Aerial Chase of Tanimbar Corellas and Little Egrets

on 17th November 2010

“To escape from winter and enjoy warmer climate, migratory birds have started to return to Singapore. Last month, a group of photographers was treated to an unusual aerial chase involving some migratory Little Egrets (Egretta garzetta) and a flock of our feral resident Tanimbar Corellas (Cacatua goffini).

“Some time in September, a flock of Little Egrets migrated back to roost in the mangrove trees along the banks of Sungei Tampines. On the morning of 9th October, some of these Little Egrets were enjoying the morning sun in the trees when a flock of six Tanimbar Corellas were passing by. The Tanimbar Corellas, which were smaller in size than the Little Egrets, arrived to forage in the mangrove trees.

“Before the arrival of the Tanimbar Corellas, the location was quiet and peaceful. Just as the photographers present on site lamented the lack of action, the calm was broken by one of the Tanimbar Corellas screeching as it flew near the Little Egrets (left). The Little Egrets, which had been perching quietly, were flustered, causing some to scramble for new positions. Shortly after, two other Tanimbar Corellas were seen chasing after a Little Egret (below). At one stage, it seemed like one of the Little Egrets was doing the chasing. The aerial chase was brief and ended as suddenly as the way it had started. Immediately after the exciting aerial chase, the flock of Tanimbar Corellas disappeared from sight for peace to return. There was no physical contact observed.

“All the photographers did not have any idea what made the Tanimbar Corellas chased after the Little Egrets. Could the resident birds be impressing upon the migrating visitors that they are the true owners of their territory? Your guess is as good as mine.”

Kwong Wai Chong
8th November 2010

Note: The Tanimbar Corella is well known for its aggressiveness… HERE and HERE.

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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