Tag Archives: Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo

Singapore Bird Report – September 2015

YVFP Wong Kook Yoke
Yellow-vented Flowerpecker at Dairy Farm Nature Park taken by Wong Koon Yoke on 26th.

The migration season is in full swing with many passerines making their first arrival here and three species establishing new extreme dates. For easy reading I will list the first arrivals with dates, species, location and name of observer.

EC Warbler Alan Ng
Eastern Crowned Warbler. A difficult species to photograph. Taken at Bidadari on 24th by Alan Ng.

(1/9/15) Grey Wagtail, Motacilla cinerea, at Mimosa Walk by Heather Goessel.
(2/9/15) Blue Rock Thrush, Monticola solitarius, at Pinnacle by Vivien Lee Min. (Previous extreme date 14 Oct).
(6/9/15) Brown Shrike, Lanius cristatus, at Jurong Eco Gardens by Lee Van Hien.
(16/9/15) Ruddy Kingfisher, Halcyon coromanda, at Bidadari by Alan Ng.
(17/9/15) Siberian Blue Robin, Luscinia cyane, adult male at Lasia Track by Alan OwYong. (Previous extreme date 21 Sept)
(17/9/15) Dark-sided Flycatcher, Muscicapa sibirica, at Bukit Timah Summit by Lim Kim Seng.
(21/9/15) Black-backed Kingfisher,Ceyx erithacus, at Bidadari by Vincent Ng. ( One week ahead of previous extreme date)
(21/9/15) Daurian Starlings,, Sturnus sturninus, (<200) at SBWR by Francis Yap.
(28/9/15) Pond Heron spp, Ardeola spp, at Bishan Park by Abdul Shukor.

Tiger Shrike Frankie LimRuddy Kingfisher
An adult male Tiger Shrike taken at Bidadari by Frankie Lim on 18th. We normally get only the juveniles during the autumn migration. Unfortunately the Ruddy Kingfisher stayed only for a day at Bidadari. Photo Alan Ng on 16th.

Other passerine migrants of note were an influx of Yellow-rumped Flycatchers, Ficedula zanthopygia. Both male and females at Venus Drive on 4th (Koh Lian Heng and Dean Tan), Singapore Botanic Gardens and Bidadari. Two reports of Eastern Crowned Warblers, Phylloscopus coronatus, one photographed by Alan Ng at Bidadari on 24th and another at Dairy Farm on 28th by Francis Yap. The newly split Blyth’s Paradise Flycatcher, Terpsiphone paradisi affinis,  was the first record for Bidadari seen by YK Loke on 24th. We also had several sub adult and adult male Tiger Shrikes, Lanius tigrinus, passing through Bidadari during the month. Frankie Lim photographed one on the 18th.

OHB Seng AlvinAn orientalis OHB over at Pasir Ris Park by Seng Alvin on 16th. We finally got our orientalis Oriental Honey Buzzard, Pernis ptilorhyncus, with one photographed at Pasir Ris Park on 16th by Seng Alvin. An early juvenile Rufous Bellied Eagle, Hieraaetus kienerii,  and a Japanese Sparrowhawk, Accipiter gularis, were photographed from Jelutong Tower on 16th by Francis Yap. Both were first for the season. A migratory Peregrine Falcon was the first for Tuas South as per report from Low Choon How on 26th.

Non-breeding visitors includes three Jambu Fruit Doves, Ptilinopus jambu at Dairy Farm Nature Park feeding on the False Curry Leave Plant on 16th and a sub adult Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo, Hierococcyx fugax, at Upper Seletar Reservoir on 30th (both by Lee Van Hien).

Chestnut-winged Babbler See Toh Dillenia Hut 5.11.15
Hard to see Chestnut-winged Babbler at Dillenia Hut. Photo by See Toh Yew Wai

Residents that are of interest are a Plaintive Cuckoo, Cacomantis merulinus, and a juvenile Rusty-breasted Cuckoo, Cacomantis sepulcralis, being fed by a Malaysian Pied Fantail, Rhipidura javanica, both at Tampines Eco Garden on 1st by Seng Alvin, a calling Red-legged Crake, Rallina fasciata, and a Grey-rumped Treeswift, Hemiprocne longipennis, at Ulu Pandan Canal by Ho Hwa Chew on 14th and Alan OwYong on 15th respectively and a sub adult Mangrove Pitta, Pitta megarhyncha, Sungei Buloh WR on 21st reported by Geoff Lim and photographed by Lim Ser Chai. Lim Kim Keang and Yong Yik Shih came back from Chek Java, Ubin on 21st with a partial shot of what looks like a Black Magpie, Platysmurus leucopterus. This was a former resident but now extinct. The Records Committee will have to deliberate on this sighting. But there was no mistaking the photo of one of our rare flowerpecker, the Yellow-vented Flowerpecker, Dicaeum chrysorrheum, taken by a visiting Ipoh birder Wong Koon Yoke at a fruiting fig at Dairy Farm on the 26th. Many thanks to Subha for this report. We normally had to hike up to the Bukit Timah Summit to look for this species.

Eurasian Curlew LTK
One of the three Eurasian Curlews that was first reported by Ben Lee on 20th. A flight shot by Lee Tiah Khee showing the unmarked under wing coverts.

White-winged Tern Kwee Chang Ling
White-winged Tern at Serangoon Reservoir by Kwee Chang Ling on 26th.

The shorebird sightings was reported in our earlier blog “Of Godwits, Dowitchers and Curlew” with the exception of a Grey Plover, Pluvialis squatarola, in summer plumage seen by Francis Yap and See Toh at P. Ubin on 1st and a late but first arrival White-winged Tern, Chlidonias leucopterus, shot by Kwee Chang Ling over at Serangoon Reservoir on 26th.

Reference: The Avifauna of Singapore. Lim Kim Seng 2009. A field Guide to the Birds of Thailand and South-east Asia, Craig Robson 2000. Edited by Francis Yap. The above records are taken from the various bird FB groups. pages, reports and forums. Many thanks for your postings. Many thanks to Lee Tiah Khee, See Toh Yew Wai, Alan Ng, Wong Koon Yoke, Kwee Chang Ling, Seng Alvin and Frankie Lim for the use of the photographs.

Singapore Bird Report – June 2015

Rescued White-tailed Tropicbird from Tuas (Photograph courtesy of ACRES)

Rescued White-tailed Tropicbird from Tuas.  (Photograph courtesy of ACRES)

We all were expecting another quiet month when Yong Ding Li dropped a bombshell on 22nd. He reported that ACRES had retrieved a White-tailed Tropicbird, Phaethon Lepturus, from Pioneer Sector at Tuas. This will our very first record of an identified tropicbird in Singapore. From the yellowish wash in the plumage this is the Fulvus form. The Record’s Committee will be deliberating on its status and decide on its inclusion into the Checklist. There were two unidentified records of tropicbirds previously. One bird seen flying off Seletar on 11 December 1963 off (MBR 1964) and another in 1986 by Tan Gim Cheong off Serangoon Estuary. The nearest breeding colony is at the Cocos-Keeling and Christmas Islands.

Black-winged Flycatchershrike Wolfgang

The other big find for the month was a Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike, Hemipus hirundinaceus, photographed by a visiting German birdwatcher Wolfgang Kraemer, at Chek Java, P. Ubin on the 28th. This is our second record following Francis Yap’s sighting at the Jelutong Towers on 23 August 2013. This species was previously listed in Category F: Doubtful species because of mis-identification, but have since ungraded to Category A and added in the 2013 Checklist. Efforts to find this flycatchershrike two days later was not rewarded.

Oriental Darter Cherry Goh

The Oriental Darter captured by Cherry Goh at the Pekan Quarry on 2nd Ubin Day.

The migrants reported this month include a Black Bittern Ixobrychus flavicollis at SBWR on 1st (Andy Dinesh). During Ubin Day an Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster, made a surprised appearance at the Pekan Quarry. It was first seen there by John Ascher sometime in April (per con Andy Dinesh). This Darter was first reported at Ketam Quarry co-incidentally during the first Ubin Day on 30th October 2014. It is not in our current checklist but these sightings will strengthen its inclusion. There were two sightings of the Oriental Honey Buzzards, Pernis ptilorthyncus, one a juvenile at the Botanic Gardens on 18th by Tan Eng Boo and the other a second year bird over at Dempsey Hill on 20th by Sampath Ah. Both are summering and will only return north next spring.

Blue-eared KF Wolfgang

A rare find for Pulau Ubin of a Blue-eared KingFisher by Wolfgang Kraemer.

Non-breeding visitors reported were a Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx fugax, at the Kranji Park on 13th by Sampath Ah and the Cinereous Bulbul Hermixos flavala,at Chek Java on 28th by Wolfgang Kraemer. Wolfgang also photographed our forest Blue-eared Kingfisher, Alcedo meninting, there showing how this once Central Catchment species have spread. Choo Chong Teck showed us a photo of a Chrysococcyx cuckoo taken at the Tampines Mountain Bike Trail on 27th. It turned out to be another Horsfield Bronze Cuckoos Chrysococcyx basalis, at a new location. The Austral cuckoos at Punggol Barat were still wintering there as of the 28th based on reports from See Toh Wai Yew.

Grey-headed Fish-eagle David Awcock 2

Fishing Grey-headed Fish-eagle caught by David Awcock at the Swan Lake.

The resident Grey-headed Fish-eagles, Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus, were keeping the photographers busy with their daily fishing antics at the Singapore Botanic Garden’s Swan Lake. They were first videoed by Jeremiah Loei on 10th. A pair of Buffy Fish Owls Ketupa ketupu, were roosting at the Rain Forest section of the gardens (Zacc HD 13th). They were first spotted at the Gardens by Richard White last month on 8th May. We think that they may have been flushed out from the Tyersall side due to the construction of the new extension to the gardens.

The once rare Crested Goshawks Accipiter trivirgatus, are now being seen more often. Seng Alvin photographed a second year bird in flight over at Pasir Ris Park on 10th with another photographed at Ang Mo Kio Park by Audrey Ngo on 7th. Jia Wei Woo was delighted to have captured a Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus flying over at the Swan Lake on 27th. It was the resident ernesti race.

Other notable records were an Asian Drongo-Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris, photographed at the Dillenia Hut by Vincent Lao on 28th. This should to be our resident subspecies barussarum. A pair of Plaintive Cuckoos, Cacomantis merulinus were photographed at Punggol Barat on 23rd by Liz How. We usually get to see single bird of this species. From the sightings this month, it is evident that we cannot slack off for any periods if we are to keep track of the rarities.

Reference: Avifauna of Singapore. Lim Kim Seng. 2009. A field Guide to the Birds of Thailand and South-east Asia. Craig Robson Asia Books Ltd.2000. Field Guide to the Birds of Australia. Simpson and Day, Edited by Francis Yap and Yong Ding Li. The above records are taken from the various bird FB groups. pages, reports and forums.  Many thanks for your postings. Many thanks to ACRES, Wolfgang Kraemer, David Awcock and Cherry Goh for the use of the photographs.

When do the Hawk Cuckoos visit Singapore? By Alan OwYong and Yong Ding Li.

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Large Hawk Cuckoo 

Hawk Cuckoos are so named due to their resemblance to Accipiter hawks. We have three species of Hawk Cuckoos visiting our woodlands. Two species, namely the Large and Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoos are migrants while one, the Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo is a non-breeding visitor after the split by King (2002). There is no evidence for the occurrence of the Northern Hawk Cuckoo, although it may occur here as a rare vagrant.

Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo

Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo

The Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx fugax is aptly named after the split as it is a resident of Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo. Due to our proximity to Peninsular Malaysia, we have records of this cuckoo in Singapore from June to April, inferred from old records of “Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoos” during the period which migratory Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo are not suppose to occur. It is quite obvious to find them here at mid year due to post breeding dispersal. Last year the first arrivals were on 22nd August at Bishan Park (discovered by Christina See) followed by another on 24th September at Jurong Lake (Lim Kim Keang). Two late stayers were recorded on 9th March at SICC and 13th April at Bidadari. In 2013, the first three records were in August, 24th at Upper Pierce ( Bill Heng), 26th at Venus Loop (Lim Kim Seng) and 28th at Bidadari ( Tan Wee Eng).

Hodgson's Hawk Cuckoo

Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo.

The migratory Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx nisiolor from subtropical Asia is a rare winter visitor and passage migrant to Singapore. It also winters in Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo. We normally get to see them by middle of November, with some individuals staying up to March. Interestingly we get more juvenile birds than full adults. Last year, the three earliest records were all in November, the first on 8th at Bidadari (Aldwin Recinto) followed by one on 15th at SBWR (Lim Kim Keang) and lastly on 22nd at Tuas ( Lim Kim Seng & Alan OwYong). However in 2013 we had two very early records both in October. The 14th October sighting at Bidadari by Leslie Fung and Vincent Ng set a new early date by more than a month. This was followed by another sighting on 19th October at Kranji Marshes by Lim Kim Seng. The November sighting was on 14th at Bidadari by Henry Koh and Leslie Fung.

The larger ranged Large Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx sparverioides was not recorded in Singapore until 23th February 1984 at Ulu Sembawang by Lim Kim Seng. (MBR 1894-1985 LKS pers obs). Past records suggest first arrivals by the earlier half of November. Last year we registered the first sighting only on the 15th December at Bidadari (Frankie Lim & Alan OwYong). In 2013 the first record was on 10th December at Bidadari (Zacc HD). Both the Large and Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoos’ status as a rare winter visitor and passage migrant may have to be reviewed due to the increased frequency of sightings in the past years.

All three Hawk Cuckoos spent a considerable part of theirtime feeding at Bidadari as seen from the sighting records, and may be show high site-fidelity. When Bidadari gives way to housing development later this year, we will have to look harder elsewhere to find these Hawk Cuckoos to monitor their status and study them.

(Note: These records were taken from postings in varies birding and personal facebook pages and internet forums. There may be other postings that we missed which may give early arrival dates.)

Reference:

Yong Ding Li 2008 Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo, A Birder’s Headache.

The Avifauna of Singapore. Lim Kim Seng 2009

A Field Guide to the Birds of Thailand and South-East Asia.Craig Robson 2000.

A Photo Guide to the ID of Malaysian & Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo. Con Foley.