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).