The Oriental Plover (Charadrius veredus) breeds from Mongolia to NE China (including a part of Russia). It migrates through Eastern China, Eastern South-East Asia, Wallacea and Micronesia to winter in Northern Australia, with a few reaching New Zealand. Its usual route bypasses Singapore. However, freak weather conditions or biological factors may cause the occasional Oriental Plover to make landfall on the east coast of Singapore.
One such plover was spotted at Changi Cove by David Bakewell and several fellow birders on a sunny morning on 17th February 2008. Apparently feeling ostracised amongst the flock of Pacific Golden Plovers (Pluvialis fulva) with which it arrived, it harassed the latter birds by chasing them around.
This is only the eighth record of the Oriental Plover in Singapore. The first two were actually old records from 1891 (2 birds) and 1898 (2 skins). The next record was from 1985/1986, one at Changi. This was followed by 2-4 birds at Tuas in 1993 (Richard Ollington). Then came the 5th & 6th records; single birds in 1998 and 1999 at Seletar Estuary/Dam. The 7th record was one bird at Changi in 2006.
This latest record is even more special – it is the first time the plover is seen in Singapore in breeding plumage. The characteristic dark breast band of the male bird in breeding condition can be clearly seen in the photograph by Lin Yangchen.
Lin Yangchen and Subaraj Rajathurai
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