Tag Archives: Pied Stilt breeding

Singapore Bird Report – July 2019

by Geoff Lim & Tan Gim Cheong (ed.)

July 2019 was an amazing month, with the first record of the Pied Stilt, not just occurring, but also breeding, in Singapore; and the first breeding record of the rare Black-winged Stilt, so far only known as a visitor. The month also closed with the complete loss of a brood of 11 ducklings of a pair of Lesser Whistling Ducks.

First record of Pied Stilt in Singapore.

In July 2019, Frankie Cheong reported the first record of the Pied Stilt Himantopus leucocephalus in Singapore, on the new reclaimed land around Pulau Tekong. It was on 17 July 2019 that he saw an adult Pied Stilt and four juveniles that appeared to associate with the adult. The four juvenile stilts were seen again on 23 July 2019.

Pied Stilt, posted 180719, Tekong, Frankie Cheong

Adult Pied Stilt (above) and four juvenile stilts (below) spotted on 17 July 2019, by Frankie Cheong.

Pied Stilt, posted 180719, Tekong, Frankie Cheong, juveniles

First breeding record of Pied Stilt in Singapore.

Just three days later, on 20 July 2019, he found that a pair of Pied Stilts were nesting! The nest contained one egg on 20 July 2019, and by 23 July 2019, the nest yielded four eggs. On 27 July 2019, the Pied Stilts were still sitting on their eggs.

Pied Stilt breeding, posted 20 Aug, Tekong, Frankie Cheong 2

Pied Stilt showing its long black ‘mane’ on back of neck, 20 July 2019. Photo by Frankie Cheong.

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Pied Stilt with nest containing one egg on 20 July 2019. Photo by Frankie Cheong.

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Pied Stilt nest containing four eggs on 23 July 2019. Photo by Frankie Cheong.

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Pied Stilt sitting on its nest on 27 July 2019, by Frankie Cheong.

The rare Black-winged Stilts

A rare Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus was also seen in the same vicinity on 17 July 2019, and again on 23 July 2019, fighting with the Pied Stilt.

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Black-winged Stilt spotted on 17 July 2019 by Frankie Cheong.

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Black-winged (left) and Pied (right) Stilts fighting on 23 July 2019. Photo by Frankie Cheong.

First breeding record of Black-winged Stilt in Singapore.

On 25 July 2019, Frankie stumbled on yet another nest with four eggs. This time, it belonged to a pair of Black-winged Stilts, which was unexpected as these birds have so far been known as rare migrants. By 27 July 2019, one chick was visible and tended to by its parents, while the nest only had one egg visible. The two other eggs had disappeared. By 29 July 2019, the Black-winged Stilt’s nest was empty, while two chicks were seen nearby, in the presence of two adult birds.

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Black-winged Stilt with chick on 27 July 2019, by Frankie Cheong.

The Black-winged Stilt is widely distributed and is found from France and Iberia S to sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar, and E to C Asia and NC China, Indian Subcontinent (including Sri Lanka), Indochina and Taiwan; winters S to Africa (Pierce and Kirwan, 2019), while the Pied Stilt, also known as the White-headed Stilt, occurs in Sumatra and Java, E to New Guinea, and S to Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand; winters N to Philippines, Greater Sundas and Sulawesi, and as far as Sri Lanka (Pierce and Kirwan, 2019). Historically, the Black-winged Stilt is listed as the only species of stilt found in the Malay Peninsula (Wells, 1999:273-274).

Hitherto, the Black-winged Stilt has been listed as a rare migrant to Singapore. The last three sightings were at the main hide at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve in November 2011, Punggol Barat in December 2012 and Kranji Marsh in November 2015. Hence, Frankie’s breeding records presents new knowledge on the status of the bird in Singapore.

The Pied Stilt had previously been considered a sub-species of the Black-winged Stilt (Pierce and Kirwan, 2019) and is notably a largely Indonesian/Australasian species. In recent years, it has more frequently been accorded full species status (Sonobe & Usui, 1993; Robson, 2005). There are no previous records of the Pied Stilt in Singapore, much less a breeding record, therefore Frankie’s sightings constitute the first records of the Pied Stilt in Singapore.

Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR) & Fringes

While resident species continued to hold sway, early migratory species have begun to reach our shores. In the heart of the CCNR, observers reported regular forest residents such as the Violet Cuckoo Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus on 10 July 2019 (Francis Yap), Black-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus atriceps on 13 July 2019 at Jelutong Tower (Joseph Lim), the Chestnut-winged Babbler Stachyris erythroptera on 23 July 2019 (Martin Kennewell), Short-tailed Babbler Malacocincla malaccensis on 23 July 2019 (Martin Kennewell – 2 heard) and on 25 July 2019 (Kelvin Ng Cheng Kwan – 1 bird seen on trail to Jelutong Tower), and Greater Green Leafbird Chloropsis sonnerati (Evelyn Lee – female at Jelutong Tower). A migratory Brown-streaked Flycatcher Muscicapa williamsoni was reported as being seen on 22 July 2019 by Raghav N.

Violet Cuckoo, 100719, JT, Fryap

Violet Cuckoo at Jelutong Tower on 10 July 2019 by Francis Yap.

STB, KNCK

Short-tailed Babbler at CCNR on 25 July 2019 by Kelvin Ng Cheng Kwan.

CCNR fringe parks also received a fair amount of attention. Dairy Farm Nature Park (DFNP) hosted a conference of Van Hasselt’s Sunbird Leptocoma brasiliana between 1 and 4 July 2019 (Peter Lim), beginning with 11 individuals on 1 Jul 2019, to 7 birds and eventually 4 birds by 4 July 2019. The Chestnut-bellied Malkoha Phaenicophaeus sumatranus was spotted on 27 July 2019 (Yeong Wai Kai) and a female Thick-billed Pigeon Treron curvirostra was seen on 31 July 2019 (Roberta Cheok). Along the Rail Corridor, a Tanimbar Corella Cacatua goffiniana was spotted on 5 July 2019 (Lim Sheen Taw).

CBM, YWK

Chestnut-bellied Malkoha at DFNP on 27 July 2019 by Yeong Wai Kai.

Tanimbar, Taw

Tanimbar Corella along Rail Corridor on 5 Jul 2019 by Lim Sheen Taw.

Further away at the Singapore Quarry, a foraging Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus was spotted on 3 July 2019 (Kelvin Ng Cheng Kwan), a pair of Barred Eagle Owl Bubo sumatranus and its juvenile were variously spotted on 16 July 2019, from 21 to 25 July 2019 by Art Toh and friends, and heard on 28 July 2019 by Yong Ding Li and Geoff Lim; while a Violet Cuckoo Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus was spotted on 30 July 2019 by Francis Yap. Observers also noted the presence of the Brown Hawk Owl Ninox scutulata at Hindhede Park on 4 and 26 July 2019 (Terence Tan and Joseph Lim).

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Barred Eagle Owl at Singapore Quarry on 31 July 2019 by Herman Phua.

A Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx fugax was spotted at Upper Peirce Reservoir on 24 July 2019 by Morten Strange and Bee Choo.

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Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo at Upper Peirce Reservoir on 24 July 2019 by Morten Strange & Ng-Strange Bee Choo.

Singapore Botanic Gardens

Two Red-legged Crake Rallina fasciata were seen on 2 July 2019 by Mike Smith, while the White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata was spotted on 13 July 2019.

RLC, Smith

Red-legged Crake at SBG on 2 Jul 2019 by Mike Smith.

Central Singapore

A White-bellied Sea-Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster was seen at Potong Pasir Park Connector on 5 July 2019 by Paul Tan, while three Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela were seen at Goldhill Avenue on 6 July 2019 by Soon Yi Pak

Northern Singapore

The Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis was spotted at the Lorong Halus Wetland by Dean Tan and Siew Mun on 5 and 17 July 2019. Towards the end of July, Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia were spotted at Yishun Dam on 28 July 2019 (Art Toh), as were up to four Lesser Sand Plover Charadrius mongolus on 31 Jul 2019 (Khoo Mei Lin), together with Malaysian Plover Charadrius peronii, on 28 July 2019 (Art Toh) and 31 July 2019 (Khoo Mei Lin).

MP, Art

Malaysian Plover at Yishun Dam on 28 July 2019 by Art Toh.

Eastern Singapore

Singapore’s eastern flanks contain habitats that yielded surprises. Pulau Ubin delivered spectacular species, such as a rare Black-and-Red Broadbill Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchos discovered during a joint NParks-NSS Ubin survey on 7 July 2019, a Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela on 2 July 2019 by Feroz Ghazali, while the Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hemipus hirundinaceus put up two appearances on 14 and 21 July 2019 at Chek Jawa for Francis Yap. There were also shorebirds lingering farther away – three Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus and two Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos spotted on 18 July 2019 by Feroz Ghazali, and Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola, Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia and more Whimbrel on 21 July 2019 by Francis Yap.

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Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike at Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin on 21 July 2019 by Francis Yap.

Pasir Ris Park continued to support Yellow-crested Cockatoo Cacatua sulphurea (14 July 2019; Steven Cheong), the adult and juvenile Spotted Wood Owl Strix seloputo (28 July 2019; Jimmy Ng), the one-eyed Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupu (28 July 2019; Jimmy Ng), and the juvenile Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting with a deformed foot (31 July 2019; Dean Tan). Nearby at the Sungei Tampines Canal East, Little Tern Sternula albifrons had been seen earlier on 1 July 2019 foraging above the waters by Alvin Seng.

Changi Business Park continued to be a stronghold for the Green Imperial Pigeon Ducula aenea, which was reported on 14 July 2019 (T. Ramesh) drinking water in the canal, and on 19 July 2019 at a more conventional location. Also spotted was an early arriving Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea, seen on 17 July 2019 by T. Ramesh.

SWO, JN

Juvenile Spotted Wood Owl at Pasir Ris Park on 28 July 2019 by Jimmy Ng.

Southern Singapore

Gardens by the Bay gave nature lovers much grief and anxiety when the ducklings belonging to a pair of Lesser Whistling Duck Dendrocygna javanica were systematically decimated through the course of the month. (From 11 ducklings on 27 June 2019), by 1 July 2019, there were seven ducklings, as counted by Isabelle Lee and other birders. Staff from the Gardens took pains to build a floating platform for the birds to provide a safe haven from suspected underwater predators. Despite everyone’s best effort, the family was eventually reduced to four survivors by 22 July 2019 (Ronnie Koh), as individuals were picked off by predatory fish lurking beneath the murky waters under the lotus pads. On 24 July 2019, the family decided to move to the ponds at Gardens by the Bay East, and by 25 July 2019, the family was down to a single duckling (Mary Yeo). Then, on 26 July 2019, there were no more ducklings (Jeremiah Loei).

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Lesser Whistling Duck and young using platform built by Gardens by the Bay staff on 7 July 2019, by Isabelle Lee.

Barely a kilometre away, another family of birds captured the attention of photographers and birders. A pair of Masked Lapwing Vanellus miles made a nest out of a scrape on the ground next to a construction site at Marina Bay East. Four eggs were reported on 16 July 2019, which eventually hatched by 19 July 2019. The chicks were rescued by construction workers when they could not surmount the kerb when their parents moved to the golf course across the construction site.

ML, Majid

Masked Lapwing with chicks at Marina East Drive on 25 July 2019 by Norhafiani A. Majid.

Further away, White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata were reported at Telok Blangah Hill Park on 19 July 2019 by John Marriott, who also reported Yellow-crested Cockatoo Cacatua sulphurea at Sentosa on 23 July 2019.

Western Singapore

The Kranji Marshes and surrounding habitat comprising Turut Track and Neo Tiew Harvest Lane received reports of migrants and residents alike. Two Red-wattled Lapwing Vanellus indicus were reportedly inspecting a hole at Turut Track on 3 July 2019 by Steven Wong, who also reported the sighting of a Changeable Hawk-Eagle Nisaetus cirrhatus in the vicinity on the same day. A Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus was reportedly seen on 7 July 2019 at Neo Tiew Harvest Lane by William Legge, who noted that “a small bittern uniformly salmon cinnamon coloured flew away from us”. Two Straw-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus zeylanicus were spotted on 17 July 2019 within Kranji Marshes by Vincent Chin, while a juvenile Banded Bay Cuckoo Cacomantis sonneratii was seen on 28 and 29 July 2019 by Yeong Wai Kai; the young cuckoo was being fed by a Common Iora Aegithina tiphia on 28 July 2019. An adult Scaly-breasted Munia Lonchura punctulata was also seen regurgitating food for three young birds on 30 July 2019 at Kranji Marsh by Yeo Seng Beng. Migratory Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola and Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius were reported to have arrived at Neo Tiew Harvest Lane on 28 July 2019 by Art Toh.

BBC, YWK

Juvenile Banded Bay Cuckoo fed by adult Common Iora at Kranji Marsh on 28 July 2019 by Yeong Wai Kai.

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Wood Sandpiper at Neo Tiew Harvest Lane on 28 July 2019 by Art Toh.

Shorebirds were also reported at the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. As early as 7 July 2019, Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus were seen huddling together at the main pond by William Legge. Other shorebirds reported were a lone Common Redshank Tringa totanus on 14 July 2019 (Adrian Silas Tay), and Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva on 23 July 2019 (YK Han). The Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus were also spotted on 7 July 2019 by YK Han, 14 July 2019 perched on a tree at Platform 2 by Adrian Silas Tay and two overflying birds on 20 July 2019 by Ng Wei Khim & Ng Wee Hao.

Two adults and a juvenile Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupu were reported at the newly opened Jurong Lake Garden on 21 July 2019 by Yeong Wai Kai and seen again on 27 July 2019 by Ang Siew Siew, while the White-headed Munia Lonchura striata was also spotted on 23 July 2019 by Vincent Chin. The munia species was also seen along the Ulu Pandan Park Connector Network on 18 July 2019 by Brenda Chua LH, while further afield, a Pacific Reef Heron Egretta sacra was spotted at the West Coast Park on 22 July 2019 by John Marriott.
Abbreviations:
CCNR: Central Catchment Nature Reserve
DFNP: Dairy Farm Nature Park

This report is written by Geoff Lim and 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 Frankie Cheong, Francis Yap, Kelvin Ng Cheng Kwan, Yeong Wai Kai, Lim Sheen Taw, Herman Phua, Morten and Bee Choo Strange, Mike Smith, Art Toh, Jimmy Ng, Isabelle Lee, and Norhafianni A. Majid for allowing us to use their photographs.

REFERENCES

Pierce, R.J. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus). 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. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/53759 on 26 August 2019).

Robson, C. (2005). Birds of South-east Asia. New Holland Publisher: UK.

Sonobe, K. & Usui, S. (1993). A Field Guide to the Waterbirds of Asia. Wild Bird Society of Japan: Tokyo.

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

LIST OF BIRDS REPORTED IN JUNE 2019

Family Species name Scientific Name Date
Anatidae Lesser Whistling Duck Dendrocygna javanica 1 Jul 2019
Anatidae Lesser Whistling Duck Dendrocygna javanica 22 Jul 2019
Podicipedidae Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis 5 Jul 2019
Podicipedidae Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis 17 Jul 2019
Ciconiidae Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus 7 Jul 2019
Ciconiidae Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus 14 Jul 2019
Ciconiidae Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus 20 Jul 2019
Ardeidae Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus 7 Jul 2019
Ardeidae Pacific Reef Heron Egretta sacra 22 Jul 2019
Accipitridae Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela 2 Jul 2019
Accipitridae Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela 6 Jul 2019
Accipitridae Changeable Hawk-Eagle Nisaetus cirrhatus 3 Jul 2019
Accipitridae Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus 3 Jul 2019
Accipitridae White-bellied Sea Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster 5 Jul 2019
Rallidae Red-legged Crake Rallina fasciata 2 Jul 2019
Recurvirostridae Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus 17 Jul 2019
Recurvirostridae Pied Stilt Himantopus leucocephalus 17 Jul 2019
Charadriidae Red-wattled Lapwing Vanellus indicus 3 Jul 2019
Charadriidae Masked Lapwing Vanellus miles 16 Jul 2019
Charadriidae Masked Lapwing Vanellus miles 19 Jul 2019
Charadriidae Masked Lapwing Vanellus miles 19 Jul 2019
Charadriidae Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva 23 Jul 2019
Charadriidae Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola 21 Jul 2019
Charadriidae Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius 28 Jul 2019
Charadriidae Malaysian Plover Charadrius peronii 28 Jul 2019
Charadriidae Malaysian Plover Charadrius peronii 31 Jul 2019
Charadriidae Lesser Sand Plover Charadrius mongolus 31 Jul 2019
Scolopacidae Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus 7 Jul 2019
Scolopacidae Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus 18 Jul 2019
Scolopacidae Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus 21 Jul 2019
Scolopacidae Common Redshank Tringa totanus 14 Jul 2019
Scolopacidae Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia 21 Jul 2019
Scolopacidae Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia 28 Jul 2019
Scolopacidae Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola 28 Jul 2019
Scolopacidae Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos 18 Jul 2019
Laridae Little Tern Sternula albifrons 1 Jul 2019
Columbidae Thick-billed Green Pigeon Treron curvirostra 31 Jul 2019
Columbidae Green Imperial Pigeon Ducula aenea 14 Jul 2019
Columbidae Green Imperial Pigeon Ducula aenea 19 Jul 2019
Cuculidae Chestnut-bellied Malkoha Phaenicophaeus sumatranus 27 Jul 2019
Cuculidae Violet Cuckoo Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus 10 Jul 2019
Cuculidae Violet Cuckoo Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus 30 Jul 2019
Cuculidae Banded Bay Cuckoo Cacomantis sonneratii 28 Jul 2019
Cuculidae Banded Bay Cuckoo Cacomantis sonneratii 29 Jul 2019
Cuculidae Malaysian Hawk-Cuckoo Hierococcyx fugax 24 Jul 2019
Strigidae Barred Eagle-Owl Bubo sumatranus 16 Jul 2019
Strigidae Barred Eagle-Owl Bubo sumatranus 18 Jul 2019
Strigidae Barred Eagle-Owl Bubo sumatranus 30 Jul 2019
Strigidae Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupu 21 Jul 2019
Strigidae Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupu 27 Jul 2019
Strigidae Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupu 28 Jul 2019
Strigidae Spotted Wood Owl Strix seloputo 28 Jul 2019
Strigidae Brown Hawk-Owl Ninox scutulata 4 Jul 2019
Strigidae Brown Hawk-Owl Ninox scutulata 26 Jul 2019
Alcedinidae Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting 31 Jul 2019
Cacatuidae Tanimbar Corella Cacatua goffiniana 5 Jul 2019
Cacatuidae Yellow-crested Cockatoo Cacatua sulphurea 14 Jul 2019
Cacatuidae Yellow-crested Cockatoo Cacatua sulphurea 23 Jul 2019
Eurylaimidae Black-and-Red Broadbill Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchos 7 Jul 2019
Tephrodornithidae Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hemipus hirundinaceus 14 Jul 2019
Tephrodornithidae Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hemipus hirundinaceus 21 Jul 2019
Pycnonotidae Straw-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus zeylanicus 17 Jul 2019
Pycnonotidae Black-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus atriceps 13 Jul 2019
Timaliidae Chestnut-winged Babbler Stachyris erythroptera 23 Jul 2019
Pellorneidae Short-tailed Babbler Malacocincla malaccensis 23 Jul 2019
Pellorneidae Short-tailed Babbler Malacocincla malaccensis 25 Jul 2019
Muscicapidae Brown-streaked Flycatcher Muscicapa williamsoni 22 Jul 2019
Chloropseidae Greater Green Leafbird Chloropsis sonnerati 27 Jul 2019
Nectariniidae Van Hasselt’s Sunbird Leptocoma brasiliana 1 Jul 2019
Estrildidae White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata 13 Jul 2019
Estrildidae White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata 19 Jul 2019
Estrildidae Scaly-breasted Munia Lonchura punctulata 30 Jul 2019
Estrildidae White-headed Munia Lonchura maja 18 Jul 2019
Estrildidae White-headed Munia Lonchura maja 23 Jul 2019
Motacillidae Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea 17 Jul 2019