The Asian Emerald Cuckoo (Chrysococcyx maculates) has at long last been accepted by the Records Committee of the Nature Society (Singapore)’s Bird Group. This was formally accepted during its April 2008 meeting and reported in the Singapore Avifauna Vol. 22(8).
A female (top left) together with an immature bird (top right) were photographed by birder-photographer KC Tsang as far back as 31st May 2006 at Upper Seletar Reservoir and submitted to the committee.
The committee must surely be greatly relieved to be able to come to a decision after more than two years. This was with photographic evidence. What more, if the sighting was documented by sketches and field notes.
It has always been rumoured that in the past, unless a senior member of the Records Committee actually saw the bird, the sighting submission would not see the light of day. Of course, this is just a rumour. However, to be fair, how can you take the word of the not-so-experienced birdwatchers? Especially in the absence of photographic evidence!
As far back as 1998, the bird was listed as a resident in R Subaraj’s privately circulated Field Checklist of the Birds of Singapore. But the 1999 checklist complied by the Bird Group did not include it. Strangely, the bird was included in the Lim (1997) with the status of “not yet recorded from Singapore but a probable winter visitor.”
Subsequently, Subaraj made a sighting that he believed to be an immature Asian Emerald Cuckoo, but this was also rejected due to lack of evidence, although it was thought to be a Violet Cuckoo.
1. Lim, K. S., 1997. Birds – An illustrated field guide to the birds of Singapore. Sun Tree, Singapore. 226 pp.
2. Wang, L.K. & C. J. Hails, 2007. An annotated checklist of birds of Singapore. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, Supplement 15: 1-179.