30th August 2008, Matt Tay wrote:
“This morning, at around 9:15am, i saw a hornbill perched on a tree outside my second floor window in Sophia Road, right at the junction with Mount Sophia. I first noticed a relatively big dark bird with long tail feathers, and assumed that it was a male Koel, since they are quite a common sight around my area. However, as i looked closer i realized that it unmistakably was a hornbill, probably an Oriental Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris). I would never have expected to find such a bird right outside my window, especially given the location. The nearest large green areas are the Istana and the park at Mount Emily. Unfortunately, it must have sensed my excitement (I had gasped in surprise upon seeing it) and so leapt higher up in the tree and eventually flew away before I could get a picture of it. As such, I’m not sure whether this was an adult/juvenile, or male/female. Hope this is of interest.”
It is interesting to note that the hornbill is now sighted away from the rural and suburban areas of Singapore. Whether the birds have spread or the population has grown needs to be investigated further.
Our bird specialist R Subaraj says that this sighting “…may be part of the slowly spreading feral population of central Singapore or a fresh escapee.”
Note: The image by Emily Kang and Leck is not the bird sighted at Mt Emily.