Despite Singapore's highly urbanized state, there are still lots of wildlife to be seen, studied and enjoyed. Pockets of nature throughout the island are home to the Lion City's 380-odd bird species. Most of these are to be found only in our rainforests and mangroves but quite a few are to be seen everywhere, even in the middle of downtown Singapore and the HDB estates. The ubiquitous Javan (White-vented) Myna shares our human-dominated landscapes with the introduced House Crow and Common (Rock) Pigeon, the colourful Pink-necked Green Pigeons, the brown Spotted Dove, the bright yellow Black-naped Oriole and the Eurasian Tree Sparrow. The sky above is also full of birds with Brahminy Kites and White-bellied Sea Eagles circling in the hot thermals high above our high-rise buildings. Below them, swallows feast on flying insects in the company of bee-eaters, swifts and swiftlets. Inside wooded areas, we get Common Iora, Common Tailorbird and Golden-bellied Gerygone while at the flowers of gardens, parks and wayside plants, we get Olive-backed and Brown-throated Sunbirds fighting over nectar.
As you move from the City to wilder places, your chance of seeing birds which are not found near where we live increases. If you drop by the rainforests of Bukit Timah, you will see many birds that are more or less restricted to this habitat like Red-crowned Barbet, Chestnut-bellied Malkoha, Pin-striped Tit-babbler, Dark-necked Tailorbird and Orange-bellied Flowerpecker. In the mangroves of Pulau Ubin or Sungei Buloh, you get a different set of birds – Collared Kingfisher, Ashy Tailorbird, Pied Fantail and Copper-throated Sunbird.
Watching birds in Singapore allows you to appreciate the passing of the year. Resident birds start to sing and nest in February and continue to do so until September when the activity winds down. From August to April, resident birds are augmented by migratory species, some from as far away as Siberia and China.
Visiting birders would also find Singapore of great interest. Some species are easier to see here than other countries in the region and these include Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker, Red-crowned Barbet, Chestnut-bellied Malkoha, Long-tailed Parakeet, Sunda Scops Owl, Spotted Wood-owl, Savanna Nightjar, Red-legged and White-browed Crakes, Malaysian Plover, Greater Painted-snipe, Great-billed Heron, Yellow Bittern, Mangrove Pitta, Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher and Straw-headed Bulbul.
All that you need to enjoy this hobby and get to know about our natural heritage as well as meeting people of similar interest is a pair of binoculars, a pen/pencil and a notebook. Joining a club or society such as Nature Society (Singapore) helps.
Alternatively, if you would like a personalized bird tour, email me. Good luck!