At about 4.00 pm on 12th December 2006, K.C. Tsang sighted a small flock of the birds at the Punggol grasslands just before the rain. As can be seen in the above image, the birds were caught in the rain, and trying to dry themselves.
Sooty-headed Bulbuls (Pycnonotus aurigasteris) is native to Myanmar, South China and discontinuously through Southeast Asia to Java. The first sighting of this exotic species was reported in the early 1920s. The bird was recorded on and off, albeit rarely, throughout the remaining part of the century. A small feral population appears to have established in Tampines since 2003. Obviously the bird is breeding successfully.
According to our bird specialist R. Subaraj, “Sooty-headed Bulbuls (both gold-vented and red-vented forms) have occurred as escapees for many years now due to their popularity in the bird trade.
“In the 1970s, a feral population established itself and the species was listed on the Singapore checklist but that population apparently died out and the bulbul was subsequently removed from the list.
“There now appears to be a feral population in the Punggol-Serangoon area and a breeding record seems to have been obtained. As a result, it was been reinstated on to the Singapore checklist as a feral species in October.”