The 14th Fall Migration Bird Census by Lim Kim Chuah
The 14th Fall Migration Bird Census (FMBC) took place in the morning of 22nd October 2017. 58 counters took part and 26 sites were counted. Weather was quite variable throughout the sites surveyed ranging from partly cloudy and overcast to sunny. It rained in some places towards the end of the count.
In all, 138 species totaling 5,306 birds were counted. The total number of birds counted was disappointing and the number was the lowest counted in the 14-year history of the FMBC.
On a brighter note, this census shows that Singapore remains an important stronghold for the vulnerable Straw-headed Bulbul. 49 birds were counted with more than half from Pulau Ubin. Pulau Ubin also proves to be an important site for another globally threatened species, the White-rumped Shama with most of the 16 birds counted coming from Pulau Ubin.
34 species of true migrants were counted totaling 1019 birds. This represents 35% of total species counted and 19% of total number of birds counted.
TOTAL BIRDS AND SPECIES COUNTED
In all, 138 species of birds were recorded consisting of 5,306 birds. If unidentified birds (including swiftlets) are added, the total was 5810 birds.
In terms of species, the total of 138 species was close to the 14-year average of 135. However, the total birds counted of 5,306 (compared to the average of 7,226) was the lowest recorded in the 14-year history of FMBC. Also noted was the disturbing decreasing trend of birds counted during the last two editions of the census – 5,416 in 2015 and 5,314 in 2016 (see chart).
One of the possible reasons for the low number counted this year could be the big drop in the number of birds counted in one of the key wader sites, Sungei Mandai. Only 316 birds were counted compared to the average of 1,138. One possible reason is that most of the mudflat at Sungei Mandai was covered by algae and this probably limit the amount of mudflat for the waders to forage.
TOP 20 BIRDS
The top spot for the most number of birds counted went to the Asian Glossy Starling (663) and this was closely followed by the Javan Myna (645). Whimbrel was the most numerous migrant counted.
|1||Asian Glossy Starling||663||Lesser Sand Plover||829|
|2||Javan Myna**||645||Javan Myna**||612|
|3||Whimbrel||299||Asian Glossy Starling||472|
|4||Pink-necked Green Pigeon||274||Pacific Golden Plover||364|
|6||Yellow-vented Bulbul||156||Yellow-vented Bulbul||177|
|7||Common Redshank||139||Black-naped Oriole||166|
|8||Black-naped Oriole||137||Common Redshank||163|
|9||House Crow||128||Spotted Dove||155|
|10||Grey Heron##||126||Pink-necked Green Pigeon||121|
|11||Rock Dove||106||Rock Dove||114|
|12||Red-breasted Parakeet*||99||Long-tailed Parakeet*||88|
|13||Little Egret||91||Eurasian Tree Sparrow||87|
|14||Daurian Starling||83||Pin-striped Tit-Babbler||86|
|15||Olive-backed Sunbird||83||House Crow||81|
|16||Long-tailed Parakeet*||80||Zebra Dove||75|
|17||Pacific Swallow||70||Olive-backed Sunbird||68|
|18||Pacific Golden Plover||63||Common Iora||63|
|19||Pin-striped Tit-Babbler||60||Pacific Swallow||61|
|20||Collared Kingfisher||59||Common Greenshank||50|
The top bird counted for 2016, the Lesser Sand Plover was conspicuously absent from the top 20 birds. Only 3 birds were counted during the census. Another observation is the notable decrease in the number of Pacific Golden Plover counted, falling from position 4 (364 birds) last year to 18 (63 birds). Pacific Golden Plover is typically featured among the top 10 birds in most years (see chart). The chart also shows a decreasing trend since 2004.
A total of 26 sites were surveyed. This is comparable to the 14-year average of 25 sites.
The site with the most number of birds counted was Pasir Ris Park with 406 birds counted. This is closely followed by Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve Route 1 (394) and Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve Route 2 (389).
The diversity of habitats at Kranji Marsh, Kranji Dam and Pasir Ris Park prove to be attractive for many species of birds and these three sites ended with the most number of bird species recorded. Kranji Marsh took top spot with a whopping 76 species, followed by Kranji Dam (51 species) and Pasir Ris Park (48 species).
Abbreviation for site:
|SBG||Singapore Botanic Garden||KRM||Kranji Marsh||SIM||Sime Track||SER||Serangoon|
|FAB||Mount Faber||KRD||Kranji dam||MCP||Malcolm Park||PRP||Pasir Ris Park|
|TBH||Telok Blangah Hill Park||MAN||Sg Mandai||BSP||Bishan Park||UBW||Ubin West|
|KRP||Kent Ridge Park||BBW||Bkt Batok West||USR||Upper Seletar Reservoir Park||UBC||Ubin Central|
|POY||Poyan||BBP||Bkt Batok Nature Park||LSD||Lower Seletar Dam||UBE||Ubin East|
|SB1||Sg Buloh Route 1||BTR||Bkt Timah Nature Reserve||SBP||Sembawang Park|
|SB2||Sg Buloh Route 2||DFP||Dairy Farm Nature Park||HAL||Lor Halus|
This year’s census proved rather disappointing with low number of birds counted. Hopefully this is just a blip and not a continuing trend.
This census would not have been possible without the support and participation from many volunteers. We would like to thank and acknowledge the contributions from the following leaders and volunteers:
Bey Swee Hua, Richard Carden, Alfred Chia, Sandra Chia, Andrew Chow, Lena Chow, Fadzrun Adnan, Con Foley, Amuary Gassiot, Veronica Foo, Terry and Jane Heppell, Constance Huges-Treherne, Jian Wei, Atsuko Kawasaki, Kenneth Kee, Julienne Kee, Martin Kennerwell, Susan Knight, Nessie Khoo, Esther Kong, Eunice Kong, Danny Lau, Lee Chuin Ming, Lee Ee Ling, Jimmy Lee, Geraldine Lee, Lee Whye Gwan, David Li, Lim Kim Chuah, Lim Kim Keang, Lim Kim Seng, Lim Yan Ting, Lin Chee Wei, Patricia Lorenz, Melpa, Merrill, Alvin Seng, Steven Shields, Sng Bee Bee, Keita Sin, John Spencer, Tan Bee Lan, Tan Kok Hui, Teo Hui Min, George Presanis, Twang Fang Qi, Wai Jack Sin, Wan Xuan,, Wee Sau Cheng, Wing Ching How, Wing Chong, Wong Chun Cheong, Woo Lai Choo, Yang Pah Liang, Yan Jiejun, Yong Yik Shih, Yong Jun Zer
Total species and number counted (2004-17)
|Year||# of species||# of birds||# of sites|
List of birds counted on 22nd October 2017:
|1||Asian Glossy Starling||663||56||White-crested Laughingthrush||20|
|2||Javan Myna**||645||57||Crimson Sunbird||20|
|3||Whimbrel||299||58||Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker||19|
|4||Pink-necked Green Pigeon||274||59||Common Hill Myna#||19|
|5||Spotted Dove||158||60||Oriental Pied Hornbill##||17|
|6||Yellow-vented Bulbul||156||61||Malaysian Pied Fantail||17|
|7||Common Redshank||139||62||Pied Triller||16|
|8||Black-naped Oriole||137||63||White-rumped Shama##||16|
|9||House Crow||128||64||Baya Weaver||16|
|10||Grey Heron##||126||65||Red-wattled Lapwing##||15|
|11||Rock Dove||106||66||Laced Woodpecker||15|
|12||Red-breasted Parakeet*||99||67||Changeable Hawk-Eagle##||14|
|13||Little Egret||91||68||Grey Plover||13|
|14||Daurian Starling||83||69||Purple Heron##||12|
|15||Olive-backed Sunbird||83||70||Stork-billed Kingfisher||12|
|16||Long-tailed Parakeet*||80||71||Banded Woodpecker||12|
|17||Pacific Swallow||70||72||Brown Shrike||11|
|18||Pacific Golden Plover||63||73||Yellow-bellied Prinia||10|
|19||Pin-striped Tit-Babbler||60||74||Common Kingfisher||9|
|20||Collared Kingfisher||59||75||Rufous Woodpecker||9|
|21||Common Greenshank||58||76||Red-rumped Swallow||8|
|22||Oriental White-eye||56||77||Oriental Magpie-Robin##||8|
|23||White-breasted Waterhen||54||78||Copper-throated Sunbird#||8|
|24||Barn Swallow||52||79||Japanese Sparrowhawk||7|
|25||Ashy Tailorbird||52||80||Golden-bellied Gerygone||7|
|26||Striated Heron||50||81||Asian Fairy-bluebird#||7|
|27||Zebra Dove||49||82||Paddyfield Pipit||7|
|28||Straw-headed Bulbul##**||49||83||Western Osprey||6|
|29||Red Junglefowl##||46||84||Crested Honey Buzzard||6|
|30||Common Flameback||46||85||Whiskered Tern||6|
|31||Common Sandpiper||44||86||Pied Imperial Pigeon||6|
|32||Blue-tailed Bee-eater||43||87||Large-billed Crow||6|
|33||Olive-winged Bulbul||43||88||Lesser Coucal||5|
|34||Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker||42||89||Pacific Swift||5|
|35||Scaly-breasted Munia||42||90||Little Grebe##||4|
|36||Brahminy Kite||37||91||Intermediate Egret||4|
|37||Blue-throated Bee-eater||37||92||Oriental Reed Warbler||4|
|38||Dark-necked Tailorbird||37||93||Abbott’s Babbler||4|
|39||Common Iora||36||94||Yellow-rumped Flycatcher||4|
|40||Asian Koel||35||95||Orange-bellied Flowerpecker||4|
|41||Arctic Warbler||33||96||Chestnut Munia||4|
|42||Lineated Barbet||32||97||Grey Wagtail||4|
|43||Coppersmith Barbet||32||98||Black-winged Kite||3|
|44||Common Tailorbird||30||99||Slaty-breasted Rail||3|
|45||Brown-throated Sunbird||30||100||Lesser Sand Plover||3|
|46||Eurasian Tree Sparrow||30||101||Wood Sandpiper||3|
|47||Greater Racket-tailed Drongo||27||102||Little Bronze Cuckoo||3|
|48||Lesser Whistling Duck##||26||103||Tanimbar Corella*||3|
|49||Oriental Dollarbird||23||104||Long-tailed Shrike||3|
|50||White-throated Kingfisher||23||105||Cream-vented Bulbul#||3|
|51||Rose-ringed Parakeet||22||106||Little Spiderhunter||3|
|52||Common Myna||22||107||Yellow Bittern||2|
|53||White-bellied Sea Eagle||21||108||Eastern Cattle Egret||2|
|54||Asian Brown Flycatcher||21||109||Great-billed Heron##||2|
|55||Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot ##||20||110||Great Egret||2|