Tag Archives: Singapore Bird Report

Singapore Bird Report-May 2016

Most of the winter visitors have left our shores for their breeding grounds in North Asia. Only a few wetland species like the Black Bitterns, Dupetor flavicollis, were still at Gardens by the Bay and Seletar Ponds and Blue-winged Pittas, Pitta moluccenis, at Singapore Botanic Gardens are taking their time to move back. Good to monitor these Pittas during the coming months to see if they stay around.  A Hooded PittaPitta sordida, was released after it recovered from crashing into the Compassvale Secondary School in Sengkang on 3rd by Eugene Ng. Lim Kim Keang recorded a new late date for the Indian Pond Heron, Ardeola grayii, at Pasir Ris Farmway 3 on 8th. Lim Kim Seng reported over summering Little, Egretta garzetta, and 10 Great Egrets, Ardea alba, at Sungei Buloh on 26th.

So the focus was on our breeding residents for our birders and photographers. For a change we will list some of the important sightings on a week to week basis for this report.

Little Tern Seng Alvin

Little Tern in breeding plumage fishing at the Tampines Canal. Photo: Seng Alvin.

Week 1

A pair of Lesser Whistling Ducks, Dendrocygna javanica, found a nice resting place at Seletar Ponds, outside the usual places (Zacc HD 1st). The Little Terns, Sternula albifrons, are raising another brood and have returned to the Tampines Canal on 3rd for small fishes to feed their chicks (Seng Alvin). Lim Kim Chuah got a up close iphone  shot of a dead Western Barn Owl, Tyto alba, at Jurong Island on 4th. It must have crashed into one of the buildings there. Following Kieta Sin’s sigthing of a male Violet Cuckoo, Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus, at Kent Ridge Park, he and Alan OwYong found a female Violet and a Banded Bay Cuckoo, Cacomantis sonnerati, at the same place on 6th. See Toh and friends went for a pelagic trip to the Straits of Singapore on 7th and recorded 2 rare Short-tailed Shearwaters, Puffinus ternuirostris, and several Aleutian Terns, Onychoprion anaethetus, and Lesser Crested Terns, Thalasseus bengalensis, on their way back north. A Spotted Wood Owl, Strix seloputo, was reported by Art Toh at Keppel Bay on 8th, a new location for this owl.

Short-tailed Shearwater See Toh

Rare Short-tailed Shearwater on migration at the Straits of Singapore. Photo: See Toh Yew Wai

Week 2

Richard White has been keeping a close watch on the birdlife at the Botanic Gardens. He reported the return of the Black-crowned Night Herons, Nycticorax nycticorax, at the Eco lake. They were in breeding plumage. Maybe they will nest there again. The Stork-billed Kingfisher, Pelargopsis capensis, that went missing from Kent Ridge Park for more than a decade was spotted again during a recce by Alan OwYong. (Keita Sin messaged me that he saw the Kingfisher in August last year right up to this April).  Paddyfield Pipits, Anthus rufulus, were seen nest building at the open field at the Marina Barrage on 14th ( Alan OwYong).

Abbottt's Babbler at the Marsh Gardens at West Coast Park. Photo: Geoff Lim

Abbott’s Babbler at West Coast Park. Photo: Geoff Lim

Week 3.

A family of 4-5  Abbott’s Babblers, Malacocincia abbotti, was very active at the Marsh Gardens West Coast Park when Francis Yap paid a visit there on 17th. These babblers are not that common in the south. Confirmation of the Sunda Scops Owl, Otus lempiji, breeding in Sentosa came when Sarah Chin found an immature at the Tanjong Beach Station on 19th. Another Sunda Scops Owl was reported from Lower Pierce Reservoir by Vincent Lao on 20th. A hard to see White-browed Crake, Ponzana cinerea, was spotted by Lim Kim Chuah during a Bird Group trip to the Kranji Marshes on 22nd.

White-browed Crake LKC

The shy White-browed Crake revealing itself at Kranji Marshes. Photo; Lim Kim Chuah.

Week 4

Atis Banerjee reported a new location for the Buffy Fish Owl, Ketupa ketupa, at Tanjong Rhu on 23th. A family of Red Legged Crakes, Rallina fasciata, have been seen at the Singapore Botanic Gardens on 23rd (Richard White). They have been regulars there for some years now. The non breeding visitor Western Osprey, Pandian haliaetus, was still hanging around Sungei Buloh on 23rd,(Cindy Yeo). The Great-billed Heron, Ardea sumatrana, made its return to Berlayer Creek with sightings there on 24th by Shirley Ng. James Tann reported the fledging of two Oriental White-eye, Zosterops palpebrosus, chicks at Jurong Eco Gardens on 24th. The resident ernesti race Peregrine Falcon, Falco peregrinus, was back at Church Street on 26th May (Lee Ee Ling). Lucy Davis had a pair of Pin-striped Babbler, Macronous gularis, raising two chicks in her garden at Wessex on 26th. A forest specialist, Greater Green Leafbird, Chloropsis sonnerati, was seen at the MacRitchie Reservoir on 26th (Lim Kim Seng). A Slaty-breasted Rail, Gallirollus striatus, at Tampines Eco Green on 27th (Seng Alvin). Four Green Imperial Pigeons, Ducula aenea, Blue-eared Kingfisher, Alcedo meninting, Great-billed Herons, and White-rumped Shamas, Copsychus malabaricus, were some of the uncommon birds seen during Pesta Ubin day on 29th (LIm Kim Chuah).  Francis Yap reported a pair of uncommon Chestnut-winged Babblers, Stachyris erythroptera, at Upper Seletar on 29th. A family of Ruddy-breasted Crakes, Ponzana fusca, with four fledged chicks were photographed by Paul Thong at Gardens by the Bay on 30th. An important breeding record for this uncommon rail spreading out to the south. Andrew Tann reported them there earlier on 21st.

A family of uncommon Ruddy Breasted Crakes at SBTB. Photo: Paul Thong.

An important record of a family of uncommon Ruddy-breasted Crakes at SBTB. Photo: Paul Thong.


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 Lim Kim Chuah, Geoff Lim, Seng Alvin, See Toh Yew Wai and Paul Thong  for the use of their photos.





Singapore Bird Report – March 2015


An adult Malaysian Night Heron at the Jacob Ballas Children Garden by Craig Williams.

On the 2nd we have the third sighting of the Buff-rumped Woodpecker, Meiglyptes tristis, when Lim Kim Keang videoed one at Bidadari Cemetery. This is a non-breeding visitor that was seen twice at the Sime Forest before it was accepted into the 2003 Checklist. This has to be the standout bird of the month. Not to be outdone, Lim Kim Chuah managed to photograph a Pied Cuckoo, Clamator jacobinus, at Lorong Halus on 15th. This is the second record for the year for this non-migratory cuckoo in Singapore.  It has yet to be accepted into the Checklist as there were question marks on its origin after the first sighting. Kim Chuah also reported that Robert Teo told him that an Oriental Darter, Anhinga melanogaster, was seen at the Pekan Quarry at Pulau Ubin on the 31st. This Darter was first reported in August 2014 by Jean-Marc Chavette at another disused quarry at Gombak. According to Robert Teo, this Darter had been seen at the Ketam Quarry last November during Ubin Day. This species is now pending acceptance into the Checklist.

Large Hawk-Cuckoo

A juvenile Large Hawk Cuckoo at Bidadari by Francis Yap.

This March is noted for the returning of the migrant cuckoos, four species were recorded with the rare Large-hawk Cuckoo, Hierococcyx sparverioides, being the most sighted, which is quite a surprise. Bidadari Cemetery on 9th by Frankie Lim, Pasir Ris Park on 12th by Lim Kim Keang and Lorong Halus by Tan Eng Boo on the 18th. An Indian Cuckoo, Cuculus micropterus,  was photographed at Pasir Ris Park by Seng Alvin on 9th, Squared-tailed Drongo Cuckoo, Surniculus lugubris, at Bukit Timah NP by Seetoh Kin Meng on 4th and a Chestnut-winged Cuckoo, Clamator coromandus, at Seletar by Yong Yik Shih on 22nd. Resident Cuckoo species include a male Violet Cuckoo, Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus, videoed singing at Wilton Close on 12th by Lucy Davis. We think that this is its mating call, the first time we got it on tape.

Yellow-browed Warbler by Surin Kumar.

An uncommon Yellow-browed Warbler captured by Surin Kumar at Kembangan.

Other migrants on the way back include the two rare Wagtails, Forest, Dendronanthus indicus, at Lower Pierce Boardwalk on the 4th by Lee Van Hien, White Wagtail, Motacilla alba, at Lorong Halus on 7th by Lim Kim Seng. Two warblers, Yellow-browed, Phylloscopus inornatus  on a fig tree at Kembangan photographed by Surin Kumar on 15th and two Eastern-crowned Warblers, Phylloscopus coronatus, at Sime Forest on 30th by Lim Kim Seng. A single uncommon Sand Martin, Riparia riparia, was seen hawking insects by Lim Kim Keang also at Halus on 15th. A Hooded Pitta, Pitta sordida  at Sime Forest on 25th by Francis Yap. Three Daurian Starlings, Sturnus sturninus was seen at Kent Ridge Park during ABC on 22nd by Alan OwYong. The adult Malaysian Night Heron, Gorsachius melanolophus, that was first reported last month returned to the Jacob Ballas Children Gardens on the 12th. Craig Williams was there to capture it.

Javan Pond Heron

A Javan Pond Heron is breeding plumage taken at Farmway 3 by Francis Yap.

The pond herons at the Farmway 3 drain have started to assume their summer plumages. Francis Yap photographed both the Javan and the Chinese Pond Herons, Ardeola speciosa and Ardeola bacchus, there on the 15th. We have only one record of a non-breeding visitor the Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu. A male was photographed by Diana Jackson at Bidadari on 17th.

Notable resident species reported were a Yellow-crested Cockatoo, Cacatua sulphurea at the Singapore Botanic Gardens on 1st by Robin Tan, a Sunda Scops Owl Otus lempiji and a Brown Hawk-Owl, Ninox scutulata, on 4th by Shunda Lee at the MacRitchie Boardwalk. A Little Spiderhunter, Arachnothera longirostra, at the Durian Loop on the 7th and the Chestnut-bellied Malkoha, Phaenicophaeus sumatranus, at Kent Ridge Park on 22nd both by Alan OwYong and a Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamoneus at Lorong Halus on 28th by Francis Yap.

Spotted Wood OwlCinnamon Bittern

The Pasir Ris Park young Spotted Wood Owlet and a Cinnamon Bittern from Halus by Francis Yap.

Breeding and post breeding records were evident with the sightings of an adult and juvenile Crested Goshawks, Accipiter trivirgatus, at Pasir Ris Park by Aldwin Recinto on 6th. Pasir Ris Park was also the breeding ground for our Spotted Wood Owls, Strix selopotu, where a pair of young was attracting hordes of photographers. The parents of a pair of Laced Woodpeckers, Picus vittatus, at the same park had to be happy with the successful fledging of its youngs. A pair of Changeable Hawk Eagles, Nisaetus cirrhatus,  was also preparing for a family at Mount Faber. Laurence Eu found a pair of Rufous-tailed Tailorbirds, Orthotomus sericeus building a nest at the Singapore Zoo on 4th.

Migrant raptor species reported were a Jerdon’s Baza, Aviceda jerdoni over at Halus on 1st by Lim Kim Keang, a Chinese Sparrowhawk, Accipiter soloensis, at Pasir Ris Park on 12th by Alan Ng, a hunting Peregrine Falcon, falco peregrinus, over at One-north Park on 13th by Alan OwYong and an adult female Japanese Sparrowhawk, Accipiter gularis, over at Punggol Barat on 24th by Joseph Tan.

There is only one reported casualty for the month. A juvenile Crested Goshawk, Accipiter trivirgatus crashed into a HDB block at the Bukit Timah area on the 20th, from David Tan.

Reference: The Avifauna of Singapore. Lim Kim Seng. 2009. Edited by Francis Yap. The above records are taken from the various bird FB groups. pages, reports and forums.  Many thanks for your postings. Thanks to Francis Yap, Craig Williams and Surin Kumar for the use of your photos.

Singapore Bird Report – February 2015

We are seeing many of the returning migrants on their way back north this month. Some will stay for a while to fuel up, others will just past through.

The outstanding sighting for the month was a bird that we have been expecting but unfortunately was only seen by a visiting birder. Canadian Gareth Puth reported to Kenneth Kee that he saw a Himalayan Griffon Vulture Gyps himalayansis flying over Fort Canning on the 14th. No subsequent sightings of this vagrant were reported. We are waiting for his full report for verification.

White-shoulderd Starling See Toh at Halus

White-shouldered Starling caught in flight by the fast lens of See Toh Yew Wai at Lorong Halus.

Returning migrants reported were a uncommon Ferruginous Flycatcher Muscicapa ferruginea at its favourite wintering Bidadari by Adrian Hall on 1st, a uncommon White-shouldered Starling Sturnus sinensis flying over Halus on 14th “captured” by See Toh Yew Wai and the rare Ruddy Kingfisher Halcyon coromanda at the Sime Forest on 19th by Ng Chay Tuan while looking for the Green-backed/Chinese Flycatcher Ficedula elisae.

Chloe Tan had been reporting about a very rare passage migrant Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius up at the Pinnacle@Duxton since December. She sent us another photo taken on the 17th of this month. Could it be wintering there? The female Siberian Stonechat Saxicola torquata reported in January is certainly wintering at the waste land at Punggol Barat based on Zacc HD’s 23/2 photo posted on fb

Most of us missed the rare Malaysian Night Heron Gorsachius melanolophus that was wintering at the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden photographed by Craig Williams on 13th.  He also reported a Blue-winged Pitta Pitta moluccenis wintering there as well. Another Blue-winged Pitta was reported at the Rifle Range Link on the same day by George Presanis.


This Von Schrenck’s Bittern was delighting us at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserves earlier this month.

On the 7th, Low Choon How was surprised to find a female Von Schrenck’s Bittern Ixobrychus eurththmus feeding in the open at the pond behind the Visitor’s Center at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserves. David Li at SBWR told us that they mist-netted and ringed it the day earlier. No matter, it was the main attraction during the first half of the month. (Matt Prior commented after the post that he saw this Bittern at the same pond on 2nd)

Orange-headed Thrush Frankie Lim

Uncommon Orange-headed Thrush performing well at Hindhede Nature Park, beautifully captured by Frankie Lim.

Just when we got tired of the Bittern, a pair of Orange-headed Thrushes Zoothera citrina innotata made its appearance at Hindhede Nature Park.  Choo Ju Tiek first spotted them on 21st competing for territory with our resident White-rumped Shama Copsychus malabaricus He also came across a juvenile Sunda Scops Owl Otus lempiji nearby but it did not stay around unlike the Thrushes. Soon the facebook pages were flooded with beautiful photos of this uncommon ground thrush.

Pin-tailed Snipe at Chinese Gardens by Alan Ng

You can just about see the “pins” tail feathers of this snipe taken at the Chinese Gardens by Alan Ng.

A lone snipe returned to the Lily pond at the Japanese Gardens on the 26th. It was later identified as the uncommon Pin-tailed Snipe Gallinago stenura by photo of tail feather spread from Alan Ng. This could be the same snipe that winters here last two years. Other snipe sightings were at Bishan Park and the canal at Farmway 3 as per email from Laurence Eu. Two Savanna Nightjars Caprimulgus affinis found the dark brown roof tiles of the Guest House at Japanese Gardens perfect for roosting as it can blend in.

As for raptors, a japonensis Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus was shot over a Punggol Barat by Aldwin Recinto on 21st, a Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus at the same place the next day by Zacc HD. Two records of our once rare resident Crested Goshawks Accipiter Trivirgatus  were coming in. Yam Tee Yang reported one at Pasir Ris Park on 23rd and another at West Coast Park from Toriwomtai on the 27th. A Grey-headed Fish Eagle Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus was seen perched on a dead tree at Dempsey Hill on 1st by Alan OwYong.

Purple Heron Nesting at Bishan Shirley Ng

Happy Purple Heron family at Bishan Park photographed by Shirley Ng. 

Breeding records were coming in and we were so happy to hear from Shirley Ng that the nationally near-threatened Purple Herons Ardea purpurea were feeding three grown-up chicks on top of an Angsana Tree at Bishan Park on 19th. On the 6th, Seng Alvin reported a Striated Heron Butorides striatus bringing back nesting material to the side of the river at his favourite stomping ground Pasir Ris Park. Robin Tan pointed out a Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis nesting at the Chinese Gardens on the 26th.

Zacc HD reported a Van Hasselt’s Sunbird Nectarnia sperata at Mount Faber, a first there, although there were previous records at Telok Blangah Hill and Sentosa. Good to see it spreading across the Ridge. Vincent Lao had an early arriving Blue-throated Bee-eater Merops viridis, a breeding visitor at Venus Loop on the last day of the month.

Great to end this month’s report without any bird casualties except for a disoriented Black Bittern Ixobrychus flavicollis found by Pamela Soh at the void deck of a HDB block at Jurong West on 26th.

Pied Cuckoo Micah Sixeight

We came across this late post in the Nature Society page in July of a sighting of the Pied Cuckoo Clamator jacobinus, (left) by Mark Oei on the 18th between the Halus bridge and the Tampines Expressway. This is our second record ( first on 4th December 2013) and first for the year.

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. All the records are taken from postings in various fb groups, pages and bird forums. Many thanks for your postings. Thanks to See Toh Yew Wai, Alan Ng, Shirley Ng, Mark Oei and Frankie Lim for the use of your photos. All rights belong to the respective photographers.