Bird waves

on 1st October 2006

A birdwave is a gathering of insectivorous bird species that move together to stir up insects. This is a common happening in forests, from the lowlands to the mountains. The more birds involved, the more insects are stirred up and the better chance of having a buffet.

My first encounter with a birdwave was at Hindhede Park, by the western edge of the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. I was walking towards the edge of the wooden walkway when suddenly the air was filled with the sounds of numerous birds flying above. Being then not into birdwatching, I was not able to identify the species except for the Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus paradisus) (above). The birds were flying in waves through the treetops, picking out insects one by one. After a few minutes they suddenly dispersed and all became normal again.

We are all familiar with birdwaves in forests. But it apparently also occurs in the Housing Board’s heartland, as Yong Ding Li, an up and coming birder describes it: “…white-eyes are frequent participant of the many HDB birdwaves consisting of Olive-backed Sunbirds (Nectarinia jugularis), Brown-throated Sunbirds (Anthreptes malacensis), Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker (Dendrocopos moluccensis), Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia), Pied Triller (Lalage nigra) and the occasional Arctic Warbler (Phylloscopus borealis) on yellow flames.”

Ding Li has promised to provide a more detailed account of birdwaves in the HDB heartland and we are eagerly looking forward to it.

Input by YC Wee, Yong Ding Li and bird specialist R. Subaraj. Image by YC Wee and Johnny Wee (drongo).

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

One Response

  1. Hi everyone I was just checking out the blogs here, and I think they are very interesting. I will check back later to see what is going on.

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