Black-winged Flycatcher-Shrike Hemipus hirundinaceus 22 Jun 19
Pycnonotidae Straw-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus zeylanicus 6 Jun 19
Black-crested Bulbul Pycnonotus flaviventris 4 Jun 19
Black-crested Bulbul Pycnonotus flaviventris 6 Jun 19
Black-crested Bulbul Pycnonotus flaviventris 7 Jun 19
Black-crested Bulbul Pycnonotus flaviventris 10 Jun 19
Cream-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus simplex 8 Jun 19
Asian Red-eyed Bulbul Pycnonotus brunneus 7 Jun 19
Timaliidae Chestnut-winged Babbler Stachyris erythroptera 14 Jun 19
Chestnut-winged Babbler Stachyris erythroptera 5 Jun 19
Chestnut-winged Babbler Stachyris erythroptera 9 Jun 19
Chestnut-winged Babbler Stachyris erythroptera 16 Jun 19
Pellorneidae Abbott’s Babbler Malacocincla abbotti 27 Jun 19
Leiothrichidae Chinese Hwamei Garrulax canorus 12 Jun 19
Sturnidae Common Hill Myna Gracula religiosa 8 Jun 19
Muscicapidae White-rumped Shama Copsychus malabaricus 8 Jun 19
White-rumped Shama Copsychus malabaricus 11 Jun 19
Chloropseidae Greater Green Leafbird Chloropsis sonnerati 5 Jun 19
Greater Green Leafbird Chloropsis sonnerati 5 Jun 19
Greater Green Leafbird Chloropsis sonnerati 8 Jun 19
Blue-winged Leafbird Chloropsis cochinchinensis 4 Jun 19
Blue-winged Leafbird Chloropsis cochinchinensis 10 Jun 19
Blue-winged Leafbird Chloropsis cochinchinensis 11 Jun 19
Blue-winged Leafbird Chloropsis cochinchinensis 16 Jun 19
Nectariniidae Van Hasselt’s Sunbird Leptocoma brasiliana 5 Jun 19
Van Hasselt’s Sunbird Leptocoma brasiliana 13 Jun 19
Crimson Sunbird Aethopyga siparaja 9 Jun 19
Crimson Sunbird Aethopyga siparaja 13 Jun 19
Little Spiderhunter Arachnothera longirostra 16 Jun 19
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Singapore Bird Report – December 2018

The Eurasian Wigeon reappears in Singapore after 31 years! December marks the end of peak annual migration season, and the year-end holidays. As holiday makers make their way to colder climes, birds continue to stream into Singapore, yielding surprises like the Eurasian Wigeon, Cotton Pygmy Goose, Sakhalin Leaf Warbler, and the Oriental Scops Owl duo.

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Photograph of the Eurasian Wigeon at Kranji Marshes on 23 December 2018 by Alan Ng.

Eurasian Wigeon 

On the morning of 23 December 2018, an Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope was spotted within the confines of Kranji Marsh by Martin Kennewell. This remarkable sighting represents one of only two records of the Wigeon in Singapore; the last being an immature female associating with Whimbrel flocks in the ponds, mudflats and mangroves around Sungei Buloh between December 1986 and February 1987. It also underscores the importance of the Kranji freshwater habitat in supporting wetland species sensitive to human activity.  The closest known breeding territory for the bird is in Mongolia, although the species occurs throughout Asia and southeast Asia. Although listed as being of Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, this species is sensitive to human activity and faces pressure from habitat loss and hunting (Birdlife 2017).

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Eurasian Wigeon at Kranji Marshes on 23 December 2018 by Martin Kennewell showing the duck in the natural environment.

Cotton Pygmy Goose

While many were still reeling from the appearance of the mega-rare Eurasian Wigeon, news of a scarce Cotton Pygmy Goose Nettapus coromandelianus arriving at Lorong Halus on Christmas Eve rippled across social media. The last known appearance of the dimunitive duck in Singapore took place on 15 February 2016 at Satay by the Bay’s main pond; as the 2016 occurrence turned out to be a one-day bird, many birders and photographers abandoned their Christmas Eve plans for the afternoon to descend on the ponds of Lorong Halus. They were not disappointed as the bird continued to stay through Christmas till the end of 2018.

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Photograph of the Cotton Pygmy Goose at Lorong Halus on 29 December 2018 by Lim Swee Kin.

The Cotton Pygmy Goose is found across India, southern China, southeast Asia, parts of Papua New Guinea and northern Australia. Listed on IUCN’s Red List as being of Least Concern, research is still needed to better understand threats and conservation issues regarding the bird (Birdlife 2016).

Oriental Scops Owl

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The rufous morph Oriental Scops Owl at Dairy Farm Nature Park on 10 December 2018. Photo taken by Lee Chin Pong

To the delight of many birders, the grey and rufous morph Oriental Scops Owl Otus surnia returned to the trees adjacent to Wallace Centre at Dairy Farm Nature Park (DFNP). On 5 December 2018, Lim Kim Keang spotted the rufous morph, which was joined by the grey morph on 9 December 2018. On 19 December 2018, David Tan reported the collection of a dead rufous morph Oriental Scops Owl from the vicinity of Eng Neo Avenue, an area abutting the CCNR. The bird may have crashed into a window before landing into a water feature, where it was subsequently retrieved from.

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A portrait of the grey morph Oriental Scops Owl at Dairy Farm Nature Park. Taken on 13 December 2018 by David Fur.

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A dead rufous morph Oriental Scops Owl obtained from the vicinity of Eng Neo Avenue on 19 December 2018. Photograph by David Tan.

Central Catchment Nature Reserve

As expected, reports of migrants dominate in the month of December. Apart from the reports of the Oriental Scops Owl and Sakhalin Leaf Warblers Phylloscopus borealoides, a Green-backed Flycatcher Ficedula elisae was observed just before Jelutong Tower on 17 December 2018 by Oliver Tan. Just before the year ended, a Hooded Pitta Pitta sordida appeared at the foot of Bukit Timah hill on 30 December 2018, as reported by Chin Yee Hong.

Central Singapore

A Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus was sighted at Bishan Park on 10 December 2018 by Ng Kian Chye. An unhappy report on 30 December 2018 was made by Nicholas Chiam, who found a Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx nisicolor that had expired at the base of Cathay Building along Dhoby Ghaut; a casualty from possibly colliding with the building while in flight. An uncommon Brown-streaked Flycatcher Muscicapa williamsoni was photographed at Gardens by the Bay on 26 December 2018 by Ng Wei Khim.

Northern Singapore 

Apart from the Cotton Pygmy Goose reported on Christmas Eve and described above, Halus Wetland Centre also yielded a Baillon’s Crake Porzana pusilla, which was spotted on 27 December 2018 by Alfred Chia, and subsequently photographed over the next few days by an assembly of photographers searching for the goose. A Hooded Pitta Pitta sordida was reported from Rivervale Cresent on 4 December 2018 by Jeff Long.

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Photograph of the Baillon’s Crake at Lorong Halus on 30 December 2018 by Lim Swee Kin.

Eastern Singapore

A rare Slaty-legged Crake Rallina eurizonoides was reported to be in a basement carpark at Haig Road area on 29 December 2018, by Martin Kennewell. Another Hooded Pitta was reported from Simei Block 147 on 6 December 2018 by David Tan. Arising from the Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus reported in November, several interesting species were reported from the vicinity of Changi Business Park. These include a Short-toed Snake Eagle Circaetus gallicus reported on 5 December 2018 by Melinda Chan, a Chestnut-winged Cuckoo Clamator coromandus on 8 December 2018 by Lim Kim Keang, a White-shouldered Starling Sturnia sinensis on 11 December 2018 by Joseph Lim, and a Jerdon’s Baza Aviceda jerdoni on 13 December 2018 by Stuart Campbell.

Further afield, a Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola and Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus were seen on Pulau Tekong on 19 December 2018 by Frankie Cheong, while a pair of Cinnamon-headed Green Pigeons Treron fulvicollis and another Jerdon’s Baza were spotted on Pulau Ubin on 30 December 2018 by Diane Campbell.

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Photograph of the Short-toed Snake Eagle at Changi Business Park on 8 December 2018 by Chan Yoke Meng.

Southern Singapore

A Common Buzzard Buteo buteo was seen at Holland Road on 1 December 2018 by Art Toh, a first for the location. Arising from a fruiting fig tree at Telok Blangah Hill Park, several species of birds were reported from the location, including a Ferruginous Flycatcher Muscicapa ferruginea on 5 December 2018 and a Zappey’s or Blue-and-White Flycatcher Cyanoptila cumatilis or C. cyanomelana on 12 December 2018 by Anthony Nik and Jeremiah Loei, respectively. These were first for the location as well. A House Sparrow Passer domesticus was spotted at Gardens by the Bay on 23 December 2018 by Anthony Nik.

Western Singapore

A juvenile Grey-headed Fish Eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus spotted at Chinese Garden on 8 December 2018 by Loke Peng Fai. An Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca was reportedly seen on 15 December 2018 at Harvest Lane by Lim Kim Seng. The Eurasian Wigeon described above was seen at Kranji Marsh on 23 December 2018 by Martin Kennewell, while a Watercock Gallicrex cinerea was spotted at the same Marsh on Christmas Day (25 December 2018) by Art Toh. Boxing Day (26 December 2018) birding yielded a Forest Wagtail Dendronanthus indicus at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserves for Feroz, while an Eye-browed Thrush Turdus obscurus was seen at West Coast Drive on 28 December 2018 by Tay Kian Guan. Finally, we received delightful news of a male Greater Painted Snipe Rostratula benghalensis with three chicks at Kranji Marsh on 30 December 2018 by Hongxun.

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Watercock on Christmas Day (25 December 2018) at Kranji Marshes. Photo by Art Toh.

Sakhalin Leaf Warbler

Birders and scientists acknowledge that Phylloscopus warblers represent one of the most difficult species to identify. The Pale-legged and Sakhalin Leaf Warblers are cases in point as both are remarkably similar, in fact they were previously considered conspecific, i.e. same species.

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Sakhalin Leaf Warbler at the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, 14 Janaury 2019, photo by Koh Lian Heng.

Pale-legged Leaf Warblers largely come from northeast Asia, and spend their winter months in southeast Asia. Sakhalin Leaf Warblers are found from the Sakhalin Island, down large swathes of Japan, as well as along coastal China from Weihai to an area the south of Xiamen. Wintering records of the species sparsely dot places in Vietnam, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia. As it stands, only the Sakhalin Leaf Warbler is in the NSS bird checklist, the Pale-legged has yet to be recorded.

In 2014, a team of Singapore birders comprising Lim Kim Keang, Francis Yap, Yong Ding Li, Albert Low and Con Foley worked with NUS scientists to firmly establish the species as a rare accidental visitor to Singapore (Yap, et al, 2014). Then, Lim Kim Keang heard a Leaf Warbler calling in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve; conventional wisdom suggested that this was probably a Pale-legged Leaf Warbler. However, analysis of the recorded calls and comparisons with the known calls of the two species in question showed that the bird was a Sakhalin Leaf Warbler, as the calls were at a frequency lower than that of the Pale-legged Leaf Warbler.

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Detective work by our Singaporean birders. Extract of sonographic records from Yap et al, (2014) showing how the calls of the Pale-legged Leaf Warbler may be distinguished from the Sakhalin Leaf Warbler by distinct differences in their frequencies.

On 27 December 2018, when several high-frequency calls were heard by Lim Kim Chuah while jogging around MacRitchie Reservoir Park, several birders ventured to determine which Leaf Warbler species that was. Their effort revealed that up to three birds were calling within an area measuring about 500m by 250m. Detailed examination by Yong Ding Li of one of the calling birds revealed that it was a Sakhalin Leaf Warbler.

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Sonogram of the Sakhalin Leaf Warbler at the Central Catchment Nature Reserve on 31 December 2018 (Yong, 2018).

Photographing the birds proved harder as they tended to be more furtive and often skulked in the darker sections below the canopies of trees, as well as descending to the darkened forest floor to forage. Several photographers managed to obtain decent photos, to reveal a bird that superficially resembles the common Arctic Warbler, but has distinguishing marks such as pinkish legs and a conspicuously long buffy eye-stripe that extends almost to the nape. The bird’s skulking behaviour, as well as its propensity to descend to the ground level, contrasts greatly with the canopy-loving Arctic Warbler.

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Sakhalin Leaf Warbler at the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, 15 January 2019, demonstrating that the warbler’s propensity for the cover of the canopy. Photo by Koh Lian Heng.

References

BirdLife International 2017. Mareca penelope (amended version of 2016 assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T22680157A111892532.  http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-1.RLTS.T22680157A111892532.en. Downloaded on 23 January 2019.

BirdLife International (2016a). Nettapus coromandelianusThe IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22680090A92842427. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22680090A92842427.en. Downloaded on 23 January 2019.

BirdLife International (2016b). Phylloscopus tenellipesThe IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22715324A94448249. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22715324A94448249.en. Downloaded on 23 January 2019.

BirdLife International (2016c). Phylloscopus borealoidesThe IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22715329A94448458. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22715329A94448458.en. Downloaded on 23 January 2019.

Robson, C. (2005) A field guide to the birds of South-East Asia. London: New Holland.

Wells, D. R. (2007) The birds of the Thai-Malay peninsula, 2. London: Academic Press.

Yap, Francis & Yong, D. L., Low, W. B., Cros, E., Foley, C., Lim, K. K.  & Rheindt, E. F. (2014). “First wintering record of the Sakhalin Leaf Warbler.” Phylloscopus borealoides in South- East Asia, with notes on vocalisations. BirdingAsia. 21. 76-81.

Yong, D.L. (2018)  Audio Recording XC448228 of Sakhalin Leaf Warbler on 31 December 2018. Accessible at http://www.xeno-canto.org/448228.

Abbreviations:
BTNR: Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
CCNR: Central Catchment Nature Reserve
DFNP: Dairy Farm Nature Park
JEG: Jurong Eco-Garden
SBG: Singapore Botanic Gardens
SBWR: Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
TEG: Tampines Eco-Green

This report is compiled by Geoff Lim and Alan OwYong, and edited by Tan Gim Cheong. It is based on selected postings in various Facebook birding pages, bird forums, individual reports and extracts from eBird. This compilation is not a complete list of birds recorded for the month and not all the records were verified. We wish to thank all the contributors for their records. Many thanks to Lee Chin Poh, David Fur, David Tan, Martin Kennewell, Ng Alan, Lim Swee Kin, Koh Lian Heng and Art Toh for the use of their photos. 

 List of bird sightings in report

Family Species Date
Anatidae Cotton Pygmy Goose 24 Dec 2018
Eurasian Wigeon 23 Dec 2018
Ardeidae Cinnamon Bittern 10 Dec 2018
Great Egret 2 Dec 2018
Accipitridae Jerdon’s Baza 13 Dec 2018
Jerdon’s Baza 30 Dec 2018
Short-toed Snake Eagle 5 Dec 2018
Imperial Eagle 15 Dec 2018
Grey headed Fish Eagle 8 Dec 2018
Common  Buzzard 1 Dec 2018
Rallidae Slaty-legged Crake 29 Dec 2018
Ballion’s Crake 27 Dec 2018
Watercock 25 Dec 2018
Charadriidae Grey Plover 19 Dec 2018
Rostratulidae Greater Painted Snipe 30 Dec 2018
Scolopacidae Terek Sandpiper 19 Dec 2018
Strigidae Oriental Scops owl 5 Dec 2018
Oriental Scops owl 19 Dec 2018
Columbidae Cinnamon-headed Green Pigeon 30 Dec 2018
Cuculidae Chestnut-winged Cuckoo 8 Dec 2018
Hodgson’s Hawk cuckoo 30 Dec 2018
Pittidae Hooded Pitta 4 Dec 2018
Hooded Pitta 6 Dec 2018
Hooded Pitta 30 Dec 2018
Dicruridae Ashy Drongo 2 Dec 2018
Phylloscopidae Sakhalin Leaf Warbler 27 Dec 2018
Sturnidae White-shouldered Starling 11 Dec 2018
Turdidae Eye-browed Thrush 28 Dec 2018
Muscicapidae Brown-streaked FC 26 Dec 2018
Ferruginous Flycatcher 5 Dec 2018
B&W/Zappey’s FC 12 Dec 2018
Green-backed Flycatcher 17 Dec 2018
Passeridae House Sparrow 23 Dec 2018
Motacillidae Forest Wagtail 26 Dec 2018

A Cinnamon Ang Pow

Cinnamon-headed Pigeon

Cinnamon-headed Green Pigeon

Our New Year Ang Pow arrived a little late, but we are not complaining. Terry Chen posted a photo of a male Cinnamon-headed Green Pigeon, Treron fulvicollis, on 24 Feb 2016. It was feeding on the red berries along the forest trail at the Tampines Eco Green.

We had less than 10 records of this rare non-breeding visitor in Singapore. Our last record was on 3rd September 2011 when Con Foley photographed a pair at Pulau Ubin. Most of our sightings were at Pulau Ubin and Sungei Buloh. They must have come over from across the Causeway, most likely due to forest disturbance in Johor. They are good long distance flyers.

Cinnamn-headed Pigeon

By mid day the pigeon was contented to stay in the shade and preen.

It was full house this Saturday morning, when the who’s who of the birding community gathered around a small tree along the trail at TEG hoping to get a shot of this pigeon. For most this was their lifer. Francis Yap confirmed that there were two male birds there this morning after looking through his photos. One appeared to be a sub-adult based on the incomplete maroon upperwing according to See Toh Yew Wai. Those who came early were rewarded with eye-level shots when the pigeon came down to feed on the red berries. There were even the mandatory FIM shots of the pigeon with the berry in its mouth. But most of us went home happy with some great open shots of this cinnamon ang pow. Dare we dream of the appearance of another rare returning resident, the Little Green Pigeon, Treron olax, missing since 2004.

Reference: Lim Kim Seng. The Avifauna of Singapore. 2009. Nature Society (Singapore).