Tag Archives: Common Buzzard

Singapore Raptor Report – December 2018

Common Buzzard, Art Toh

Common Buzzard, adult pale morph with lizard tail protuding from its bill, on 1 Dec 2018, at the junction of Holland Road and North Buona Vista Road, by Art Toh.

Summary for migrant species:

A rare Short-toed Snake Eagle surprised and delighted a small group of birders who managed to get crisp photographs of the raptor as it flew over Changi Business Park on 5th December, and disappeared – a one-day wonder as it usually is for this species in Singapore. On the other side of the island, at the junction of Holland Road and North Buona Vista Road on 1st December, an uncommon Common Buzzard feeding on a lizard gave Art Toh many photo opportunities. A rare Imperial Eagle was reportedly seen at Neo Tiew Harvest Lane on the 15th.

A rufous morph Oriental Scops Owl was found on 5th December at Dairy Farm Nature Park. Then, a grey morph Oriental Scops Owl showed up in the same vicinity on the 9th, the same date as the year before! Both morphs were present on 9th and 10th December. Thereafter only the rufous morph was reported to be around until the 15th. These two birds display amazing site fidelity, returning to the same spot for the 3rd season in a row!

Eight Jerdon’s Bazas were recorded: four wintering at Changi Business Park, three at Lorong Halus on the 25th and one at Pulau Ubin on the 30th. Five Chinese Sparrowhawks were recorded: singles at Pulau Ubin, Henderson Waves & Coney Island, and two at Lorong Halus. Five Peregrine Falcons were recorded: singles at Kranji Marshes, Coney Island, Changi Business Park, Seletar Aerospace and West Coast Drive. Three Western Ospreys were recorded: one at Simpang grasslands, one at Kranji Marshes, and another at MacRitchie Reservoir.

Finally, we come to the most abundant migrant raptors. 15 Japanese Sparrowhawks and 49 Black Bazas were recorded, including 27 bazas at Lorong Halus on the 29th. The Oriental Honey Buzzard is tops again with 85 birds, including 33 birds at Tuas on the 1st.

STSE, 051219, CBP, Feroz, crop

Short-toed Snake Eagle, in flight over Changi Business Park, on 5 Dec 2018, by Feroz N Fizah.

Highlights for sedentary species:

The notable sightings for resident raptors include that of the locally rare Crested Serpent Eagle which was recorded three times: an immature at Henderson Waves on the 8th, and two sightings at Pulau Ubin, on the 7th & 31st, probably of the same bird. Another was the nesting of the Crested Goshawks at West Coast, with 2 chicks that were reported to have fledged by the time of this report. And also, a Brahminy Kite at Neo Tiew Lane 2 flying with nesting materials on the 29th.

The torquatus Oriental Honey Buzzard was recorded at Jelutong Tower on the 20th (tweeddale morph), Springside Link on the 25th, and an immature at Pasir Ris starting from the 27th (and is still around). The other resident raptors recorded were the Black-winged Kite, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Grey-headed Fish Eagles and Changeable Hawk Eagle.


For more details, please see the pdf Singapore Raptor Report – December 2018

Compiled by Tan Gim Cheong

Many thanks to everyone who had reported their sightings in one way or another, and especially to Art Toh and Feroz N Fizah for the use of their photos.



Territorial Black-winged Kites


Changeable Hawk Eagle defending itself against a much smaller Black-winged Kite.                       Photo: Francis Yap.

Our common Black-winged Kite (Elanus caeruleus) is the sub species of the larger Elanus genus of Black-shouldered Kite (E. axillaris). It ranges widely from across Eurasia to the Indian Sub-continent, Asia to the Greater Sundas. They were listed as winter visitors in our past records but no migration was observed. The vast open landscape at that time may have helped them to stay. They are mainly found hunting over open grasslands and nest on remote Acacia tree here. They may be small in size but they are aggressive towards other raptors that encroached into their territory. It helped to have a fierce looking face too.


Looking fierce head on                                                Attacking a Common Buzzard from the top

Several pairs may be co-existing close to each other using the tall Casuarina trees as lookout perches. They will fly around looking for prey like lizards on the ground or indulge in some aerial mock fights.  But as soon as a low flying raptor comes into their territory, the mobbing begins. Size does not matter to these kites. We have seen them chasing away larger raptors like the Changeable Hawk Eagles and in this case the migratory Common Buzzard.


Closing in on to a Common Buzzard. 

They adopt the House Crow’s tactics using numeral advantage to harass the intruders. The attack starts from the top, diving down to the point of contact before peeling off with their talons out stretched. A second kite will repeat the same action giving the intruder no chance to defend itself.  Ironically they receive the same treatment when the House Crows try to steal their chicks from the nests.

Ref: The Avifauna of Singapore. Lim Kim Seng. 2009. Wikipedia: Black Shouldered Kite.