Summary for migrant species:
Two Peregrine Falcons interacting with each other at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve on the 12th were captured on camera by Ang T. H., providing an excellent opportunity for plumage comparison between the two similar-looking subspecies. For the month, we had 11 migrant type (japonensis/calidus) Peregrine Falcons. Interestingly, two adult japonensis were perched within meters of each other at Jurong East, on the 11th.
Just a few days before the year came to a close, on the afternoon of the 28th, two huge Himalayan Vultures flew over Hindhede Quarry, surprising birders who were there looking for a waterbird, the vultures eventually settled on the cliff edge for the night. The next morning, birders were out in force to marvel at these two rare vagrants, which took flight at mid-morning and were mobbed by the resident White-bellied Sea Eagles. They were seen shortly after at Jelutong Tower, thermalling high up.
The single wintering immature Rufous-bellied Hawk-Eagle was photographed twice at Dairy Farm Nature Park, on the 4th & 6th. The only Common Kestrel, a female/juvenile type, was recorded at Tuas South on the 22nd & 23rd. Only one Common Buzzard, an adult, was seen/photographed at Holland Village Car Park on the 25th & 26th.
An adult female Chinese Sparrowhawk, probably the same individual from previous years, and which returned on October 2019, was still wintering at Ang Mo Kio Town Garden West. Elsewhere, there were three other individuals, one each at Dairy Farm Nature Park (juvenile), Pasir Ris Park (adult female), and Changi Business Park.
Three Western Ospreys were recorded: two at Kranji Marshes, and another at Yishun Pond. Five Jerdon’s Bazas were recorded: three at the Pasir Ris – Lorong Halus – Coney Island area, and two at Changi Business Park.
Finally, we come to the most abundant migrant raptors. 15 Japanese Sparrowhawks and 33 Black Bazas were recorded, including 13 bazas at the Botanic Gardens on the 25th. The Oriental Honey Buzzard is tops again with 84 birds, including many juveniles and a small number of dark morphs.
Highlights for sedentary species:
The notable sightings for resident raptors include that of the locally rare Crested Serpent Eagle, which was recorded three times: one at Pulau Ubin on the 1st, one at Malcolm Road on the 3rd, and an adult at Dairy Farm Nature Park on the 16th.
Nesting-related records were reported for four species. There was a nest of a pair of Grey-headed Fish Eagles, with one chick, high up a tall tree at Little Guilin. Nest-building activity was observed for the Brahminy Kite at Lim Chu Kang area, and for the Crested Goshawk at Pasir Ris. At Bishan, the chick of a pair of Spotted Wood Owls had already fledged.
At Dairy Farm Nature Park, a juvenile ernesti Peregrine Falcon was photographed in flight on the 8th. The other resident raptors recorded were the Black-winged Kite, Changeable Hawk Eagle, and the common White-bellied Sea Eagle.
For more details, please click Singapore Raptor Report – December 2019
Compiled by Tan Gim Cheong
Many thanks to everyone who had reported their sightings in one way or another, and especially to Ang T H, Lee Van Hien, Chan Yoke Meng, Sim Chip Chye, Johnny Chew, Dennis Lim, and Tay Kian Guan for the use of their photos.