Three raptors in one morning

posted in: Feeding-vertebrates, Raptors | 1


Experienced birder-cum-bird photographer KC Tsang was at a local park when he witnessed an eagle flying off with a helpless prey clutched in its talons. This in itself would be an exciting experience for any birder. But this was not all. He documented another raptor circling round and a third flying off, also with a prey tightly clutched in its talons. Three raptors in a single morning! What a morning! His account, illustrated with images, allows readers to vicariously share his exciting encounters on the morning of 31st January 2008:


“This morning I was at the look-out point at Telok 
Blangah Hill Park (top), looking for swiftlets to
 photograph. From the corner of my eye I sighted a
 raptor swooping down onto the crown of a tree. Unfortunately, I was not in position to record the snatching of the prey by this raptor.

“A minute or 
so later, the raptor rose from the tree carrying 
the prey, a squirrel, in it’s talons (above).
The raptor was a Changeable Hawk Eagle (Spizaetus cirrhatus), adult dark
 morph, while the prey was a Plantain Squirrel (Callosciurus notatus singapurensis) (below left).


“Besides the Changeable Hawk Eagle in action, there was a Black Baza (Aviceda leuphotes) in
flight (above right). The poor bird, having circled the hill two times and spotted nothing,
 decided to fly elsewhere for its meal.



“Then some time later, a Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus) came up from
 below with a prey in its clutches (above). If you are to 
examine the dangling foot, it looks like that of a
 White Breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus) (left), and not the foot of the

“So much excitement for a morning of birding at Telok Blangah Hill Park.”

The Changeable Hawk Eagle is an uncommon resident, the Brahminy Kite a common resident and the Black Baza a common winter visitor and passage migrant.

KC Tsang
February 2008
[Images by KC Tsang (raptors), YC (park, waterhen), Johnny Wee (squirrel)]

Follow 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.

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