A cemetery in Penang: A birdwatcher’s paradise

on 21st April 2008


Choo Teik Ju was in Penang, Malaysia towards the end of March 2008 and was impressed by the rich bird life in the Mt Erskin Chinese Cemetery (above).

“The Mt Erskin Chinese Cemetery is near Tanjung Tokong, which is only 15 minutes drive from the city center of Georgetown. The cemetery has lots of bamboos and old trees and can be dated back to the Qing Dynasty Emperor 光緒 and the early days of Kuomintang (民國) era.

“The maturity of the environment and lack of human presence except recent “Qing Ming” festival, this place is almost without human. The other factor that this place could be a good place for birds is its hilly geographical nature, with also some streams running through the area.

“From such an experience, I think cemetery can potentially be an excellent place to be a bird sanctuary, as well as miniature wildlife reserve as I noticed droppings of civet cat as well, and the presence of assam fruit (Tamarindus indica) and ciku fruit (Maniklara zapota) on the floor may be a good indication of bat presence as well.”


Teik Ju’s list of birds from the cemetery, as shown in the images above (clockwise from top left): White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis) x3, Pacific Swallow (Hirundo tahitica), Chestnut-breasted Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus curvirostris) x3, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater (Merops leschenaulti) x4, Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus) and Dollarbird (Eurystomus orientalis). Other species sighted include Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus paradisus) x3, Pied Triller(?) (Lalage nigra) x3, Black-naped Oriole (Oriolus chinensis) x4, Baya Weaver (Ploceus philippinus), Peaceful Dove (Geopelia striata), Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis) and Green Iora (Aegithina viridissima).

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.

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