“On January 13th, 2009, I was conducting a survey, with Pei Xin, at Seletar Camp. As we walked down a coastal road, we heard loud and urgent calls coming overhead. As we watched, an Indian Cuckoo (Cuculus micropterus) flew over being pursued closely by a Chinese Goshawk (Accipiter soloensis).
“The larger and bulkier cuckoo was screaming loudly as if its life was in danger. The smaller goshawk chased the cuckoo a couple of times before flying away.
“Obviously, the cuckoo was too large to be the goshawk’s meal. So why was it chasing the cuckoo? At a brief glance, the cuckoo could be mistaken for another accipiter, so I wonder whether the goshawk was merely chasing away what it thought could be a food competitor within it’s winter territory. Of cause cuckoos pose no competition to raptors as they are mainly insectivores.
“The Chinese Goshawk is mainly a passage migrant through Singapore. However, over the years, we have recorded the odd individual holding a winter territory at a few sites, such as MacRitchie and Bukit Timah. These winter territories appear to be mainly at the edge of wooded areas. The Indian Cuckoo, which is also a migrant here, tends to also winter and/or utilize such wooded areas.”
Image of Indian Cuckoo by Johnny Wee.