Tag Archives: Torquatus

Singapore Raptor Report – January 2019

JB, 060119, Halus, Mettalady Yeo

Jerdon’s Baza, at Lorong Halus, on 6 Jan 2019, by Angela Yeo

Summary for migrant species:

In January, 90 raptors of 7 migrant species were recorded. Up to six Jerdon’s Bazas Aviceda jerdoni were recorded at Lorong Halus-Coney Island area throughout the month, one at Bukit Timah Hill on the 12th and another found wintering at Changi Business Park from the 27th onwards.

Nine Japanese Sparrowhawks Accipiter gularis were recorded: two at Kranji Marshes, and singles at Mount Faber, Bukit Timah area, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR), Dempsey Road, West Coast Park, Punggol Promenade and Arena Country Club. A single Chinese Sparrowhawk Accipiter soloensis was recorded at Lorong Halus on the 5th.

Three Western Ospreys Pandion haliaetus were recorded, one at Sungei Buloh, one at the Central Catchment on the 23rd and another at Pulau Ubin on the 30th. Three migrant Peregrine Falcons Falco peregrinus were recorded, one at Gardens by the Bay, one at Kranji Marshes and one in the Bukit Timah area.

For the 29 Black Baza Aviceda leuphotes recorded, eight were at Serangoon Avenue 3. Lastly, a total of 31 migrant Oriental Honey Buzzards Pernis ptilorhyncus were recorded in January.

CHE dm, 060119, Serangoon Res, Zhang Licong

Changeable Hawk Eagle, dark morph, at Serangoon Reservoir, on 6 Jan 2019, by Zhang Licong

Highlights for sedentary species:

Amazingly, four Crested Serpent Eagles Spilornis cheela were recorded, one at the Botanic Gardens on the 2nd, one at Malcolm Road on the 14th, one at SBWR on the 16th and one at Pulau Ubin on the 20th. An Eastern Barn Owl Tyto delicatula was photographed in the daytime at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve on the 17th.

Three torquatus Oriental Honey Buzzzards were recorded in January, one at Mount Faber on the 2nd, and up to two immatures at Pasir Ris Park between the 7th and 31st. Three ernesti Peregrine Falcons were reported, one at Bishan on the 6th and two in the CBD.

OHB, tor, 080119, PRP, Alvin Seng crop

Oriental Honey Buzzard, immature torquatus, at Pasir Ris Park, on 8 Jan 2019, by Alvin Seng

The other sedentary raptors recorded included four Grey-headed Fish Eagles, four Crested Goshawk, seven Changeable Hawk-Eagles, ten Black-winged Kites, and the common White-bellied Sea Eagles and Brahminy Kites.

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For more details, please see the pdf Singapore Raptor Report – January 2019

Compiled by Tan Gim Cheong

Many thanks to everyone who had reported their sightings in one way or another, and also thanks  to Angela Yeo, Zhang Licong, and Alvin Seng for the use of their photos.

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Singapore Raptor Report, Early Autumn Migration, July-September 2018

OHB, 220718, TEG

An immature Oriental Honey Buzzard, showing a mixture of juvenile and adult tail as well as wing feathers, at Tampines Eco Green, 22 July 2018, by Pary Sivaraman

Summary:

The early migrants included all the five expected species, namely the Western Osprey, Oriental Honey Buzzard, Japanese Sparrowhawk, Chinese Sparrowhawk and Peregrine Falcon, during the July to September period.

A total of 27 Oriental Honey Buzzards were recorded. At least nine were immature orientalis, which would be individuals hatched last year, spending the summer here this year and migrating to the north only next spring. One torquatus tweeddale morph was photographed at Mandai Road on 10 July, and another at Pasir Ris Park on 24 & 25 August, both being adult males.

Twenty nine Japanese Sparrowhawks were recorded, a much higher number compared with the same period last year when only five were recorded. The first  arrival was on 1 September at Kranji Marsh; seven around the central forests from mid-to-end September; one at Pulau Ubin and 20 at the southern ridges, notably 8 on 27 September and 11 on 29 September at Henderson Waves.

The three Chinese Sparrowhawks recorded were all juveniles. The first arrival was a single bird on 24 September at Henderson Waves, followed by another on 29 September and the last one at Pulau Ubin on 30 September.

One Western Osprey was recorded at Yishun Dam on 18 August and another at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR) on 24 Sep. At Lower Pierce after sunset on 24 September, a sparrowhawk, not identified to species, was going after bats.

Five Peregrine Falcons were recorded, however only the individual on 24 September at  SBWR is likely to be a migrant, with the rest being of the resident ernesti subspecies. The individuals recorded at Hindhede park on 28 July, and Pulau Ubin near the jetty on 19 & 22 August, both perched on telecom towers, were noted as ernesti. The other two recorded on 21 July at Gardens by the Bay, and 25 July at Changi Coastal Road were probably ernesti as well.

CGH catch rat, 280918, PRP mangrove, Alvin Seng

Adult Crested Goshawk showing the crest, the thick dark tailbands, and finely barred ‘thighs’, with a rat, at Pasir Ris Park, 28 Sep 2018, by Alvin Seng

For the resident raptors, seven species were recorded, and only the notable records are highlighted. A young White-bellied Sea Eagle was observed sitting on a nest at Loyang on 9 July. A Brahminy Kite was mobbed by crows at Lorong Halus on 28 August. For the Crested Goshawk, two juveniles recorded during this period are good signs of breeding, one at Windsor Nature Park on 7 July and another at Bidadari on 28 September.

Two Crested Serpent Eagles were recorded. One individual photographed by Benny Ng at Yusof Ishak Secondary School on 18 August was notably a juvenile, which is rarely seen in Singapore. The other was an adult photographed flying over the Learning Forest at the Botanic Gardens on 25 September.

CSE, 180818, Yusof Ishak Sec, Benny Ng, FB NSS

A juvenile Crested Serpent Eagle, at Yusof Ishak Secondary School (Bukit Batok Street 25), on 18 August 2018, by Benny Ng

For a pdf version with more details, please click Singapore Raptor Report, Early Autumn Migration, Jul-Sep 2018

Many thanks to everyone for their records and to Pary Sivaraman, Alvin Seng and Benny Ng for the use of their photos.

Singapore Raptor Report, Late Spring Migration, April-June 2018

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Oriental Honey Buzzard with what appears to be ‘landing lights’ at the shoulders! Goldhill Avenue, 6 April, 2018, by Zacc HD.

Summary:

Six migrant raptor species were recorded in the April to June period, a 50% increase compared to the previous year. The ‘additional’ species were the Black Kite and Black Baza. The other four species are regulars during this period – the Osprey, Oriental Honey-buzzard, Japanese Sparrowhawk and Peregrine Falcon.

A juvenile Black Kite Milvus migrans, a scarce visitor, was photographed at Choa Chu Kang christian cemetery on the 12th, scavenging on leftover food together with more than 20 Brahminy Kites; the kite was there for five days, from the 12-16 April. A single Black Baza Aviceda leuphotes was recorded at Pulau Ubin on 3 April.

Of the 22 Oriental Honey Buzzards Pernis ptilorhyncus recorded, one was of the torquatus race and at least 13 were of the orientalis race. Of the orientalis race, all were juveniles or second calendar year birds – six of these young birds were recorded in April, 4 in May and 3 in June. Interestingly, Zacc HD photographed an individual, at Goldhill Avenue in April, that showed features that looked like ‘landing lights’ (white patches) at the shoulders, which could lead the uninitiated to think that they had seen a Booted Eagle. The single torquatus was recorded only on one day, on 6 May at Bukit Timah near the hill top.

Records of the Japanese Sparrowhawk Accipiter gularis spanned from 1-20 April. Eight were seen at Jelutong Tower on the 1st, flying north; up to three were on Pulau Ubin, with the rest being singles at Dairy Farm Nature Park, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR), Kranji Marshes, Choa Chu Kang, and the last one at Jelutong Tower on the 20th.

Five Peregrine Falcons Falco peregrinus were recorded, one at Kranji Marshes-SBWR area in April, one each at Pulau Ubin and Bishan Park in April, and one each at Neptune Court and Goldhill Avenue in May. A single Western Osprey Pandion haliaetus was recorded at the Kranji Marshes-SBWR area from April to June, and another at Seletar in April and May.

CHE, 200418, KM, male of a nesting pair, female dark morph, TGC_1575

Changeable Hawk Eagle, a young pale morph male still in immature plumage, judged to be a second year bird, that paired with a dark morph female to raise a chick at Kranji Marshes, in flight after delivering food to the nest, 20 April 2018, by Tan Gim Cheong

Sedentary Raptors

One Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela was present at Goldhill Avenue area in April and May, with the exception of 9 April when two birds were seen. In addition, one individual was recorded at SBWR on 6 June.

For the Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus, there were 2 records each in April and May, and one in June. Next, for the Grey-headed Fish Eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus, there were 2 at Springleaf Nature Park and one at Seletar Camp in April, and one each at SBWR and Singapore Quarry in June.

One Black-winged Kite Elanus caeruleus was recorded at Kranji Marshes in April and May, and another at Yio Chu Kang in May.  The common Brahminy Kite Haliastur Indus was recorded in all 3 months and a maximum of 24 were recorded at Choa Chu Kang Christian cemetery in April, feeding on food scraps. 

Breeding Records

Three nestings of the White-bellied Sea Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster were observed during this period, one at Bukit Merah/SGH with at least one fledgling in early May, another at West Coast Park with at least one fledgling in early June and the best known one at Fort Canning with two chicks fledging in June.

A nest of the  Changeable Hawk-Eagle Nisaetus cirrhatus, with one dark morph adult and a young chick covered in white down on an Albizia tree at Kranji Marshes, was first reported on 3 April. During observations in April and May, the dark morph adult was usually present with the chick. The male, a pale morph and smaller in size compared to the dark morph, was observed to deliver food on the morning of 20 April and 19 May, leaving soon after on both occasions, leaving the female to feed the prey to the chick. Interestingly, the male was still in typical immature plumage with little streaking on breast and judged to be a second calendar year individual.

Nocturnal Raptors

A Sunda Scops Owl Otus lempiji flew into an apartment at Hougang Central on the night of 3 May surprising Janani Srinivasan, and the bird was guided out safely. On 24 May, Peter Ding had the good luck of encountering a Barred Eagle Owl Bubo sumatranus near Singapore Quarry and managed to photograph it. An Eastern Barn Owl Tyto delicatula was found at a Sims Drive condominium on 2 April, and another roosting in a stand of trees by the seaside along a path at Punggol end on 9 Jun, during the day. An unfortunate Spotted Wood Owl Strix seloputo was found dead on 28 April at Bartley.

Breeding Records of Nocturnal Raptors

The Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupu fledgling at SBWR was seen on 3 April and 20 May. A Spotted Wood Owl chick, partially covered in white downy feathers, fell to the ground at Pasir Ris Park on 5 April and was placed back onto the tree by rescuers (it had previously fallen on 23 March and similarly rescued). The same chick had reportedly fledged on 21 April but was found on the ground, unable to clamber up the trees, and was again placed back onto the tree. By 25 April the young owl appeared to have truly fledged. A family of Sunda Scops Owl Otus lempiji, with a fledgling, was present at Pasir Ris Park (PRP) on several days in May, roosting in a dense stand of small trees.

For a pdf version with more details, please click Singapore Raptor Report, Late Spring Migration, Apr-Jun 2018, v2

Many thanks to everyone for sending in / sharing their records and to Zacc HD for the use of his photo.

Singapore Raptor Report – January 2018

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Peregrine Falcon, juvenile, at Kranji Marshes, on 14 Jan 2018, by Goh Cheng Teng

Summary for migrant species:

In January, 75 raptors of 9 migrant species were recorded. Apart from singles at Coney Island and Pasir Ris Park, a flock of 8 Jerdon’s Baza Aviceda jerdoni was recorded at Lorong Halus Wetlands on the 20th. The grey morph Oriental Scops Owl Otus sunia found on 9 Dec at Dairy Farm Nature Park was still around on 19 Jan. A juvenile Black Kite Milvus migrans (lineatus), a scarce migrant, was photographed at Bulim Avenue on the 15th and 21st.

A female Chinese Sparrowhawk Accipiter soloensis was still wintering at Ang Mo Kio, while another sub-adult female was photographed at Lorong Halus on the 20th. Only three Japanese Sparrowhawks Accipiter gularis were recorded: one at Sentosa on the 3rd, one at Tampines Eco Green on the 20th and another at Mount Faber on the 26th, all were juveniles.

Two Western Ospreys Pandion haliaetus were recorded, at the usual spots: one at Sungei Buloh – Kranji area and the other at Seletar Dam. Of the four Peregrine Falcons Falco peregrinus, one juvenile was at Pulau Ubin on the 7th, another juvenile at Jurong West also on the 7th, one at Sungei Buloh – Kranji area on multiple days, and the last one at Seletar Airport on the 27th.

For the Black Baza Aviceda leuphotes, up to 13 were in the Lorong Halus – Tampines area, 2 at Telok Blangah and another 5 at One North. Lastly, a total of 34 Oriental Honey Buzzards Pernis ptilorhyncus were recorded in January.

OHB, 020118, AMK, TErence Tan, torquatus tweeddale 2

Oriental Honey Buzzard, torquatus tweeddale morph, at Ang Mo Kio, on 2 Jan 2018, by Terence Tan.

Highlights for sedentary species:

January was a good month for the torquatus form of the Oriental Honey Buzzzard as four of these showed up, all of the tweeddale morph, one at Ang Mo Kio on the 2nd, one at Pasir Ris – Tampines area between the 2nd to 8th, one at Bukit Timah on the 18th, and one at Chinese Garden on the 31st.

The Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus pair at Sentosa was observed breaking off twigs for their nest and feeding on rodents at the beginning of the month; and as the leaves on the tree grew back, their nest high up the upper branches probably became more difficult to observe. Individuals were recorded at Pasir Ris, Mandai, and Telok Blangah, and another three at the Botanic Gardens.

The other sedentary raptors recorded included two Grey-headed Fish Eagle, two Black-winged Kites, nine Changeable Hawk-Eagles and the common White-bellied Sea Eagles and Brahminy Kites.

Table 1, revised

Addendum
Changes (highlighted in yellow) include additional records of 1 Brahminy Kite, 2 White-bellied Sea Eagles, 1 Grey-headed Fish Eagle, 2 Changeable Hawk-Eagles and 1 unidentified Accipiter.

For a pdf version (revised) with more details, please click Singapore Raptor Report – Jan 2018, revised

Compiled by Tan Gim Cheong  

Many thanks to everyone who had reported their sightings in one way or another, and also thanks  to Goh Cheng Teng and Terence Tan for the use of their photos.

Which Honey Buzzard is this? Alan OwYong and Tan Gim Cheong.

OHB at PRP Seng Alvin

Juvenile Oriental Honey Buzzard (orientalis) at Pasir Ris Park that prompted this blog. Photo: Seng Alvin.

Seng Alvin  posted a photo of a juvenile Oriental Honey Buzzard on Bird Sightings FB page recently. After some discussion he asked “Can tell me the specific species of OHB?.  What he wanted to know is if there a difference between a Crested Honey Buzzard and an Oriental Honey Buzzard? What is a resident torquatus race? We will try to answer these questions in this blog.

OHB Seng Alvin

A maturing adult Oriental Honey Buzzard (orientalis), the most common sub species that passed through Singapore during the winter months. Photo: Seng Alvin.

For simplicity, let’s consider that the genus Pernis” broadly consists of Western Honey Buzzard (P. apivorus), Eastern Honey Buzzard (P. ptilorhynchus) and Barred Honey Buzzard (P. celebensis) belonging to the endemic races in The Philippines and Indonesia.

The Western Honey Buzzard is a summer migrant to Europe and West Asia, and it winters in Africa.

Due to the biodiversity in the Asia Continent, the Eastern Honey Buzzard has evolved into two groups. The migratory orientalis may be referred to as Oriental Honey Buzzard and the sedentary ptilorhynchus broadly classed under Indomalayan or Crested Honey Buzzard. (Note that most guidebooks treat them as one species, often using the name Oriental Honey Buzzard).

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A typical migratory dark morph adult male Oriental Honey Buzzard (orientalis).

The migratory Oriental Honey Buzzard, orientalis, breeds across Eurasia, Central Siberia, Northern Japan, Korea and North East China. They migrate to continental South East Asia, Indonesia and The Philippines during the winter months. This is the most common subspecies of Honey Buzzard that passes through Singapore from September with the adults arriving early followed by juveniles in October. Some, mostly juveniles may winter here. In March, a smaller number can be observed passing through on their Spring migration back North.

There are five races of the non-migratory Crested Honey Buzzard, ptilorhynchus. They breed in the Indian subcontinent, southern China, IndoChina, The Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia. They are largely sedentary although local movement and dispersal have been recorded.

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Non migratory Crested Honey Buzzard P. ptilorhyncus. This is the torquatus race that breeds in Malaysia and Southern Thailand and visits us mostly in the summer. Photo: Alan OwYong.

The P.p. torquatus is one of the five races of the Crested Honey Buzzard that breeds in Malaysia (Perak) and Southern Thailand.  This is the Honey Buzzard that visits us mostly in the summer. We may also be getting some from Indonesia during other times although we do not have any evidence of this movement. These are listed as non-breeding visitors until they decide to breed here.  All of them have drooping crests as they mimic hawk eagles some with rufous barrings on their underparts.

OHB Tweedale 2 Seng Alvin

Crested Honey Buzzard torquatus race, tweedale morph that is trying to mimic the Blyth’s Hawk Eagle.Photo: Seng Alvin at Pasir Ris Park.

There is also a Tweedale morph of the torquatus race that mimics the Blyth’s Hawk Eagle with their darker plumage. We hope that this short summary will help with the separation of the Honey Buzzards that you get to see in Singapore.

References: The Avifauna of Singapore. Lim Kim Seng. 2009. Field Guide to Raptors of Asia. Volume 1. ARRCN 2012. A Field Guide to the Birds of Thailand and South-East Asia. Craig Robson. 2000. Wikipedia.