Tag Archives: Pheasant-tailed Jacana

Singapore Bird Report – May 2021

IPH, 020521, Bedok Canal, Herman Phua

Indian Pond Heron, Bedok canal, 2 May 2021, by Herman Phua

May 2021 – most of the migrants have departed. A rare Pheasant-tailed Jacana flying to the north was photographed at Pasir Ris Park on 12 May 2021 by W K Ang. The Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii at Dover Road stayed till 8 May 2021 (Russell Boyman), while another individual at Bedok canal stayed till 13 May 2021 (Max Khoo).

For the cuckoos, a Chestnut-winged Cuckoo Clamator coromandus was photographed at Thomson Nature Park on 6 May 2021 by Norman Wu; a Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx nisicolor reported at Changi Business Park on 8 May 2021 by Lim Kim Keang; and an Indian Cuckoo Cuculus micropterus at Pasir Ris Park on 14 May 2021, by Oliver Tan.

A Black-browed Reed Warbler Acrocephalus bistrigiceps and an Oriental Reed Warbler Acrocephalus orientalis were recorded at Gardens by the Bay on 15 May 2021 by Kaeden Sim. On 8 May 2021, Low Chong Yang photographed a Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler Locustella certhiola, and on 16 May 2021, Yip Jen Wei recorded another at Kranji Marsh.

At Sembawang beach on 3 May 2021, an immature Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus was photographed by Steven Cheong. An unfortunate Hooded Pitta Pitta sordida was found dead at Chestnut Avenue on 5 May 2021, by Troy. On 9 May 2021, Betty Shaw recorded a Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus at Bukit Panjang Link, and the wintering Grey Nightjar Caprimulgus jotaka at Hampstead wetlands was still around (Max Cheo). An Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia with long breeding plumes was photographed at Ulu Pandan on 20 May 2021 by Olga Lipunova.

Intermediate Egret, 200521, Ulu Pandan, Olga Lipunova on BICA

Intermediate Egret, showing long breeding plumes, Ulu Pandan, 20 May 2021, by Olga Lipunova

At the Central Forests and its fringes, an adult Barred Eagle Owl Bubo sumatranus was photographed at Rifle Rang Link on 13 May 2021 by Lam SG; at Jelutong Tower on 8 May 2021, a Cream-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus simplex and a Van Hasselt’s Sunbird Leptocoma brasiliana were recorded by Norvin Ng; at Mandai Track 7 on 2 May 2021, Tan Yes Chong recorded a Red-crowned Barbet Psilopogon rafflesii and a Chestnut-bellied Malkoha Phaenicophaeus sumatranus, and on 16 May 2021, Russell Boyman recorded 6 Chestnut-winged babblers Cyanoderma erythropterum. At Windsor Nature Park, Alex Fok found the Blue-rumped Parrot Psittinus cyanurus feasting on the starfruits on 1 May 2021, and for several days after, at least until 11 May 2021, as noted by Gerald Lim. At Dairy Farm Nature Park on 2 May 2021, Norvin Ng encountered three Rufous-tailed Tailorbirds Orthotomus sericeus.

BR Parrot, posted 110521, Windsor NP, Gerald KC Lim

Blue-rumped Parrot, male, Windsor Nature Park, 11 May 2021, by Gerald KC Lim

At Turut Track, a Savanna Nightjar Caprimulgus affinis was photographed on 8 May 2021, and three Greater Painted Snipes Rostratula benghalensis were photographed on 9 May 2021, both by Norvin Ng. Towards the south, Gilbert Lee photographed three Lesser Whistling Ducks Dendrocygna javanica at Satay by the Bay on 4 May 2021, and Ray Ng saw many Little Terns Sternula albifrons at Marina Barrage on 1 May 2021. At Pasir Ris Park, the Mangrove Pitta Pitta megarhyncha was still around on 4 May 2021 (David Kow), and the Sunda Scops Owl was also detected on 12 May 2021 (Erwin Foo).

Elsewhere, a Great-billed Heron Ardea sumatrana was photographed at Sembawang beach near PAssion Wave on 1 May 2021 by Benjamin Seah; a male Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus was recorded at Eco Lake, Botanic Gardens on 1 May 2021 by Andrew H.; and a White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata visited the terraces at Telok Blangah Hill Park on 2 May 2021 (Khoo MeiLin). On 11 May 2021 at Jurong Lake Gardens, Jade Neo photographed an Oriental Pied Hornbill Anthracoceros albirostris holding a naked chick in its beak (this is quite common as the hornbill is a prolific nest raider). At the park connector along Hougang Avenue 7 on 22 May 2021, a handsome male Mandarin Duck Aix galericulata with a ring on its left leg (escapee) showed up, photographed by Danny Khoo.

Parasitic Jaeger, 080521, port limits, Norhafiani A Majid

Parasitic Jaeger, pelagic off east coast within port limits, 8 May 2021, by Norhafiani A. Majid

During a pelagic trip conducted off the east coast, within port limits, on 2 May 2021, Francis Yap recorded a Common Tern Sterna hirundo. On another similar trip on 8 May 2021, Herman Phua photographed a Parasitic Jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus.

Lau Jia Sheng spent three weekend sessions at Kusu Island watching distant seabirds. He reported six Short-tailed Shearwaters Ardenna tenuirostris on 16 May 2021; 23 Swinhoe’s Storm Petrel Oceanodroma monorhis on 16 May 2021, and 41 individuals on 22 May 2021; ten Bridled Terns Onychoprion anaethetus on 22 May 2021, and nine individuals on 29 May 2021.

Bridled Tern, 080521, port limits, Herman Phua, crop

Bridled Tern, pelagic off east coast within port limits, 8 May 2021, by Herman Phua

Breeding records

At Pasir Ris Park on 1 May 2021, a Spotted Wood Owl Strix seloputo chick that landed on the ground managed to climb back up the tree on its own effort, reported by George Koh. Alan Chew reported 4 owls in total, 2 adults and 2 fledglings.

At Whampoa, a Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot Loriculus galgulus was photographed outside a treehole on 14 May 2021 by Gilbert. In the vicinity of Hampstead Wetlands on 3 May 2021, Joe KS photographed a pair of Oriental Pied Hornbills Anthracoceros albirostris checking out the abandoned tree hole, with the female entering the hole, but they apparently decided not to use it. On 1 May 2021, Jeremiah Loei reported that the female hornbill at Newton Food Centre had broken out of the nest hole, and suspected another nesting failure.

The pair of Collared Kingfishers Todiramphus chloris which successfully raised three chicks at Pasir Ris Park in April was observed mating on 3 May 2021 by Alan Chew. At Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park on 1 May 2021, Max Cheo saw a Purple Heron Ardea purpurea flying with a stick in its beak. A pair of Copper-throated Sunbirds Leptocoma calcostetha were attending to their nest at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR) on 14 May 2021, by Anthony L; and the nest of a pair of Yellow-bellied Prinias Prinia flaviventris at Punggol Barat held three eggs on 28 May 2021, by Keith Hutton. At the eastern end of Yishun Dam, Keith Hutton found a Striated Heron Butorides striata sitting on its nest on 28 May 2021.

BN Tern, 050521, PRP east end, Wong Sangmen

Black-naped Terns, about to mate, Pasir Ris Park, 5 May 2021, by Wong Sangmen

Near Sophia Residence on 3 May 2021, Eric Tan found a Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus goiavier nest with two young chicks. At Dairy Farm Nature Park on 25 May 2021, Tan Boon Tiong saw the Swinhoe’s White-eye Zosterops simplex feeding its fledgling; and at Ulu Pandan on 28 May 2021, Kelvin Ng photographed a Little Bronze Cuckoo Chrysococcyx minutillus in a nest being fed by a Golden-bellied Gerygone Gerygone sulphurea.

At SBWR, Alex Low found a nest of the Ashy Tailorbird Orthotomus ruficeps which held three chicks. He reported that an Oriental Whip Snake was warded off by, interestingly, by a sunbird, and the next day, an Abbott’s Babbler grabbed one chick and dropped it on the ground. The chick was rescued and put back into the nest, but two days later, Alex found the nest empty and abandoned.

At the eastern end of Pasir Ris Park, several Black-naped Terns Sterna sumatrana frequented the offshore buoy. On 4 May 2021, Keith Hutton observed courtship feeding and mating. Mating was also observed on 5 May 2021 and 15 May 2021 by Wong Sangmen. On 8 May 2021, there was at least one chick, photographed by Yeong WaiKai. The terns were also breeding at their traditional site, the nearby Loyang Rock, also known as Squance Rock, observed by various birders.

For the escapees, Janssen Tan saw a male Golden-backed Weaver Ploceus jacksoni flying with a blade of grass at Neo Tiew area on 8 May 2021, and Tan CY photographed a pair mating on 9 May 2021; at Halus Wetlands on 20 May 2021,  Avadi L Parimalam photographed a Black-headed Weaver Ploceus melanocephalus in the early stages of nestbuilding.

This report is compiled by Tan Gim Cheong, assisted by Geoff Lim. 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 Herman Phua, Olga Lipunova, Gerald KC Lim, Norhafiani A. Majid, and Wong Sangmen for allowing us to use their photographs.

Singapore Bird Report – December 2020

Gadwall, 041220, SBWR H1D, TGC 2

Gadwall, our 2nd record, one of five birds at SBWR Hide 1D pond, 4 Dec 2020, by Tan Gim Cheong

December 2020 heralded two amazing records of migrants. The first was the appearance of five Gadwalls Mareca strepera after 31 years! This being the second time that the Gadwall was recorded in Singapore, the ducks were seen at SBWR Hide 1D on 4 Dec 2020 afternoon by Daniel Loh, who graciously shared his sighting with Pary Sivaraman, who kindly spread the news. The other amazing record was that of a Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula also only the second record of the species in Singapore, after a break of 21 years, photographed at the pond at Marsiling Park on 12 Dec 2020 by Derrick Wong.

Tufted Duck, 121220, Marsiling Park, Derrick Wong, same 3

Tufted Duck, our 2nd record, Marsiling Park, 12 Dec 2020, by Derrick Wong

Next up was the 4th record of the Narcissus Flycatcher Ficedula narcissina at the Healing Garden section of the Botanic Gardens on 2 Dec 2020 by Vincent Lee. Notably, this was the first male of the species to be recorded in Singapore and it was present at the Healing Garden from 2 to 6 Dec 2020, seen and photographed by many birders. The Healing Garden also hosted a juvenile Ferruginous Flycatcher Muscicapa ferruginea on 2 Dec 2020, recorded by many birders including Albert Low.

Narcissus FC male, 031220, Healing Gdn, TGC, crop

Narcissus Flycatcher, male, Healing Garden, SBG, 3 Dec 2020, by Tan Gim Cheong

The rare Grey-headed Lapwing Vallenus cinereus at Marina East Drive, recorded on the last day of November 2020, was present on various days through December, seen and photographed by many birders, such as Tay Kian Guan on 1 Dec 2020 and John Marriott on 31 Dec 2020.

GHLW, 031220, MED, TGC, crop

Grey-headed Lapwing, Marina East Drive, 3 Dec 2020, by Tan Gim Cheong

Another rarity, the Pheasant-tailed Jacana Hydrophasianus chirurgus was found hiding in the flooded vegetation at the grassland along Marina East Drive on the evening of 4 Dec 2020 by Khoo Meilin, Esther Ong and Kwok Tuck Loong. The Jacana was present for the next two days from 5-6 Dec 2020.

PT Jacana, 051220, MED, Norhafiani A Majid

Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Marina East Drive, 5 Dec 2020, by Norhafiani A. Majid

At the partly flooded grassland along Marina East Drive, an Intermediate Egret Ardea intermedia caught a mouse/rat on 5 Dec 2020, photographed by Zacc HD; a Greater Painted Snipe Rostratula benghalensis with 3 chicks were seen on 6 Dec 2020 by Soumen M; a Lesser Whistling Duck Dendrocygna javanica family with 9 ducklings were recorded on 26 Dec 2020 by Herman Phua; a Watercock Gallicrex cinerea on 31 Dec 2020 by Gabriel Koh; a Baillon’s Crake Zapornia pusilla on 20 Dec 2020 by Kwok Tuck Loong, Esther Ong & Khoo MeiLin, present till 30 Dec 2020. Another Baillon’s Crake was recorded at Neo Tiew Harvest Lane (NTHL) on 26 Dec 2020 by Raghav Narayanswamy and on 27 Dec 2020 by Tan Kok Hui.

LWD, 261220, MED, Herman, with 9 ducklings

Lesser Whistling Duck family, Marina East Drive, 26 Dec 2020, by Herman Phua

Other birds recorded at NTHL included a Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus on 6 Dec 2020 by Mike Hooper; and the single Sand Martin Riparia riparia noted in November 2020 was still around on 1, 5 and 6 Dec 2020 (Krishna G, Yip Jen Wei and Jeff Tan respectively), and was joined by another individual from 24 to 27 Dec 2020 on 24, 25 and 27 Dec 2020 as noted by Francis Yap, Benjamin Naden and Rob Arnold respectively. At the nearby Kranji Marsh, 8 Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus were recorded on 31 Dec 2020 by Martti Siponen.

Siberian Thrush, 091220, DFNP, TGC, crop

Siberian Thrush, adult male, Dairy Farm Nature Park, 9 Dec 2020, by Tan Gim Cheong

At Dairy Farm Nature Park, a juvenile Malayan Night Heron Gorsachius melanolophus was photographed on 2 Dec 2020 by Dennis; an adult male Siberian Thrush Geokichla sibirica photographed on 8 Dec 2020 by Joy Kutty, and present till 11 Dec 2020; a male Mugimaki Flycatcher Ficedula Mugimakion 9 Dec 2020 by Wong Chung Cheong; a Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx fugax on 29 Dec 2020 by Oliver Tan. There was also a juvenile Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis of the migrant diffusus subspecies on 31 Dec 2020, photographed by Tan Hong Kim. The diffusus Black-naped Oriole is a known winter visitor, but in the field, little attention has been paid to subspecies of this otherwise common bird which has a large resident population.

BNO diffussus, 311220, DFNP, Tan Hong Kim, crop

Black-naped Oriole, juvenile migrant diffusus subspecies, (note the white belly, yellow in resident maculatus) Dairy Farm Nature Park, 31 Dec 2020, by Tan Hong Kim

At Pasir Ris Park, a Black Bittern Ixobrychus flavicollis was recorded behind the toilet of car park B on 13 Dec 2020 by Nasir M; a Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx nisicolor on 13 Dec 2020 by Valli Nalla; a Von Schrenck’s Bittern Ixobrychus  eurhythmus in the mangroves on 17 Dec 2020 by Oliver Tan; and the Mangrove Pitta Pitta megarhynca on 30 Dec 2020 by William Chong

At Changi Business Park, an Eyebrowed Thrush Turdus obscurus was recorded on 8 Dec 2020 by James Wong; a Large Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx sparveroides on 17 Dec 2020 by Felix Wong; and an adult male Blue-and-White Flycatcher Cyanoptila cyanomelana on 26 Dec 2020 by Lee Yin Mun.

The Yellow-browed Warbler Phylloscopus inornatus was recorded at Changi Business Park on 11 Dec 2020 by Tan Gim Cheong, at Dover Rise on 31 Dec 2020 by Jonathan Lin, and at Sentosa Skywalk on 31 Dec 2020 by Wilson Chua.

YB Warbler, posted 311220, Sentosa skybridge, AOY

Yellow-browed Warbler, Sentosa Skywalk, 31 Dec 2020, by Alan OwYong

At Jurong Lake Gardens, a Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu was recorded on 4 Dec 2020 by Kok M Lee; a Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus on 6 Dec 2020 by Tay Kian Guan; and a Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis apparently carrying food, on 31 Dec 2020 by John Paul Briones.

Chestnut-cheeked Starling, 041220, The Grandstand, Alfred Chia, crop

Chestnut-cheeked Starling, The Grandstand vicinity, 4 Dec 2020, by Alfred Chia

Elsewhere, a rare Chestnut-cheeked Starling Agropsar philippensis was picked out from a flock of Daurian Starlings Agropsar sturninus at The Grandstand on 4 Dec 2020 by Alan OwYong and photographed by Alfred Chia; a Slaty-breasted Rail Lewinia striata apparently was nesting in the vicinity of The Grandstand, returning to the same patch of grass where chicks could be heard on 4 Dec 2020 by Tan Gim Cheong; 150 Grey Wagtails Motacilla cinerea were reported by Krishna G. at the Yishun Street 11 roost on 7 Dec 2020; an injured Grey Nightjar Caprimulgus jotaka at Raffles Place MRT on 9 Dec 2020 was reported by Ashley Ng; a tired Hooded Pitta Pitta sordida at Bukit Merah on 11 Dec 2020 was reported by Grace Ho; a Great-billed Heron Ardea sumatrana at West Coast Park on 11 Dec 2020 was reported by Dave Koh; the Pied Bushchat Saxicola caprata was still at Holland Plain on 21 Dec 2020, by Andy Chew.

Gadwall, 041220, SBWR H1D, TGC 5 birds

Gadwalls, the five birds that visited SBWR Hide 1D pond, 4 Dec 2020, by Tan Gim Cheong

This report is compiled by Tan Gim Cheong, assisted by Geoff Lim. 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 Derrick Wong, Norhafiani A. Majid, Herman Phua, Tan Hong Kim, Alan OwYong and Alfred Chia for allowing us to use their photographs

Feeding behaviour of Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Hydrophasianus chirurgus.

Feeding behaviour of Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Hydrophasianus chirurgus.

By Amar-Singh HSS.

Location: Wetlands, Perak, Malaysia

Habitat: Extensive ex-tin mining area with pond/lakes, wetlands

Date: 17th February 2020.

Pheasant-tailed Jacana-2a-Wetlands, Perak, Malaysia-17th February 2020

Some colleagues mentioned a group of Pheasant-tailed Jacana at a wetlands site (at least 5 birds present) and I visited to observe feeding behaviour. One common feeding method is to swim in open water and pick prey from the water surface, especially from floating vegetation; what is actually taken is uncertain. Most sources say their diet consists of insects, molluscs, other invertebrates. I observed them for a 1.5 hours and saw (with video) many such feeding episodes but all I could see taken (even with video grab images) was plant material – the opinion is that aquatic vegetation is ingested accidentally/incidentally while feeding on animal prey (see HBW 2020). It is possible that they feed on a large number of small insects and invertebrates on the water surface. I saw some competitive feeding between the birds (defending their stretch of water) but this was not common; they could also feed communally. A video of feeding behaviour is here: https://youtu.be/dVTE0MfrHgk

Jenni, D.A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Pheasant-tailed Jacana (Hydrophasianus chirurgus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.

Singapore Bird Report – May 2019

by Geoff Lim, Alan Owyong (compiler), Tan Gim Cheong (ed.)

Undoubtedly the mega-sighting for the month of May was the rare Pheasant-tailed Jacana at Satay by the Bay, followed closely by the Buff-rumped Woodpecker on Pulau Ubin. This month also marks the tail end of the spring migration as our winter visitors make their way back to their breeding ground. Reports of resident species begin to dominate the scene as we reach the middle of the year.

Lily-trotter in an Urban Lily Pond

On 5 May 2019, a Pheasant-tailed Jacana Hydrophasianus chirurgus flew over the lily pond around 8am at Satay by the Bay, alighted briefly on the plants, before taking off again into the skies.

1. PT Jacana, 050519, SBTB, Siew Mun

Pheasant-tailed Jacana at Satay by the Bay on 5 May 2019; photo taken by Siew Mun

Pheasant-tailed Jacanas are distributed across the Indian sub-continent, southern China, Myanmar, Thailand, the Mekong delta to the Philippines. Some northern population migrate and may winter as far as Yemen and the Greater Sundas islands; vagrants may even occur in Australia. The species is a non-breeding visitor in the Malay peninsula, preferring freshwater wetlands covered by water hyacinth and water lilies (Wells 1999: 267-268).

In recent years, records of this species remain sparse, with one recorded on 10 December 2016 at Kranji Marsh by Veronica Foo, and another on 15 May 2017 at Hindhede Quarry by Martin Kennewell, who spotted the bird while digiscoping.

Assessed by IUCN to be of Least Concern, the species is, however, on the decrease (IUCN, 2019).

2. PT Jacana, 050519, SBTB, Siew Mun

Pheasant-tailed Jacana flying over Satay by the Bay on 5 May 2019; photo taken by Siew Mun


3. PT Jacana, 050519, SBTB, Siew Mun

Pheasant-tailed Jacana flying around the lily pond within Satay by the Bay on 5 May 2019; photo taken by Siew Mun

Central Catchment Nature Reserve, BTNR, DFNP

Emerald Dove, 010519, DFNP, Terence Tan

A Common Emerald Dove at DFNP on 1 May 2019. Photographed by Terence Tan.

As the year progresses towards the half-way mark, only a handful of migrants/ non-breeding visitors remain. A Dark-sided Flycatcher Muscicapa sibirica was spotted on 4 May 2019 at Dairy Farm Nature Park by Goh Zai Fa, while a singing Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx fugax was spotted on 12 May 2019 within the grounds of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (BTNR) by Martin Kennewell.

Due to its accessibility and presence of good rainforest birds, Dairy Farm Nature Park attracted many birders and photographers during this month. A Common Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica was spotted on 1 May 2019 by Terence Tan, while an ensemble of Asian Fairy Bluebird Irena puella, Black-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus atriceps, Little Spiderhunter Arachnothera longirostra and Red-crowned Barbet Megalaima rafflesii were spotted on 4 May 2019 by K. Saravanan, Goh Zai Fa, and Khoo MeiLin. Over the ensuing days, two species of Leafbirds were seen – the Blue-winged Leafbird Chloropsis cochinchinensis was spotted on 5, 10 18 and 20 May 2019 by Art Toh, Vincent Chin, Herman Phua, and See Toh Yew Wai; while a Greater Green Leafbird Chloropsis sonnerati was seen on 12 May 2019 by Teo Lay Chong. A juvenile Red-crowned Barbet was also seen on 14 May 2019 by Julie Wee.

RCB, 140519, DFNP, Julie Wee

Juvenile Red-crowned Barbet spotted on 14 May 2019 by Julie Wee.

Other species reported were a Banded Woodpecker Chrysophlegma miniaceum seen on 6 May 2019 by Steven Lee, a Cream-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus simplex feeding on a mulberry tree and a pair of Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis on 20 May 2019 by Geoff Lim, a Drongo Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris on 30 May 2019 by Oliver Tan, and a Black-crested Bulbul Pycnonotus flaviventris on 31 May 2019 by Alan Owyong.


Greater Green Leafbird on 12 May 2019 by Zhang Licong

Further afield, the combined cries of about 40-50 House Swift Apus nipalensis  captured the attention of Francis Yap on 6 May 2019 at Singapore Quarry. Francis described how he spotted the flock, a rare sighting as the species declined drastically in Singapore over the past 2-3 decades: “I initially saw 1-2 House Swifts and a few Plume-toed Swiftlets. After a short while, I heard something I have not heard in a very long time. A chorus of swift calls from a distance. I looked up I [sic] noticed they were far up and looked like House Swifts. I counted 7-8. A further scan up the treeline at the top of the quarry revealed that there were a whole large flock of them circling around. I think conservatively, there should be about 40-50 of them…”

Up to three Short-tailed Babbler Malacocincla malaccensis were heard within CCNR on 12 May 2019 by Martin Kennewell, while the false coffee tree at Mandai Track 7 started to attract Red-crowned Barbet Megalaima rafflesii – two birds were seen feeding on 18 May 2019 by Francis Yap, who also spotted a Chestnut-winged Babbler Stachyris erythroptera nearby that day. On 19 May 2019, a Drongo Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris was spotted at BTNR by Vincent Lao, while a Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis and a Barred Eagle Owl Bubo sumatrana were spotted at the woods behind Rail Mall by Art Toh.

Drongo Cuckoo, Vincent Lao

Drongo Cuckoo spotted on 19 May 2019 inside BTNR by Vincent Lao

Singapore Botanic Gardens

A House Swift Apus nipalensis was spotted within the Garden grounds on 10 May 2019 by Benson Brighton and Vincent Ng.

House Swift, Benson Brighton

A House Swift flying over SBG on 10 May 2019 by Benson Brighton.

Central Singapore

Eagle-hunters at Goldhill Avenue spotted more than the Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela. While the eagle was seen on 4 and 20 May 2019 by Khoo Meilin and Lim Hong Yao, respectively, a male Tiger Shrike Lanius tigrinus in adult plumage was seen on 1 May 2019 by Francis Yap; another Tiger Shrike was spotted on 17 May 2019 at Fort Canning Park by George Kamov. Birders seeking out sightings at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park noted a heronry of Purple Herons Ardea purpurea numbering about 10 birds on 3 May 2019 (Esther Tan) and White-headed Munia Lonchura maja on 4 May 2019 (Khoo Mei Lin), while a Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu was spotted further away at Bidadari on 8 May 2019 by T. Ramesh.

X Purple Heron, Esther Tan

A heronry occupied by Purple Heron at the Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park on 3 May 2019 by Esther Tan.

The young Blue-crowned Hanging Parrots Loriculus galgulus dwelling in the nest at the Whampoa Market eventually fledged on 13 May 2019 (Ang Siew Siew). Farther away, Little Tern Sternula albifrons were seen fishing at Pelton Canal on 9 May 2019 by Phua Joo Yang, who also spotted a Blue-winged Pitta Pitta moluccensis in the canal around noon on 14 May 2019; the bird was wet and subsequently moved to a shaded area.

BWP, Phua Joo Yang

A wet Blue-winged Pitta spotted inside Pelton Canal on 14 May 2019 by Phua Joo Yang.

On 5 May 2019, David Tan recovered a Thick-billed Pigeon Treron curvirostra that perished after colliding into a building at MacPherson.

TB Pigeo, DAvid Tan

Building collision casualties : Thick-billed Pigeon from MacPherson, photo by David Tan

Northern Singapore

Two noteworthy sightings in the north were of a flock of about 25 Lesser Whistling Duck Dendrocygna javanica on 5 & 6 May 2019 at the Halus area which was reported by Billy Goh, as well as two sightings of Eastern Barn Owl Tyto delicatula on 7 May 2019 at Montreal Drive by Martin Kennewell, Kwok Tuck Loong and Khong Yew, and on 12 May 2019 at Sumang Walk by Wong Chung Cheong.

Barn Owl, STYW

Eastern Barn Owl at Sumang Walk on 12 May 2019 y See Toh Yew Wai.

Some nesting Blue-throated Bee-eater Merops viridis were reported at Punggol End on 6 May 2019 (Geoff Lim), as was a House Swift Apus nipalensis flying over Coney Island, and Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis at the Halus ponds as reported by Oliver Tan; the grebes were spotted at the same location on 25 May 2019 by Martin Kennewell. Barn Owl spotters at Montreal Drive on 7 May 2019 also spotted a male and female Laced Woodpecker Picus vittatus (Kei Yoo) and at least two Long-tailed Parakeet Psittacula longicauda (Kei Yoo).

On 18 May 2019, birder Fadzrun Adnan was driving along the Seletar Expressway when he spotted what he thought was a nocturnal macaque perched on the drain railings. As he came closer, the shape and colour was unmistakeably that of a Barred Eagle Owl Bubo sumatranus under the street light. Due to his being on the expressway, Fadzrun was not able stop his car anywhere to photograph it.

At the end of the month, two sightings of Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus were reported in the north. On 26 May 2019, one bird was spotted at Hougang hawking for bats by Minerva Maria-Sagan, while another bird was found perched outside the window of a HDB flat in Woodlands Street 41 on 30 May 2019 by Effkewkew Yakeru, a first for Woodlands.

During this period, David Tan recovered several casualties that perished from impact with building structures. On 5 May 2019, he collected a Lanceolated Warbler Locustella lanceolata near the Singapore Youth Flying Club. A von Schrenck’s Bittern Ixobrychus eurhythmus survived the collision on the same day at the Youth Flying Club and was reported by Jimmy Tan. One week later, a juvenile Malayan Night Heron Gorsachius melanolophus was collected outside Nex at Serangoon.

Lanceolated Warbler, David Tan

Building collision casualties recovered by David Tan. Top left: Lanceolated Warbler near the Singapore Youth Flying Club

MNH, David Tan

Building collision casualties : Juvenile Malayan Night Heron from NEX at Serangoon (12 May 2019). Photo by David Tan.

Eastern Singapore

Pasir Ris Park (PRP) continued to support a good diversity of bird species. Apart from common garden species, birders and photographers reported the following species over the course of May: a Green Imperial Pigeon Ducula aenea was spotted on 4 May 2019 by Yvo Goossens, as was a Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus on 10 May 2019 by Julie Wee, a Yellow-crested Cockatoo Cacatua sulpurea on 11 May 2019 inside the mangrove broadwalk by Laura Berman, the regular Sunda Scops Owl Otus lempiji on 16 May 2019 by Terence Tan, and a Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting on 25 May 2019 by Lionel Leong, the second record for the park so far.

SSO, Terence Tan

Sunda Scops Owl at Pasir Ris Park photographed by Terence Tan on 16 May 2019.

Pasir Ris Farmway 3 and the adjacent areas also proved to provide refuge for birds: White-headed Munia Lonchura striata were spotted on 1 May 2019 by T. Ramesh, while an extremely skittish Javan Pond Heron Ardeola speciosa was seen foraging for food in the afternoon with egrets in a field on 4 May 2019 by Chen Boon Chong. Another Javan Pond Heron was spotted in the field outside Pasir Ris Camp on 5 May 2019 by Fadzrun Adnan, while a Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus was spotted on 7 May 2019 by Steven Cheong. Farther afield at the Tampines Canal, three more Little Tern Sternula albifrons were spotted on 6 May 2019 by Alvin Seng, after one was seen during the final week of April 2019. One adult Striated Heron Butorides striata was also seen interacting with a juvenile in the canal on 11 May 2019 by Chen Boon Chong.

Pulau Ubin, with its woodlands and mangroves, continued to support a good mix of species. Up to four White-rumped Shama Copsychus malabaricus were reported to be on the island on and around 11 May 2019 (Geoff Lim), while the electrifying news of the sighting of the rare Buff-rumped Woodpecker Meiglyptes tristis gripped the community when one was photographed at Ketam Quarry on 25 May 2019 by Adrian Silas Tay and others. Also seen that day was a Mangrove Whistler Pachycephala cinerea at Ketam by Adrian Silas Tay, as well as a Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela, that was spotted calling over Ketam by Krishna Deepak. The next day, 26 May 2019, Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica and Grey Plover Charadrius squatarola were seen in the distance from Chek Jawa during the low tide by Martin Kennewell and T. Ramesh.

Buff-rumped Woody, AST

The Ubin Buff-rumped Woodpecker photographed on 25 May 2019 by Adrian Silas Tay.

A Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus was found expired at Tampines Street 43 and reported by David Tan. Coincidentally, another Cinnamon Bittern was picked up at this spot on 16 Jan 2018.

Cinnamon Bittern David Tan

A dead Cinnamon Bittern collected from Tampines by David Tan.

Southern Singapore

The park and open space complex comprising Gardens by the Bay (GBTB), Satay by the Bay (SBTB), Bay East, Marina Barrage and Marina East Drive has proven to be a productive area for birds. Apart from the surprise visit by the Pheasant-tailed Jacana featured above, many other species were observed to frequent this area. Three Lesser Whistling Duck Dendrocygna javanica were seen on 1 May 2019 at SBTB by Steven Cheong, as was a Tiger Shrike Lanius tigrinus on 2 May 2019 by Pary Sivaraman, an Asian Glossy Starling Aplonis panayensis consuming a chick it caught on 3 May 2019 and spotted by Brenda Chua LH, Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot Loriculus galgulus and a Ruddy-breasted Crake Porzana fusca on 4 May 2019 by Siew Mun. Other species spotted include a Chestnut Munia Lonchura atricapilla on 5 May 2019 by Peter Lim, an Oriental Reed Warbler Acrocephalus orientalis on 6 May 2019 by Julie Wee, a juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nyticorax on 16 May 2019 by Khoo Meilin, as well as a late-staying Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis on 24 May 2019 by Guo Hui.

LWD, Siew Mun

Lesser Whistling Duck arriving at SBB; photo by Siew Mun.

Within GBTB, an Arctic Warbler Phylloscopus borealis was heard on 9 May 2019 by Veronica Foo, while a pair of Blue-throated Bee-eater Merops viridis were seen mating on 11 May 2019 by TM Ng. A Black-browed Reed-warbler Acrocephalus bistrigiceps was also seen in the garden’s grounds on 21 May 2019 by Wong Chung Cheong; another was spotted in a small reed bed farther afield at Bay East on the same day by Martin Kennewell, as was a white morph Pacific Reef Heron Egretta sacra by Lea Elpa and Martin Kennewell.

At Marina Barrage, a Javan Pond Heron Ardeola speciosa in full adult splendour was seen on 1 May 2019 by Mike Hooper, while a Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrid paid a surprise visit to Marina Bay on 5 May 2019 and was spotted by Choong YT. Visitors to the Marina East shoreline were rewarded by the presence of an Arctic Warbler Phylloscopus borealis and Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus, migrants leaving our shores, on 12 May 2019 (William Mahoney), as were rocky shore residents such as the Pacific Reef Heron Egretta sacra (William Mahoney), and the dimunitive Malaysian Plover Charadrius peronni on 10 and 20 May 2019 by Art Toh and Khoo Meilin, respectively. The grass field adjacent to the rocks harboured a male Greater Painted-Snipe Rostratula benghalensis who successfully defended his three chicks from a mob of House Crow on 18 May 2019 and witnessed by See Toh Yew Wai, as well as an Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia on 29 May 2019 by Steven Chong.


Remarkable photographs of a Greater Painted-Snipe’s spirited defence and hasty retreat at Marina East Drive on 18 May 2019. Photographed by See Toh Yew Wai.



Remarkable photographs of a Greater Painted-Snipe’s spirited defence and hasty retreat at Marina East Drive on 18 May 2019. Photographed by See Toh Yew Wai.

Other reports from the south include a pale morph Pacific Reef Heron on Pulau Buran, one of the southern islands, on 8 May 2019 by John Marriott, a Tiger Shrike on 15 May 2019 at the Telok Blangah Green Carpark on 15 May 2019 by Choong YT, and a Chinese Hwamei Garrulax canorus on Sentosa on 20 May 2019 by Khong Yew.

Western Singapore

During the month of May 2019, birders and photographers concentrated their effort around the Jurong Lake-Chinese-Japanese Garden region, the Kranji-Lim Chu Kang-Neo Tiew axis, and Pandan Canal.

Birders and photographers were drawn to the Jurong Lake area by the arrival of the rarely encountered Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii. First encountered at the end of April 2019, the bird continued to be seen on 1 May 2019, where an adult and a juvenile were seen by many feeding with other pond herons, such as a Javan Pond Heron Ardeola speciosa, in the grass fields adjacent to the East-West MRT line, to 11 May 2019 by Adrian Silas Tay who made the last report of the bird. Other birds included two Black Bittern Dupetor flavicollis flushed from the Japanese Garden ponds on 17 May 2019 and an Arctic Warbler Phylloscopus borealis; both were spotted by Fadzrun Adnan.

IPH, Liz How

Adult Indian Pond Heron at Japanese Garden on 1 May 2019. Photograph by Liz How.

Over at Jurong Gateway, a confiding Slaty-breasted Rail Gallirallus striatus was reported on 5 May 2019 by Sanmen Wong, and subsequently reported on social media until the end of May 2019. On 25 May 2019, a Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela was reportedly seen in overhead flight over Toh Tuck Road by Bijoy Venugopal.

SB Rail, Khong Yew

Slaty-breasted Rail at Jurong Gateway photographed by Khong Yew.

A stone’s throw away from the Jurong Lake district, photographers continued to visit Pandan Canal for bird-in-flight, and fish-in-feet photographs of a resident Grey-headed Fish-eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus. A park user (Krishnan Deepak) reported the presence of an Eastern Crowned Warbler Phylloscopus coronatus on 9 May 2019 along the Ulu Pandan Park Connector. One eagle watcher (Alan Owyong) reported the presence of a dark morph Changeable Hawk-Eagle Nisaetus cirrhatus, Painted Stork Mycteria leucocephala, a Stork-billed Kingfisher Pelargopsis capensis  and a White-headed Munia Lonchura maja on 16 May 2019.

Action around the Kranji hotspot kicked off with a report of two Asian Openbill Anastomus oscitans spotted on 1 May 2019 at Kranji Marsh. Martin Kennewell and Eyzat Amer reported that two were perched in trees, one high while another stayed low; with both birds obscured by vegetation. The duo also reported seeing three Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus, and a high-flying House Swift Apus nipalensis. A Large-billed Crow Corvus splendens, was also seen that day along Turut Track by Pary Sivaraman.  Birders visiting New Tiew Harvest Lane reported a Baillon’s Crake Porzana pusilla (Fadzrun Adnan), and another House Swift (William Mahoney) on 4 May 2019, a Cattle Egret Bubulcus coromandus feeding with two Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia, as well as an Eastern Yellow Wagtail Motacilla tschtschensis on 8 May 2019 (Adriana Dinu). Common Moorhen were also sighted at Lim Chu Kang Avenue 3 on 11 May 2019, along with a juvenile Oriental Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhyncus by Fadzrun Adnan, as was a Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting on 16 May 2019, and a Rusty-breasted Cuckoo Cacomantis sepulcralis on 18 May 2019 at Kranji Marsh by Kelvin Ng Cheng Kwan and Angie Cheong, respectively. A Banded Bay Cuckoo Cacomantis sonneratii was also seen at Turut Track on 16 May 2019 by Kelvin Ng Cheng Kwan. On 20 May 2019, a male Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus was seen at the Kranji Marsh by Martin Kennewell.

RBC, Angie Cheong

Rusty-breasted Cuckoo at Kranji Marsh; photographed by Angie Cheong on 16 May 2019.

The only other notable action in the west outside the three hotspots occurred during Labour Day evening, which saw birders and photographers congregating at Chestnut Avenue to admire a family of three Spotted Wood Owl Strix seloputo roosting in the rain trees above the road. The juvenile was fairly active at nightfall and sported fully developed pinions. It spent the evening clambering and flying from branch to branch within the same tree. The birds continued to be observed over the next few days. An expatriate residing at the area intimated that the owls started nesting in some Bird Nest Fern Asplenium nidus around March 2019 and that the owlet had fallen out from the nest, requiring intervention by ACRES.



Two bands of birdmen visited the Singapore Strait in May 2019. The assembly on 4 May 2019 reported a Lesser Frigatebird Fregata ariel, Short-tailed Shearwater Puffinus tenuirostris, Swinhoe’s Storm Petrel Oceanodroma monorhis, and White-winged Tern Chlidonias hybrida (See Toh Yew Wai, and Adrian Silas Tay), while those who took to the sea on 19 May 2019 reported sighting a Brown Booby Sula leucogaster, two Short-tailed Shearwater, and two Swinhoe’s Storm Petrel (Francis Yap). Note that pelagic sightings might not be in Singapore waters.

Lesser Frigatebird, STYW

Lesser Frigatebird spotted in the Straits of Singapore on 4 May 2019 by See Toh Yew Wai.

ST Shearwater, Fryap

Short-tailed Shearwater in the Straits of Singapore on 19 May 2019 by Francis Yap.

Brown Booby, Fryap

Brown Booby spotted during a pelagic trip in the Singapore Strait on 19 May 2019 by Francis Yap.

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, adding to records compiled by Alan OwYong, and is 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 Siew Mun, Benson Brighton, Julie Wee, Vincent Lao, Esther Tan, David Tan, Phua Joo Yong, Terence Tan, Adrian Silas Tay, Liz How, Khong Yew, Angie Cheong, See Toh Yew Wai, Francis Yap for the use of their photos. 


BirdLife International 2016. Hydrophasianus chirurgusThe IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22693543A93411790. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22693543A93411790.en. Downloaded on 18 June 2019.

Wells, D. R. (1999). The Birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula. London: Academic Press.

List of Species seen:

Family Species Date


Lesser Whistling Duck 1-May-19
Lesser Whistling Duck 2-May-19
Lesser Whistling Duck 5-May-19
Lesser Whistling Duck 11-May-19


Short-tailed Shearwater 4-May-19
Short-tailed Shearwater 19-May-19


Little Grebe 6-May-19
Little Grebe 25-May-19
Ciconiidae Asian Openbill 4-May-19
Painted Stork 16-May-19


Cinnamon Bittern 20-May-19
Cinnamon Bittern 26-May-19
Black Bittern 16-May-19
Black Bittern 17-May-19
Malayan Night Heron 12-May-19
Black-crowned Night Heron 16-May-19
Indian Pond Heron 1-May-19
Indian Pond Heron 2-May-19
Indian Pond Heron 3-May-19
Indian Pond Heron 4-May-19
Indian Pond Heron 5-May-19
Indian Pond Heron 11-May-19
Javan Pond Heron 1-May-19
Javan Pond Heron 2-May-19
Javan Pond Heron 4-May-19
Javan Pond Heron 5-May-19
Eastern Cattle Egret 8-May-19
Purple Heron 3-May-19
Intermediate Egret 29-May-19
Pacific Reef Heron 8-May-19
Pacific Reef Heron 11-May-19
Pacific Reef Heron 12-May-19
Pacific Reef Heron 21-May-19
Fregatidae Lesser Frigatebird 4-May-19
Sulidae Brown Booby 19-May-19
Pandionidae Western Osprey 8-May-19


Oriental Honey Buzzard 11-May-19
Crested Serpent Eagle 4-May-19
Crested Serpent Eagle 20-May-19
Crested Serpent Eagle 25-May-19
Changeable Hawk-Eagle 16-May-19
Crested Goshawk 10-May-19
Crested Goshawk 26-May-19
Crested Goshawk 30-May-19


Slaty-breasted Rail 5-May-19
Slaty-breasted Rail 14-May-19
Baillon’s Crake 4-May-19
Ruddy-breasted Crake 4-May-19
Common Moorhen 1-May-19
Common Moorhen 11-May-19


Grey Plover 26-May-19
Malaysian Plover 10-May-19
Malaysian Plover 20-May-19
Rostratulidae Greater Painted-Snipe 18-May-19
Jacanidae Pheasant-tailed Jacana 5-May-19
Scolopacidae Bar-tailed Godwit 26-May-19


Little Tern 6-May-19
Little Tern 9-May-19


Common Emerald Dove 1-May-19
Jambu Fruit Dove 8-May-19
Green Imperial Pigeon 4-May-19


Greater Coucal 19-May-19
Greater Coucal 20-May-19
Banded Bay Cuckoo 16-May-19
Rusty-breasted Cuckoo 18-May-19
Drongo Cuckoo 19-May-19
Drongo Cuckoo 30-May-19
Malaysian Hawk-Cuckoo 12-May-19


Eastern Barn Owl 5-May-19
Eastern Barn Owl 7-May-19
Eastern Barn Owl 12-May-19
Eastern Barn Owl 18-May-19
Eastern Barn Owl 19-May-19


Spotted Wood Owl 1-May-19
Spotted Wood Owl 2-May-19


House Swift 1-May-19
House Swift 4-May-19
House Swift 10-May-19


Blue-eared Kingfisher 16-May-19
Blue-eared Kingfisher 25-May-19
Common Kingfisher 17-May-19
Common Kingfisher 24-May-19


Blue-throated Bee-eater 6-May-19
Blue-throated Bee-eater 11-May-19


Red-crowned Barbet 4-May-19
Red-crowned Barbet 14-May-19
Red-crowned Barbet 18-May-19
Red-crowned Barbet 21-May-19


Banded Woodpecker 6-May-19
Laced Woodpecker 7-May-19
Laced Woodpecker 10-May-19
Buff-rumped Woodpecker 25-May-19
Buff-rumped Woodpecker 26-May-19


Long-tailed Parakeet 7-May-19
Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot 4-May-19
Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot 13-May-19
Pittidae Blue-winged Pitta 14-May-19
Pachycephalidae Mangrove Whistler 25-May-19


Brown Shrike 7-May-19
Brown Shrike 12-May-19
Corvidae Large-billed Crow 1-May-19


Black-headed Bulbul 4-May-19
Black-crested Bulbul 31-May-19
Red-whiskered bulbul 25-May-19
Cream-vented Bulbul 20-May-19


Arctic Warbler 9-May-19
Arctic Warbler 12-May-19
Arctic Warbler 17-May-19
Eastern Crowned Warbler 9-May-19


Oriental Reed Warbler 2-May-19
Oriental Reed Warbler 6-May-19
Black-browed Reed Warbler 21-May-19
Black-browed Reed Warbler 21-May-19
Locustellidae Lanceolated Warbler 5-May-19


Chestnut-winged Babbler 18-May-19
Chestnut-winged Babbler 19-May-19
Chestnut-winged Babbler 20-May-19
Pellorneidae Short-tailed Babbler 12-May-19
Leiothrichidae Chinese Hwamei 20-May-19
Irenidae Asian Fairy-Bluebird 3-May-19
Sturnidae Asian Glossy Starling 1-May-19
Muscicapidae Dark-sided Flycatcher 4-May-19


Greater Green Leafbird 12-May-19
Blue-winged Leafbird 5-May-19
Blue-winged Leafbird 10-May-19
Blue-winged Leafbird 18-May-19
Blue-winged Leafbird 20-May-19
Nectariniidae Little Spiderhunter 4-May-19


Chestnut Munia 5-May-19
Chestnut Munia 6-May-19
Chestnut Munia 16-May-19
Motacillidae Eastern Yellow Wagtail 8-May-19

Singapore Bird Report-May 2017

May turned out to be pretty interesting month. Martin Kennewell was birding at the Hindhede Quarry on the 15th evening when he scoped a resting Pheasant-tailed Jacana  Hydrophasianus chirurgus.  This rare winter visitor must have been forced down by a thunderstorm earlier. This is one day earlier than the last recorded departure date. Francis Yap timed his visit to Seletar Grasslands to perfection when he found the Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoo Chrysococcyx basalis, a summer migrant from Australia, perched among the scrubs on 27th. Lim Kim Keang saw it again the next day.  For an encore Francis photographed one of the few surviving Lesser Green Leafbirds Chloropsis cyanopogon, a male  from Jelutong Tower on 17th. This is the rarest of our three leafbird species.

Lesser Green Leafbird FYap

A rare photograph of a Lesser Green Leafbird taken from Jelutong Tower by Francis Yap

Sharindar Singh and his friend Ramesh Nadarajan reported a Mangrove Blue Flycatcher Cyornis rufigastra at Lorong Halus on 13th. If accepted this rare resident will be our fifth mainland record. Their stronghold is at Pulau Tekong although we have been getting periodic records from Chek Jawa at Pulau Ubin. Tony Greer was on his way to Batam when he saw a shearwater flying alongside his ferry near Sister’s Island. Unfortunately the gloomy weather hampered the identification.

Bulwer's Petrel Jiasheng

On the 6th, a third Bulwer’s Petrel Bulweria bulwerii was reported at the Straits of Singapore, a multi-national stretch of water, south of the Eastern Anchorage (pers com with Lau Jiasheng).

Left: Lau Jiasheng’s photo of Bulwer’s Petrel taken at the Straits of Singapore.

There were a host of over-stayers this month. Topping the list was a Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis photographed on 13th by Piyong and Looi Ang Soh Hoon. Siew Mun heard it calling a week earlier. This is 40 days later than the previous late date of 3rd April.

CK Soh Hoon

This Common Kingfisher was in no hurry to fly back. Photographed at Chinese Gardens by Looi Ang Soh Hoon. The deeper blue color almost had it misidentified.

CWC Sarah Chin-001

Another over stayer was this Chestnut-winged Cuckoo Clamator Coromandus that crashed into the W Residences at Sentosa Cove on 2nd (Photo right provided by Sarah Chin). This is about week later than the previous late date. Richard White had been monitoring the Hooded Pitta Pitta sordida at the SBG. It was still around on the 13th. Yong Ding Li saw it there 2 days later. The previous late date was on 3rd May 2016 from Compass Vale Sec. School. An Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia was reported by Adrian Silas Tay at Seletar Grasslands on 27th over staying by a day. Over at Pulau Tekong, a late Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes in breeding plumage was seen by Frankie Cheong on the same day.

As expected, we had a good number of breeding records this month. James Tann and Alan OwYong photographed a Lesser Coucal Centropus bengalensis carrying dead leaves to its nest at Chua Chu Kang grasslands on 1st. Wong Chung Cheong reported the nesting of the Grey-rumped Treeswifts Hemiprocne longipennis on a Angsana Tree at Ang Mo Kio on 7th. The next day Yong Ding Li also reported the nesting of the same species at Kay Siang Road. On 10 May, Lim Kim Keang came across a pair of Red-crowned Barbets Megalaima rafflesii going into a tree hole at Upper Seletar Reservoir. Over at the Chinese Gardens a pair of Coppersmith Barbets Megalaima haemacephala were feeding their chicks inside a nest hole in a Red Coral tree while a pair of Common Tailorbirds Orthotomus sutorius were going in and out of their nest by the lakeside (Piyong on 13th). Yeo Seng Beng reported a Red-legged Crake Rallina fasciata passing nesting material to its mate at Hindhede Park on 17th. This would be the first nesting record for this secretive crake but unfortunately the nest cannot be found the next day. Atish Banerjee found a nest of a Olive-winged Bulbul Pycnonotus plumosus at Dairy Farm NP on 18 May. Another Common Tailorbird nest with 2 chicks was found at the SBG on the 28th by Tan Gim Cheong and both parents were busy bringing insects to feed them. Most chicks reported above have fledged by now. Seng Alvin photographed a juvenile Rusty-breasted Cuckoo Cacomantis sepulcralis at Tampines Eco Green on 25th. Earlier on the 5th, Aldwin Recinto had an adult Rusty-breasted Cuckoo as well at Pasir Ris Park.

Rusty-breasted Cuckoo Seng Alvin

A juvenile Rusty-breasted Cuckoo photographed at Tampines Eco Green by Seng Alvin.

Most of the migrant reports were from Kranji Marshes. Watercocks Gallicrex cinerea (four on 20th), Blue-winged Pitta Pitta moluccensis, Oriental Reed Warbler Acrocephalus orientalis on 6th and a Brown Shrike Lanis cristatus on 7th were reported by Martin Kennewell. Adrian Silas Tay had another Watercock at Seletar Grasslands on 27th as well. This species have been known to stay up to mid June. Another Blue-winged Pitta was also reported at Pasir Ris Park on 20th by Aldwin Recinto. Will we have another nesting of this Pitta this season? A known late stayer, the Black Bittern Dupetor flavicollis was seen on the last day of the month at Satay by the Bay by Ian Reid. We can expected this bittern to be staying there for a few more weeks.

Notable residents for the month: A female Violet Cuckoo Chrysococcyx xanthorthynchus was reported on 4th by Joe Lim from NParks at Butterfly Hill at Pulau Ubin and a Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx fugax at SBG by Laurence Eu.
White-headed Munia Pary Sivaraman

Pary Sivaraman reported ten White-headed Munias Lonchura maja (Pary’s Photo left) at Kranji Marshes on 7th. The numbers for this munia has dropped drastically over the years. Another uncommon munia, the introduced Javan Munia Lonchura leucogastroides was photographed at Lor. Halus by Aldwin Recinto on 30th.


The rare forest Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting seemed to be spreading which is good news. The latest location was at the Bukit Batok Quarry seen by Phyoe Aung Wai on 19th. Earlier on the 15th Martin Kennewell spotted another Blue-eared Kingfisher at the Hindhede Quarry. The third record for the month was at the Kranji Marshes where Wong Chung Cheong saw one on the canal railing on 27th. This is still one of the best location to see this resident kingfisher.

BEKF Gerals Chua

A very expressive shot of the Blue-eared Kingfisher taken at Kranji Marshes by Gerals Chua.

A fruits of the White Mulberry tree at Dairy Farm NP attracted many of our resident furgivorous species like the Asian Fairy Bluebirds Irena puella, Greater Green Leafbird Chloropsis sonnerati, Blue-winged Leafbird C. cochinchinensis, Cream-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus simplex, Asian Red-eyed Bulbul P. brunneus and Orange-bellied Flowerpeckers Dicaeum trigonostigma .

Orange-belled Flowerpecker Ted Ng

A lovely open photo of a male Orange-bellied Flowerpecker feasting on the white mulberry at Dairy Farm Nature Park. Photo: Ted Ng

Other species reported from Dairy Farm were Van Hasselt’s Sunbirds Leptocoma brasiliana on 10th by James Tann, Drongo Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris on 11th by Terence Tan, Chestnut-bellied Malkoha Phaenicophaeus sumatranus on 13th by James Tann, and Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinus on 23rd by Alan OwYong.


Strong legs needed by the Van Hasselt’s Sunbird to get to the nectar of a tapioca flower. Taken at Dairy Farm Nature Park by Alan OwYong

Notable residents for the month were two House Swifts Apus nipalensis along the AYE near Clementi by Kristie Yeong on 11th, Green Imperial Pigeon Ducula aenea at Pasir Ris Park on 15th by Seng Alvin, another Violet Cuckoo at Hindhede NP on 16th by Andrew Chow, three more Chestnut-bellied Malkohas at Bukit Batok NP on 20th by James Tann, Black-crested Bulbul Pycnonotus flaviventris feeding on the figs at the summit Bukit Timah Hill on 20th (Ted Ng), the uncommon Rufous-tailed Tailorbird Orthotomus sericeus at Windsor Park on 24th by Veronica Foo and up to 12 Blue-crowned Hanging Parrots Loriculus galgulus over the Satay by the Bay on 27th by Atish Banerjee. A good numbers record of this nationally threatened parrot.

BCB Chuin Ming Lee

Some leg work needed to get this Black-crested Bulbul at the summit of Bukit Timah Hill. Photo: Lee Chuin Ming.

Resident wetland species reported included a Slaty-breasted Rail Gallirallus striatus at Tampines Eco Garden on 25th by Seng Alvin, a Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus at Kranji Marshes on 27th by Martin Kennewell and Kozi Ichiyama and a pair of Greater Painted Snipes Rostratula benghalensis at Seletar Grasslands by Adrian Silas Tay on the same day.  The Great-billed Herons Ardea sumatrana were seen returning to SBWR with three birds sighted by Martin Kennewell on the 27th.

SBG: Singapore Botanic Gardens; SBWR: Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve; AYE: Ayer Rajah Expressway:


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

Yong Ding Li, Lim Kim Chuah and Lee Tiah Khee. A Naturalist’s Guide to the Birds of Singapore. 2013. John Beaufoy Publishing Limited. 

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

This report is compiled by Alan OwYong and edited by Tan Gim Cheong from selected postings in various facebook birding pages, bird forums, individual reports and extracts from ebirds by Martin Kennewell. 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 Francis Yap, Lau Jiasheng, Looi Ang Soh Hoon, Sarah Chin, Pary Sivaraman, Gerals Chua, Ted Ng, Alan OwYong and Lee Chuin Ming for the the use of their photos. Please notify alan.owyong@gmail.com if you find errors in these records.


Singapore Bird Report-December 2016


We cannot asked for a more exciting end to the year than having a rare montane species turning up at our forest. A Mountain Imperial Pigeon Ducula badia was spotted by Lim Kim Seng feeding on the figs next to NParks office at Pulau Ubin on new year’s eve. Being long distance flyers Ubin is probably within its range from the Central Highlands of Malaysia. Kim Seng was there to look for the Black Hornbill Anthracoceros malayanus. The Mountain Imperial Pigeon is only our third record, the second for Ubin (previous sighting on 11.11.2012).


Mountain Imperial Pigeon – A year end lifer for many birders here. Photo: Lee Tiah Khee.

Kim Seng had earlier reported an Aquila eagle being mobbed by our White-bellied Sea-eagles Haliaeetus leucogaster and House Crows Corvus splendens at the rocky Pulau Seduku on the 19th. It turned out to be a juvenile Asian Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca, last recorded at Tanah Merah on 18.11.2001, 15 years back. These two rare sightings caused a stampede of birders and photographers to Ubin hoping to tick off their lifers. Most were successful. Staying at Ubin, a first of the season Himalayan Cuckoo Cuculus saturatus was photographed by Keita Sin at Butterfly Hill on 28th.


A rare Himalayan Cuckoo, formerly known as Oriental Cuckoo, first for the season.                   Photographed by Keita Sin at Butterfly Hill Ubin.

Earlier in the month on the 2nd, Gavan Leong stumbled on an Oriental Scops Owl Otus sunia in broad daylight near Pekan Quarry, another first for the season.


Gavan Leong was fortunate to find this rare Oriental Scops Owl near Pekan Quarry.

At the same quarry, Atish Banerjee spotted the on-off Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster  on the 5th. It was seen again on the 10th by Francis Yap who went over to check on the Mangrove Pittas Pitta megarhyncha. He found a few individuals at their usual haunt. On the same day, Millie Cher spied a shy Black-capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata wintering at the nearby mangroves. A Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus was seen flying over Ketam Quarry on the 20th by Birding Dawn. It must have come over from Danga Bay further west of Ubin. This is the most easterly record for this threatened species. Just showed how rich and attractive Pulau Ubin is for these rare species. The decision to keep as much of the island as it is cannot be more timely.

Not to be outdone, SBWR came up with a male non-breeding Ruff Philomachus pugnax photographed by Robin Tan on 2nd. Our last records were in 2001 at Tanah Merah.


After a long absence of 15 years, this Ruff was photographed at SBWR by Robin Tan 

Another Grey-headed Lapwing Vanellus cinereus, this time an adult, was also photographed at SBWR on 20th by Tan Chee Keon. It later flew over to Kranji Marshes and stayed for a few days (Lim Kim Chuah 25th).


An adult Grey-headed Lapwing photographed at SBWR by Tan Chee Keon.                                         This is the second record for the year. 


This rare winter visitor Slaty-legged Crake had an unfortunate ending at Sentosa. Photo credit: SDC and Tan Kok Yeang.

Other rarities include a dead Slaty-legged Crake Rallina eurizonoides that crashed into the fence at Pulau Selegu, now part of Sentosa, on the 5th. Tan Kok Yeang forwarded a photo of the dead crake taken by his staff.

A Malayan Night Heron Gorsachius melanophus at Tuas South on 9th was reported by Low Choon How, a Grey Nightjar Caprimulgus jotaka at Bidadari on 10th (Lim Kim Keang), Pheasant-tailed Jacana Hydrophasianus chirurgus at Kranji Marshes on 10th identified from a photo by Veronica Foo. This is the type of waterbirds that NParks hopes to attract back to the Marshes and this sighting is an indication that it is succeeding.

An Amur Falcon Falco amurensis on 16th at Seletar by Yip Peng Sun was an unexpected sighting, being only the second record for Singapore. Other interesting winter visitors reported include a Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx nisicolor at Upper Pierce Reservoir on 2nd (Veroica Foo), Orange-headed Thrush Geokichia citrina, a first for the season, below Jelutong Tower on 3rd (Lim Kim Seng), another Orange-headed Thrush at BTNR Tabun Loop on 9th (Lim Kim Keang), an Oriental Reed Warbler Acrocephalus orientalis at Jurong Eco Garden on 3rd (Veronica Foo), up to four White Wagtails Motacilla alba at Marina Barrage on 4th (Alan OwYong), an Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus (leucogenis) race at Bidadari on the 8th (Xu Weiting), 4 Chinese Egrets Egretta eulophotes at Tekong on 10th (Frankie Cheong) and a Blue and White Flycatcher Cyanoptila cyanomelana at Dairy Farm seen from Hill View Station on 12th by George Presanis. More than 200 Blue-tailed Bee-eaters Merops philippinus were seen roosting at the Nassim area on 11th by Richard White.


The obliging Hooded Pitta at the Ginger Garden was the darling of many photographers               early in the month. Photo: Diamondo Sutjipto.

Hooded Pittas Pitta sordida made a strong showing at the Botanic Gardens this season starting with Lee Chuin Ming and James Tann’s sighting on the 7th. Three days later Atish Banerjee saw one at Symphony Lake and another at the Rain Forest while Richard White also reported another at the Dell. Richard confirmed that there were at least 3 Hooded Pittas and one Blue-wigned Pitta Pitta moluccensis at the gardens on the 12th. On the same day Daniel Ong reported another Blue-winged Pitta  at Tampines.


Watercock found dead at Changi Business Park.   Photo: Mick Price.

Bird crashes were coming in fast and furious for the month. Three Watercocks Gallicrex cinerea, first at Riverdale alive on 1st, second at Changi Business Park on 2nd – dead (Mick Price) and the last at Hougang, which survived, on 8th.

Two dead Red-legged Crakes Rallina fasciata both at Ubin, first on 2nd and the other on 3rd. Two Blue-winged Pittas, at UWC SEA Tampines on 2nd and another at NUS Ridge View Residences on 3rd. An adult Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus, probably a migrant at Sentosa Beach Station 0n 2nd (Sarah Chin).  A Grey Nightjar Caprimulgus jotaka flew into a house at Changi but recovered and flew off on its own. A first winter male Mugimaki Flycatcher Ficedula mugimaki found dead at Nepal Park and a dead Hooded Pitta at Kent View both on the 8th. A Thick-billed Pigeon Treton curvirostra crashed into an apartment at One-North on 9th (Alan OwYong). Fortunately it recovered the next day and was released. (All crash records from David Tan unless stated). (Received a late note from Joe Lim that a Hooded Pitta was found at Hospital Drive a little concussed. It was later released in the nearby forest.)


This sub-adult male Thick-billed Pigeon survived the crash at One-North. Alan OwYong

Interesting resident sightings came from the Botanic Gardens as well. Richard White reported a Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis, a forest species there on 7th. It may have been pushed out of Bukit Brown where a new highway is being built. There were old records of this coucal at the gardens in the 90s. A confused Western Barn Owl Tyto alba was taking refuge at Temasek Poly on the 8th, much to the amusement of the students there (Wong Chung Cheong). A rare Green Imperial Pigeon Ducula aenea was photographed at Pasir Ris Park on 11th by Alfred Chia. A small group frequented the Loyang area on a regular basis.


Up to 8 House Swifts Apus nipalensis were seen flying over the Eco Lake at SBG by Keita Sin on 21st. A very good record as we normally get single bird sightings here and there. Signs of recovery for this species? An Asian Palm Swift Cypsiurus balasiensis was seen among them according to Keita. They used to nest at the Palm Valley nearby up to the 80s. A limping Great-billed Heron Ardea sumatrana flew onto the Marina Barrage on the 26th, a first for this location. Also first for the area were 4 Red-wattled Lapwings Vanellus indicus and a Yellow Bittern Ixobrychus sinensis seen on the open grassland there. This seafront is getting its fair share of uncommon species and waders.

Green Imperial Pigeon photographed at Pasir Ris Park by Alfred Chia.

Two early nesting records were from a male Oriental Pied Hornbill Anthracoceros albirostris seen regurgitating figs to feed the entombed female at SBG by Yang Pah Liang and a pair of Red-crowned Barbets Megalaima rafflesii at CCNR (Lim Kim Seng).

Legend: SBWR-Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. CCNR-Central Catchment Nature Reserve. SBG-Singapore Botanic Gardens. UWC-United World College. NUS-National University of Singapore.


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

Yong Ding Li, Lim Kim Chuah and Lee Tiah Khee. A Naturalist’s Guide to the Birds of Singapore. 2013. John Beaufoy Publishing Limited. 

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

This report is compiled by Alan OwYong and edited by Tan Gim Cheong from selected postings in various facebook birding pages, bird forums and individual reports. Some were not verified. We wish to thank all the  contributors for their records. Many thanks to Lee Tiah Khee, Keita Sin, Gavan Leong, Robin Tan, Tan Chee Keon, Tan Kok Yeang, Diamondo Sutjipto, Mick Price, Alan OwYong and Alfred Chia for the use of their photos. If you have any earlier records than those reported here and found some errors, please notify alan.owyong@gmail.com.