UNUSUAL BIRD ENCOUNTERS IN THE CITY

posted in: Miscellaneous | 4

“Recently, on a couple of visits to the city, I had some strange bird encounters. These took place around Bernam Street, where there is a green space with a grove of yellow flame (Peltophorum pterocarpum), frangipanni (Plumeria sp.) and butterfly trees (Bauhinia sp.).

“First, on November 8th morning, I was shocked to hear the crow of a Red Junglefowl (Gallus gallus) at the junction of Anson Rd/Bernam St. I found the cockerel foraging on a roadside verge, at Anson Road, in front of the Fuji Xerox building. Studying and photographing the bird, it had all the classic features of the authentic wild bird and even had the right ‘crow’ (below left).

“Obviously an escapee or a released bird, I followed it as it weaved through the pedestrian traffic along the walkways to Bernam Street. Occasionally, it would stop to ‘crow’. The junglefowl then crossed Bernam Street, to the open space, where it chased pigeons and continued foraging near the grove. It was last heard ‘crowing’ from across Tanjong Pagar Road.

“I returned to Bernam Street on November 10th morning. There was no sign of the junglefowl but I had a few other unexpected sightings. Firstly, in the open space, I spotted an Emerald Dove (Chalcophaps indica) with the usual city birds attracted by food that is put out for them (above right). This woodland bird looked quite out of place in the city.

“After it had flown off, I noticed two Large-billed Crows (Corvus macrorhynchos) also visiting the area (above left). In an area dominated by House Crows (Corvus splendens), our native twosome still appeared dominant. Overhead, a Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot (Loriculus galgulus) flew around calling. This little parrot seems to be spreading well.

“Finally, as I was about to leave, I discovered a Brown-chested Jungle-Flycatcher (Rhinomyias brunneata) in the grove, by the open space (above right). This uncommon migrant usually prefers wooded areas but seemed quite comfortable here. Nearby, both Arctic Warblers (Phylloscopus borealis) and an Asian Brown Flycatcher (Muscicapa dauurica) called….so I figure this little grove may be a small sanctuary for migrants.

“Considering how wayside trees and vegetation are everywhere in Singapore, it is always worth keeping an eye open, no matter where you are!”

Subaraj Rajathurai
Singapore
12th November 2010

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4 Responses

  1. Hi, I guess what we are now seeing is that nature will try to adapt to what ever environmental conditions that surrounds them in order to survive…. So have to keep a look out just incase one day we discover again some thing that is supposed to have been extinct in Singapore …

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  2. Lee Chiu San

    I agree with Subaraj that the jungle fowl was probably an escapee. I have come across chickens with all the characteristics of the wild jungle fowl in the Jurong and Tengah areas. These have all been solitary males (obviously the more attractive ones to keep as pets) and showed little fear of humans. In Malaysia it would be usual to come across family groups of jungle fowl, and they would be a lot more skittish.

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    • Kwong Wai Chong

      Surprising, but good discovery of the less common birds in our urban environment.

      Not so sure about the Junglefowl being an escapee as 2 or 3 months back, a male with 2 females were sighted at the junction of Maxwell Road & Shenton Way, which is not that far from Bernam Street. They were sighted foraging amongst the roadside bushes during the morning peak hour when office workers were going to work. They evaded the sight of many pedestrians by hiding inside the bushes. Did not see them again.

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  3. Tou Jing Yi

    I have met a small group of the junglefowl in Ipoh which are extremely friendly and possess all characteristics that a junglefowl should have, but being so open and close to houses, and even walked towards the houses, I think they were free ranging captive birds. At another site, I followed the free ranging male to its house and the owner thought I was trying to catch it or something and came to me, I was then informed that those junglefowl, including some chicks were his. However, the Red Junglefowl shall not be kept in Peninsular Malaysia as pet without a permit under the Act 76. However due to hybridization, I guess it is pretty hard to say if one of these junglefowls were really considered wild or not? It might cause difficulty in executing the act.

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