Tag Archives: Slaty-legged Crake

Singapore Bird Report – February 2019

February continues to dazzle with exciting migratory species, such as the elusive Slaty-legged Crake at Admiralty,  rare Sakhalin Leaf Warbler & Green-backed Flycatcher; rare resident race Ruddy Kingfisher at SBWR, as well as unusual sightings of familiar residents in new places. Chinese New Year treats include the Crakes and Chestnut-winged Cuckoo at Lorong Halus Wetland.

Slaty-legged Crake, 070219, Admiralty Park, Bee Choo Ng-Strange

Slaty-legged Crake at Admiralty Park on 7 February 2019, by Bee Choo Ng-Strange.

Slaty-legged Crake at Admiralty Park

The Slaty-legged Crake Rallina eurizonoides is rare winter visitor and passage migrant that is elusive and seldom encountered. Although listed as being of least concern (BirdLife, 2016), the species is said to be in decline. A rather large crake measuring about 25cm in length, the species is said to breed across South Asia to the Philippines, and certain populations is known to migrate within the region.

The most recent report concerned one that was photographed in a basement carpark at Haig Road in December 2018, as well as a hitherto unreported sighting at Admiralty Park on 3 December 2018 by Luke Milo Teo, who had been unsure of the species of crake he had photographed until the postings of the Haig Road bird. These were preceded by one found dead at Sentosa in December 2016, and a record on Jurong Island in January 2015. Thus, a sighting on 7 February 2019 at Admiralty Park by veteran birder Morten Strange, and his wife Bee Choo, was therefore greeted with much enthusiasm.

The crake was also seen on 8 February 2019 by Keita Sin. The last confirmed sighting of the crake was on 9 February 2019, reported by Khoo MeiLin, who noted that the crake, along with several White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus, frequented an evaporating pool during twilight hours to bathe before returning to the thick undergrowth within the vicinity.

Geoff 1

Photograph of one of several White-breasted Waterhen in the pond frequented by the crake at Admiralty Park at 7pm on 12 February 2019, illustrating the less-than-ideal state of the pond; taken by Geoff Lim.

Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR)

Sightings within the CCNR were confined to the initial days of February. On 2 February 2019, an Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx erithaca (black-backed subspecies), Crow-billed Drongo Dicrurus annectans and an unidentified Hawk Cuckoo were spotted around the vicinity of Dillenia Hut by Thio Hui Bing. Another Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher (black-backed subspecies) was spotted on 6 February 2019, as was a Green-backed Flycatcher Ficedula elisae by Raghav Narayanswamy. The same day also yielded a Sakhalin Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus borealoides at the MacRitchie Reservoir Park for Geoff Lim.

GBFC, Feb 19, Rifle Link, Fryap

This Green-backed Flycatcher was spotted sometime in February 2019 along Rifle Range Link, by Francis Yap.

Singapore Botanic Gardens (SBG)

On 8 February 2019, a Crow-billed Drongo Dicrurus annectans was spotted at SBG’s Learning Forest by Karyne Wee. On 17 February 2019, two White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata were spotted feeding in the Bambusetum by visiting Dutch ecologist, Tessa van Vreeswijk and Geoff Lim.

CB Drongo, 080219, SBG, Karyne Wee

A Crow-billed Drongo spotted inside the Learning Forest by Karyne Wee on 8 February 2019.

Geoff 2

A White-rumped Munia at the Bambusetum on 17 February 2019. Photo by Geoff Lim

Northern Singapore

Prior to the Chinese New Year season, Lorong Halus was a hotbed of activity due to the continued appearance of two rallids and a charismatic cuckoo. A Chestnut-winged Cuckoo Clamator coromandus on 2 February 2019 was reported by Lee Yue Teng, while a Ruddy-breasted Crake Porzana fusca was seen on the same day by Kok M Lee. Also spotted and posted on social media was the elusive Baillon’s Crake Porzana pusilla. The crake had been sighted in end December 2018 and continued to be seen in the reedbeds at the Lorong Halus Wetland during the Chinese New Year holidays.

CWC, 020219, Halus, Lee Yue Teng

A Chestnut-winged Cuckoo photographed at Lorong Halus on 2 February 2019 by Lee Yue Teng.

RB Crake, GEral KC Lim

A Ruddy-breasted Crake at Lorong Halus on 3 February 2019. Photo taken by Gerald KC Lim.

Visitors to Baker Street on 3 February 2019 noted the presence of two species of skulking bittern around the pond’s perimeter. A Black Bittern Ixobrychus flavicollis was spotted by See Toh Yew Wai, while a Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus was seen by Pan Denan. The pond also attracted a Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupu, which was seen on 21 February 2019 by Khoo Mei Lin.

BFO, 210219, Baker St, Khoo MeiLin

A Buffy Fish Owl was spotted at Baker Street on 21 February 2019; photo by Khoo MeiLin

Apart from the Slaty-legged Crake reported on 7 February 2019 by Morten Strange, other species reported in the north included a spectacular roosting by about 600-700 Blue-tailed Bee-eater Merops philippinus at Yishun Ring Road reported by Alfred Chia, a female Yellow-rumped Flycatcher Ficedula xanthopygia at Admiralty Park on 11 February 2019 by Alan Owyong, two Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax at Serangoon Reservor on 13 February 2019 by Wong Keng, and a Hooded Pitta Pitta sordida provided some relief to students when it flew in and out of a classroom at Anderson Secondary School on 15 February 2019, reported by Mohd Nasir Sani.

Eastern Singapore

Visitors to Pulau Ubin in February 2019 reported the presence of a Broad-billed Sandpiper Limicola falcinellus at Chek Jawa on 3 February 2019 (Adrian Silas Tay), as well as four Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus on 8 February 2019 by Teo Kah Ming, Joseph Lai and Joseph Lin. A Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinus was spotted at Pasir Ris Park on 12 Feb 2019 by Alvin Seng, while a Jerdon’s Baza Aviceda jerdoni was seen on Coney Island on 28 February 2019.

Southern Singapore

A Black Bittern Ixobrychus flavicollis found its way into an apartment at Geylang Lorong 29 on 12 February 2019 and injured itself during the process; the bird was reported by Kelvin Goh. A similar bittern was seen on 17 January 2019 at the Marine Parade Polyclinic and reported in last month’s report. A Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax turned up at Satay-by-the-Bay on 20 February 2019 and was reported by Sim Chip Chye. On the same day, a Crow-billed Drongo Dicrurus annectans was spotted on Sentosa by Alfred Chia. The island yielded an Orange-headed Thrush Geokichla citrina at Imbiah Falls on 28 February 2019 when Lim Kim Seng and David Mostardi visited the site.

Western Singapore

Western Singapore continued to provide an astonishing number of reports, given that many local Important Bird Areas are clustered in this part of the island nation.

The area around Kranj Marsh continues to support a wide variety of species. The marshes themselves hosted a Watercock Gallicrex cinerea, which was spotted on 3 February 2019 by Veronica Foo; while a Savanna Nightjar Caprimulgus affinis was encountered at Turut Track on 22 February 2019.

The nearby canal at Lim Chu Kang Avenue 3 supported a variety of species; a Pintail Snipe Gallinago stenura on 2 February 2019 by Benson Brighton, a Greater Painted Snipe Rostatula benghalensis on 3 February 2019 by Lim Kim Seng, an Eastern Yellow Wagtail Motacilla tschutschensis, two Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus, three White Wagtail Motacilla alba ocularis, four Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola, and five Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius  on 5 February 2019 by Yong Ding Li, Koji Ichiyama & Geoff Lim, as well as a Watercock Gallicrex cinerea on 6 February 2019 by Art Toh. Two adult and two juvenile Common Moorhen were spotted by Khoo Mei Lin on 6 February 2019 also.

Watercock, Art Toh

A Watercock spotted at Lim Chu Kang Avenue 3 on 6 February 2019 by Art Toh.

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The environs of the Lim Chu Kang Avenue 3 drain at low tide on 5 February 2019, visited by a Common Moorhen, a White-breasted Waterhen and a Little Egret, photo by Geoff Lim

GEoff 4

White Wagtail at Lim Chu Kang Avenue 3 on 5 February 2019, spotted by Yong Ding Li, Koji Ichiyama and Geoff Lim

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR) continued to surprise birders. On 4 February 2019, a rare resident race Ruddy Kingfisher Halcyon coromanda minor with a strong purplish gloss to its back was photographed by Siew Mun. Several days later on 7 February 2019, seven Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus were seen by Low Choon How, the highest number to date. An Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster was seen on 11 February 2019 by Lim Kim Keang and Veronica Foo.

Ruddy KF, 040219, SBWR, Siew Mun

The Ruddy Kingfisher at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. Photo taken by Siew Mun on 4 February 2019.

Farther afield in the west, we received news of a Grey Nightjar Caprimulgus jotaka along the railway track near Bukit Timah Drive by Richard White, who also noted the phenomenal congregation of about 660 Blue-throated Bee-eaters Merops viridis at Eng Kong Place on 9 February 2019.

Holland Drive yielded a Common Buzzard Buteo buteo on 4 February 2019 by Art Toh, a Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus on 5 February 2019 by Arasu Sivaraman and Spotted Wood Owl Strix seloputo on 25 February 2019 by Cedric Tan, an apparent first for the location.

Common Buzzard, 050219, Holland Dr, Art Toh

A Common Buzzard at Holland Drive on 4 February 2019 as photographed by Art Toh.

SWO, 260219, Holland Dr, Khoo MeiLin

Two Spotted Wood Owl at Holland Drive photographed on 26 February 2019 by Khoo MeiLin.

A fishing Grey-headed Fish-eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus at Pandan River attracted a steady following of bird photographers and birders alike, resulting in reports of a Black Bittern Ixobrychus flavicollis and a Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus on 21 February 2019 by Alan Owyong.

The West Coast Park complex yielded three Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea on 21 February 2019 at the Pasir Panjang Canal by Alan Voo, as well as a Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx nisicolor on 27 February 2019 by Steven Wong.

Abbreviations:
CCNR: Central Catchment Nature Reserve
SBG: Singapore Botanic Gardens
SBWR: Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
SBTB: Satay by the Bay

This report is based on records compiled by Alan OwYong, written by Geoff Lim, and edited by Tan Gim Cheong. The records are based on selected postings in various Facebook birding pages, bird forums, individual reports and extracts from eBird. 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 Bee Choo Ng-Strange, Khoo MeiLin, Francis Yap, Karyne Wee, Lee Yue Teng, Gerald KC Lim, Art Toh, Siew Mun and Geoff Lim for the use of their photos. 

References
BirdLife International (2016). Rallina eurizonoidesThe IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22692317A93347854. Downloaded on 27 March 2019.

List of Birds seen in February 2019

Family Species Date Location
Ciconiidae

 

Lesser Adjutant 8-Feb Pulau Ubin
Lesser Adjutant 7-Feb SBWR
Ardeidae

 

Cinnamon Bittern 3-Feb Baker Street
Cinnamon Bittern 21-Feb Pandan Canal
Black Bittern 3-Feb Baker Street
Black Bittern 12-Feb Geylang Lor 29
Black Bittern 21-Feb Pandan Canal
Black-crowned Night-heron 20-Feb SBTB
Black-crowned Night-heron 13-Feb Serangoon Reservoir
Anhingidae Oriental Darter 11-Feb SBWR
Accipitridae

 

Jerdon’s Baza 28-Feb Coney Island
Grey-headed Fish-eagle 8-Feb Pandan Canal
Common Buzzard 4-Feb Holland Drive
Rallidae

 

Slaty-legged Crake 7-Feb Admiralty Park
Ruddy-breasted Crake 2-Feb Lor Halus
Watercock 3-Feb Kranji Marsh
Watercock 6-Feb Lim Chu Kang Ave 3
Common Moorhen 5-Feb Lim Chu Kang Ave 3
Common Moorhen 6-Feb Lim Chu Kang Ave 3
Charadriidae Little Ringed Plover 5-Feb Lim Chu Kang Ave 3
Rostratulidae Greater Painted Snipe 3-Feb Lim Chu Kang Ave 3
Scolopacidae

 

Pin-tailed Snipe 2-Feb Lim Chu Kang Ave 3
Wood Sandpiper 5-Feb Lim Chu Kang Ave 3
Broad-billed Sandpiper 3-Feb Pulau Ubin
Cuculidae

 

Chestnut-winged Cuckoo 2-Feb Lor Halus
Banded Bay Cuckoo 12-Feb Pasir Ris Park
Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo 27-Feb West Coast Park
Hawk Cuckoo 2-Feb CCNR
Strigidae

 

Buffy Fish Owl 21-Feb Baker Street
Spotted Wood Owl 25-Feb Holland Drive
Caprimulgidae

 

Grey Nightjar 4-Feb Bukit Timah  Drive
Savanna Nightjar 22-Feb Turut Track
Alcedinidae

 

Ruddy Kingfisher 4-Feb SBWR
Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher 2-Feb CCNR
Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher 6-Feb CCNR
Meropidae

 

Blue-tailed Bee-eater 5-Feb Yishun Ring Road
Blue-throated Bee-eater 9-Feb Eng Khong Place
Falconidae Peregrine Falcon 5-Feb Holland Drive
Pittidae Hooded Pitta 15-Feb Anderson Sec School
Dicruridae

 

Crow-billed Drongo 2-Feb CCNR
Crow-billed Drongo 14-Feb Singapore Botanic Gardens
Crow-billed Drongo 20-Feb Sentosa
Phylloscopidae Sakhalin Warbler 6-Feb CCNR
Turdidae Orange-headed Thrush 28-Feb Sentosa
Muscicapidae

 

Yellow-rumped Flycatcher 11-Feb Admiralty Park
Green-backed Flycatcher 6-Feb CCNR
Motacillidae

 

Eastern Yellow Wagtail 5-Feb Lim Chu Kang Ave 3
Grey Wagtail 21-Feb Pasir Panjang Canal
White Wagtail 5-Feb Lim Chu Kang Ave 3
Estrildidae White-rumped Munia 17-Feb Singapore Botanic Gardens
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Singapore Bird Report – December 2018

The Eurasian Wigeon reappears in Singapore after 31 years! December marks the end of peak annual migration season, and the year-end holidays. As holiday makers make their way to colder climes, birds continue to stream into Singapore, yielding surprises like the Eurasian Wigeon, Cotton Pygmy Goose, Sakhalin Leaf Warbler, and the Oriental Scops Owl duo.

wigeon

Photograph of the Eurasian Wigeon at Kranji Marshes on 23 December 2018 by Alan Ng.

Eurasian Wigeon 

On the morning of 23 December 2018, an Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope was spotted within the confines of Kranji Marsh by Martin Kennewell. This remarkable sighting represents one of only two records of the Wigeon in Singapore; the last being an immature female associating with Whimbrel flocks in the ponds, mudflats and mangroves around Sungei Buloh between December 1986 and February 1987. It also underscores the importance of the Kranji freshwater habitat in supporting wetland species sensitive to human activity.  The closest known breeding territory for the bird is in Mongolia, although the species occurs throughout Asia and southeast Asia. Although listed as being of Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, this species is sensitive to human activity and faces pressure from habitat loss and hunting (Birdlife 2017).

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Eurasian Wigeon at Kranji Marshes on 23 December 2018 by Martin Kennewell showing the duck in the natural environment.

Cotton Pygmy Goose

While many were still reeling from the appearance of the mega-rare Eurasian Wigeon, news of a scarce Cotton Pygmy Goose Nettapus coromandelianus arriving at Lorong Halus on Christmas Eve rippled across social media. The last known appearance of the dimunitive duck in Singapore took place on 15 February 2016 at Satay by the Bay’s main pond; as the 2016 occurrence turned out to be a one-day bird, many birders and photographers abandoned their Christmas Eve plans for the afternoon to descend on the ponds of Lorong Halus. They were not disappointed as the bird continued to stay through Christmas till the end of 2018.

6

Photograph of the Cotton Pygmy Goose at Lorong Halus on 29 December 2018 by Lim Swee Kin.

The Cotton Pygmy Goose is found across India, southern China, southeast Asia, parts of Papua New Guinea and northern Australia. Listed on IUCN’s Red List as being of Least Concern, research is still needed to better understand threats and conservation issues regarding the bird (Birdlife 2016).

Oriental Scops Owl

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The rufous morph Oriental Scops Owl at Dairy Farm Nature Park on 10 December 2018. Photo taken by Lee Chin Pong

To the delight of many birders, the grey and rufous morph Oriental Scops Owl Otus surnia returned to the trees adjacent to Wallace Centre at Dairy Farm Nature Park (DFNP). On 5 December 2018, Lim Kim Keang spotted the rufous morph, which was joined by the grey morph on 9 December 2018. On 19 December 2018, David Tan reported the collection of a dead rufous morph Oriental Scops Owl from the vicinity of Eng Neo Avenue, an area abutting the CCNR. The bird may have crashed into a window before landing into a water feature, where it was subsequently retrieved from.

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A portrait of the grey morph Oriental Scops Owl at Dairy Farm Nature Park. Taken on 13 December 2018 by David Fur.

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A dead rufous morph Oriental Scops Owl obtained from the vicinity of Eng Neo Avenue on 19 December 2018. Photograph by David Tan.

Central Catchment Nature Reserve

As expected, reports of migrants dominate in the month of December. Apart from the reports of the Oriental Scops Owl and Sakhalin Leaf Warblers Phylloscopus borealoides, a Green-backed Flycatcher Ficedula elisae was observed just before Jelutong Tower on 17 December 2018 by Oliver Tan. Just before the year ended, a Hooded Pitta Pitta sordida appeared at the foot of Bukit Timah hill on 30 December 2018, as reported by Chin Yee Hong.

Central Singapore

A Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus was sighted at Bishan Park on 10 December 2018 by Ng Kian Chye. An unhappy report on 30 December 2018 was made by Nicholas Chiam, who found a Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx nisicolor that had expired at the base of Cathay Building along Dhoby Ghaut; a casualty from possibly colliding with the building while in flight. An uncommon Brown-streaked Flycatcher Muscicapa williamsoni was photographed at Gardens by the Bay on 26 December 2018 by Ng Wei Khim.

Northern Singapore 

Apart from the Cotton Pygmy Goose reported on Christmas Eve and described above, Halus Wetland Centre also yielded a Baillon’s Crake Porzana pusilla, which was spotted on 27 December 2018 by Alfred Chia, and subsequently photographed over the next few days by an assembly of photographers searching for the goose. A Hooded Pitta Pitta sordida was reported from Rivervale Cresent on 4 December 2018 by Jeff Long.

7

Photograph of the Baillon’s Crake at Lorong Halus on 30 December 2018 by Lim Swee Kin.

Eastern Singapore

A rare Slaty-legged Crake Rallina eurizonoides was reported to be in a basement carpark at Haig Road area on 29 December 2018, by Martin Kennewell. Another Hooded Pitta was reported from Simei Block 147 on 6 December 2018 by David Tan. Arising from the Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus reported in November, several interesting species were reported from the vicinity of Changi Business Park. These include a Short-toed Snake Eagle Circaetus gallicus reported on 5 December 2018 by Melinda Chan, a Chestnut-winged Cuckoo Clamator coromandus on 8 December 2018 by Lim Kim Keang, a White-shouldered Starling Sturnia sinensis on 11 December 2018 by Joseph Lim, and a Jerdon’s Baza Aviceda jerdoni on 13 December 2018 by Stuart Campbell.

Further afield, a Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola and Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus were seen on Pulau Tekong on 19 December 2018 by Frankie Cheong, while a pair of Cinnamon-headed Green Pigeons Treron fulvicollis and another Jerdon’s Baza were spotted on Pulau Ubin on 30 December 2018 by Diane Campbell.

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Photograph of the Short-toed Snake Eagle at Changi Business Park on 8 December 2018 by Chan Yoke Meng.

Southern Singapore

A Common Buzzard Buteo buteo was seen at Holland Road on 1 December 2018 by Art Toh, a first for the location. Arising from a fruiting fig tree at Telok Blangah Hill Park, several species of birds were reported from the location, including a Ferruginous Flycatcher Muscicapa ferruginea on 5 December 2018 and a Zappey’s or Blue-and-White Flycatcher Cyanoptila cumatilis or C. cyanomelana on 12 December 2018 by Anthony Nik and Jeremiah Loei, respectively. These were first for the location as well. A House Sparrow Passer domesticus was spotted at Gardens by the Bay on 23 December 2018 by Anthony Nik.

Western Singapore

A juvenile Grey-headed Fish Eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus spotted at Chinese Garden on 8 December 2018 by Loke Peng Fai. An Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca was reportedly seen on 15 December 2018 at Harvest Lane by Lim Kim Seng. The Eurasian Wigeon described above was seen at Kranji Marsh on 23 December 2018 by Martin Kennewell, while a Watercock Gallicrex cinerea was spotted at the same Marsh on Christmas Day (25 December 2018) by Art Toh. Boxing Day (26 December 2018) birding yielded a Forest Wagtail Dendronanthus indicus at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserves for Feroz, while an Eye-browed Thrush Turdus obscurus was seen at West Coast Drive on 28 December 2018 by Tay Kian Guan. Finally, we received delightful news of a male Greater Painted Snipe Rostratula benghalensis with three chicks at Kranji Marsh on 30 December 2018 by Hongxun.

9

Watercock on Christmas Day (25 December 2018) at Kranji Marshes. Photo by Art Toh.

Sakhalin Leaf Warbler

Birders and scientists acknowledge that Phylloscopus warblers represent one of the most difficult species to identify. The Pale-legged and Sakhalin Leaf Warblers are cases in point as both are remarkably similar, in fact they were previously considered conspecific, i.e. same species.

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Sakhalin Leaf Warbler at the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, 14 Janaury 2019, photo by Koh Lian Heng.

Pale-legged Leaf Warblers largely come from northeast Asia, and spend their winter months in southeast Asia. Sakhalin Leaf Warblers are found from the Sakhalin Island, down large swathes of Japan, as well as along coastal China from Weihai to an area the south of Xiamen. Wintering records of the species sparsely dot places in Vietnam, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia. As it stands, only the Sakhalin Leaf Warbler is in the NSS bird checklist, the Pale-legged has yet to be recorded.

In 2014, a team of Singapore birders comprising Lim Kim Keang, Francis Yap, Yong Ding Li, Albert Low and Con Foley worked with NUS scientists to firmly establish the species as a rare accidental visitor to Singapore (Yap, et al, 2014). Then, Lim Kim Keang heard a Leaf Warbler calling in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve; conventional wisdom suggested that this was probably a Pale-legged Leaf Warbler. However, analysis of the recorded calls and comparisons with the known calls of the two species in question showed that the bird was a Sakhalin Leaf Warbler, as the calls were at a frequency lower than that of the Pale-legged Leaf Warbler.

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Detective work by our Singaporean birders. Extract of sonographic records from Yap et al, (2014) showing how the calls of the Pale-legged Leaf Warbler may be distinguished from the Sakhalin Leaf Warbler by distinct differences in their frequencies.

On 27 December 2018, when several high-frequency calls were heard by Lim Kim Chuah while jogging around MacRitchie Reservoir Park, several birders ventured to determine which Leaf Warbler species that was. Their effort revealed that up to three birds were calling within an area measuring about 500m by 250m. Detailed examination by Yong Ding Li of one of the calling birds revealed that it was a Sakhalin Leaf Warbler.

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Sonogram of the Sakhalin Leaf Warbler at the Central Catchment Nature Reserve on 31 December 2018 (Yong, 2018).

Photographing the birds proved harder as they tended to be more furtive and often skulked in the darker sections below the canopies of trees, as well as descending to the darkened forest floor to forage. Several photographers managed to obtain decent photos, to reveal a bird that superficially resembles the common Arctic Warbler, but has distinguishing marks such as pinkish legs and a conspicuously long buffy eye-stripe that extends almost to the nape. The bird’s skulking behaviour, as well as its propensity to descend to the ground level, contrasts greatly with the canopy-loving Arctic Warbler.

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Sakhalin Leaf Warbler at the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, 15 January 2019, demonstrating that the warbler’s propensity for the cover of the canopy. Photo by Koh Lian Heng.

References

BirdLife International 2017. Mareca penelope (amended version of 2016 assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T22680157A111892532.  http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-1.RLTS.T22680157A111892532.en. Downloaded on 23 January 2019.

BirdLife International (2016a). Nettapus coromandelianusThe IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22680090A92842427. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22680090A92842427.en. Downloaded on 23 January 2019.

BirdLife International (2016b). Phylloscopus tenellipesThe IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22715324A94448249. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22715324A94448249.en. Downloaded on 23 January 2019.

BirdLife International (2016c). Phylloscopus borealoidesThe IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22715329A94448458. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22715329A94448458.en. Downloaded on 23 January 2019.

Robson, C. (2005) A field guide to the birds of South-East Asia. London: New Holland.

Wells, D. R. (2007) The birds of the Thai-Malay peninsula, 2. London: Academic Press.

Yap, Francis & Yong, D. L., Low, W. B., Cros, E., Foley, C., Lim, K. K.  & Rheindt, E. F. (2014). “First wintering record of the Sakhalin Leaf Warbler.” Phylloscopus borealoides in South- East Asia, with notes on vocalisations. BirdingAsia. 21. 76-81.

Yong, D.L. (2018)  Audio Recording XC448228 of Sakhalin Leaf Warbler on 31 December 2018. Accessible at http://www.xeno-canto.org/448228.

Abbreviations:
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 compiled by Geoff Lim and Alan OwYong, and edited by Tan Gim Cheong. It is based on selected postings in various Facebook birding pages, bird forums, individual reports and extracts from eBird. 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 Lee Chin Poh, David Fur, David Tan, Martin Kennewell, Ng Alan, Lim Swee Kin, Koh Lian Heng and Art Toh for the use of their photos. 

 List of bird sightings in report

Family Species Date
Anatidae Cotton Pygmy Goose 24 Dec 2018
Eurasian Wigeon 23 Dec 2018
Ardeidae Cinnamon Bittern 10 Dec 2018
Great Egret 2 Dec 2018
Accipitridae Jerdon’s Baza 13 Dec 2018
Jerdon’s Baza 30 Dec 2018
Short-toed Snake Eagle 5 Dec 2018
Imperial Eagle 15 Dec 2018
Grey headed Fish Eagle 8 Dec 2018
Common  Buzzard 1 Dec 2018
Rallidae Slaty-legged Crake 29 Dec 2018
Ballion’s Crake 27 Dec 2018
Watercock 25 Dec 2018
Charadriidae Grey Plover 19 Dec 2018
Rostratulidae Greater Painted Snipe 30 Dec 2018
Scolopacidae Terek Sandpiper 19 Dec 2018
Strigidae Oriental Scops owl 5 Dec 2018
Oriental Scops owl 19 Dec 2018
Columbidae Cinnamon-headed Green Pigeon 30 Dec 2018
Cuculidae Chestnut-winged Cuckoo 8 Dec 2018
Hodgson’s Hawk cuckoo 30 Dec 2018
Pittidae Hooded Pitta 4 Dec 2018
Hooded Pitta 6 Dec 2018
Hooded Pitta 30 Dec 2018
Dicruridae Ashy Drongo 2 Dec 2018
Phylloscopidae Sakhalin Leaf Warbler 27 Dec 2018
Sturnidae White-shouldered Starling 11 Dec 2018
Turdidae Eye-browed Thrush 28 Dec 2018
Muscicapidae Brown-streaked FC 26 Dec 2018
Ferruginous Flycatcher 5 Dec 2018
B&W/Zappey’s FC 12 Dec 2018
Green-backed Flycatcher 17 Dec 2018
Passeridae House Sparrow 23 Dec 2018
Motacillidae Forest Wagtail 26 Dec 2018

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).

mip-lee-tiah-khee

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.

oriental-cuckoo

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.

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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.

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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).

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

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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.

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.

References:

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. 

 

Records Committee Report 2015-Rarities.

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Short-toed Snake Eagle at Changi Grasslands, one of the 11 rarities accepted. Photo: Alan OwYong.

Besides deciding on new additions, the Records Committee also review records of rare species that are already in the Check List. This review is important to monitor the abundance or otherwise of such species. The Records Committee wishes to thank everyone who send in their records of rare species for review.

Rarities

The following rarities were accepted during the period:

Lesser Frigatebird Fregata ariel:  1 reported at the Singapore Straits on 28 Oct 2012 by Francis Yap et al.

Short-toed Snake Eagle Circaetus gallicus: 1 reported at Changi on 23 Dec 2012 by Francis Yap, Yong Yik Shih, Alan Owyong and Lim Kim Keang.

Besra Accipiter virgatus: 1 reported at Changi on 17 Nov 2012 by Lau Jiasheng and another at the same site on 7 Dec 2012 by TK Lee, Yong Yik Shih and Lim Kim Seng.

Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga: 1 juvenile photographed and seen at Changi by Lim Kim Chuah, Lim Kim Seng and Lee Tiah Khee was our first record of the “fulvescens” form.

Slaty-legged Crake Rallina eurizonoides: 1 reported on Jurong Island on 21 Nov 2015 by Lim Kim Chuah.

Grey-headed Lapwing Vanellus cinereus: 1 seen at Singapore Botanic Gardens on 16 Nov 2015 by Richard White.

Parasitic Jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus: 3 reported at the Singapore Straits on 20 Nov 2011 by Horst Flotow, Francis Yap, Lee Tiah Khee, Doreen Ang, Alfred Chia, Lim Kim Keang and Lim Kim Seng, and 3 at the same site on 23 Oct 2012 by Francis Yap et al.

Long-tailed Jaeger Stercorarius longicaudus: 1 reported at the Singapore Straits on 13 May 2012 by Francis Yap and other observers.

Streaked Bulbul Ixos malaccensis: 4-6 reported at Bukit Timah on 18 Jul 2015 by Francis Yap.

Asian House Martin Delichon dasypus: 1 seen at Nassim Hill on 17 Nov 2015 by Richard White.

Yellow-eared Spiderhunter Arachnothera chrysogenys: 1 reported at the Central Catchment Nature Reserve on 20 Nov 2014 by Francis Yap.

The following submissions on rarities were not accepted due to lack of conclusive evidence:

Asian House Martin Delichon dasypus: 1 seen at Bukit Timah on 18 Dec 2012.

Dusky Warbler Phylloscopus fuscatus: 1 reported at Sengkang Wetlands on 22 Jan 2012.

Chinese Blue Flycatcher Cyornis glaucicomans: 1 reported at Bukit Timah on 18 Dec 2012.

Plain Sunbird Anthreptes simplex: 1 reported at Bukit Timah on 18 Dec 2012.

Compiled by Lim Kim Seng on behalf of the Records Committee.

Singapore Bird Monthly Report – November 2015

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The very rare winter visitor and passage migrant, Slaty-legged Crake, made land fall at the restricted Jurong Island. Photo: Lim Kim Chuah.

With many parts of Singapore receiving above average rainfall over the month of November, it was no surprise that sightings of many rare migrants followed suit as they sought shelter from inclement weather. Highlights for the month include an adult male Zappey’s Flycatcher Cyanoptila cumatilis at Bidadari on 2nd (FYAP), at least two Northern Boobooks Ninox japonica at Tuas on 9th, a Besra Accipiter virgatus photographed flying over Sisters’ Island on 13th (JS), a Grey-headed Lapwing Vanellus cinereus, and an Asian House Martin Delichon dasypus, both flying over the Botanic Gardens on 16th and 17th (RW), and a Slaty-legged Crake Rallina eurizonoides at Jurong Island on 21st (LKC).

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Male Zappey’s Flycatcher (left) formally treated as a race of the Blue and White Flycatcher. Photo: Zacc HD.

Both the Zappey’s Flycatcher and the Northern Boobook are currently not in our Checklist. The Zappey’s Flycatcher is split from the Blue-and-White Flycatcher while the Northern Boobook is a migratory species from East Asia that was split from the Brown Hawk Owl. The Records Committee is reviewing these records for inclusion under Category A. There are less than five confirmed records of the Besra as it is difficult to separate from the Japanese Sparrowhawk in flight. In addition, this is only our 6th record of the Slaty-legged Crake in Singapore, with the last two individuals recorded at Bedok and Lower Pierce respectively.  We have only two previous records of the vagrant Grey-headed Lapwing, on 11 October 2007 and 5th Nov 2011 both from Sungei Buloh. The Asian House Martin is a rare passage migrant with sporadic records over the years. These records are now with the Records Committee for deliberation.

Northern Boobook LCHand the current record is under review by the Records Committee.

Ninox spp with its tear drop streaks photographed at Tuas is waiting for acceptance as the migrant Northern Boobook. Photo: Low Choon How.

Other noteworthy sightings for the month are lengthy and include a Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus at Turut Ponds on 1st (SRN), a Sand Martin Riparina ripanria and Schrenck’s Bittern Ixobrychus eurthythmus at Tuas on the 1st (LKK & TJL), a Japanese Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone atrocauda at Bidadari on 2nd (FYAP), a breeding plumaged Javan Pond Heron Ardeola speciosa flying over the Botanic Gardens on 2 November (RW),  a Greater Spotted Eagle, Aquila clanga over at Tuas South on 4th ( KLH) and 11th (FYAP), a Grey Nightjar Caprimulgus indicus, at Bidadari on 6th (JT), a Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes at Pulau Tekong on 14th (FCh), a Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus over at Punggol Island on 14th (ZHD),  White-shouldered Starling Sturnus sinensis at Tuas on 15th (STYW), Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus, at Tuas South (STYW) and Black-capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata, at SBWR on 16th (LE), an Oriental Cuckoo Cuculus saturatus at Chinese Gardens on 17th (PT) and a White Wagtail Motacilla alba, at Punggol Barat on 29th (STYW).

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First Winter male Mugimaki Flycatcher at Dairy Farm NP.

Additionally, a fruiting tree at Dairy Farm Nature Park was a magnet for many migratory birds. Reports indicate that at its peak there were at least 6 Siberian Thrushes, Geokicla sibirica (CKS), in various plumages present at the tree. An Eye-browed Thrush Turdus obscurus was also photographed feeding at the tree with them on 25th (ANg) while a first winter male Blue-and-White Flycatcher Cyanoptila cyanomelana was showing regularly towards the end of the month, having been first sighted on 23rd (FL). It was joined by a Mugimaki Flycatcher Ficedula mugimaki, which was first reported at Dairy Farm on 21st (VNg).

Other regular winter visitors reported over the month include a subadult Large Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx sparverioides, that crashed into Shuqun Primary School on 2nd ( SC), another Large Hawk Cuckoo, a juvenile, at Jurong Island on 20th (FW), Blue-winged Pitta Pitta moluccenis at Bidadari on 4th ( KY), the largest one day count of 894 Oriental Honey Buzzards Pernis ptilorhyncus over Tuas South on 9th (TGC), Chestnut-winged Cuckoo Clamator coromandus at Bidadari on 14th (VL), Yellow-billed Egret Mesophoyx intermedia at SBWR on 16th (LE) and a Black Bittern Ixobrychus flavicollis at Gardens by the Bay on 21st (JC).

We also had several reports of non-breeding visitors throughout the month. A Cinereous Bulbul, Hemixos flavala was recorded at P. Hantu on 1st (RT & Co), an Osprey Pandion haliaetus over Punggol Island on 14th (ZHD), two Crested Serpent Eagles Spilornis cheela over at Kent Ridge Park on 21st (AOY & KS) and a Streaked Bulbul Ixos malaccensis at Dairy Farm on 28th (AC).

References: The Avifauna of Singapore. Lim Kim Seng, 2009. A Field Guide to the Birds of Thailand and South-east Asia. Craig Robson. 2000. A Naturalist Guide to the Birds of Singapore. Yong Ding Li, Lim Kim Chuah and Lee Tiah Khee. 2013.

This report is compiled from the postings in various facebook birding pages, bird forums and individual reports. Some were not verified. We wish to thank the following contributors for their records. Francis Yap (FYAP), Jacky Soh (JS), Richard White (RW), Lim Kim Chuah (LKC), Subha and Raghav Narayenswany (SRN), Lim Kim Keang (LKK), Tan Julin (TJL), Frankie Cheong (FCh), See Toh Yew Wai (STYW), Chan Kai Soon (CKS), Philip Toh (PT), Vincent Ng (VNg), Alan Ng (ANg), Frankie Lim (FL), Zacc HD (ZHD), Laurence Eu (LE), Felix Wong (FW), Kwong Yew (KY), Tan Gim Cheong (TGC), Vincent Lao (VL), Johnson Chua (JC), Robin Tan (RT), Alan OwYong (AOY), Keita Sin (KS) and Alfred Chia (AC). We wish to thank Zacc HD, Lim Kim Chua, Low Choon How and Alan OwYong for the use of their photographs.