Mangrove Pitta at Pasir Ris Park

on 31st January 2012

“The Mangrove Pitta (Pitta megarhyncha) is the only resident pitta species in Singapore. It is listed as critically endangered nationally and considered globally near-threatened. An elusive bird, it is normally confined to the offshore islands of Pulau Ubin and Pulau Tekong. This species is very rarely sighted on main land Singapore.

“When news spread that the Mangrove Pitta is sighted at the mangrove boardwalk at Pasir Ris Park, flocks of photographers and birders visited, all hoping to catch a glimpse of the elusive pitta. Many were not disappointed; but some had to wait for days, and after waiting for long hours, to see this elusive species. With more eyes searching, there were news that there could be more than one bird. Since there was no knowledge of anyone seeing two pittas together, whether there was one or more cannot be easily verified.

“I had my first sighting on Christmas eve (24th Dec 2011) (above) and my second sighting on Chinese New Year eve (22nd Jan 2012) (below). Please note that the sightings were 4 weeks apart.

“…Photos from the first sighting seemed to be that of a juvenile; judging by the appearance of its orange-coloured gape. Photos from the second sighting showed a more matured bird that did not have the orange gape. A side-by-side close-up of the side profile of the head is attached for easy comparison (below). Please note that the bird on the left is from first sighting and the right from second sighting.

“Still not quite sure whether the two sightings were the same or different individuals. Is 4 weeks sufficiently long for a juvenile to grow into an immature adult with its orange-coloured gape disappearing? This question begs to be answered for enlightening whether there is one or more of this species in the area. Many will be happy to see even just one Mangrove Pitta. Many more will be even happier to see this elusive species propagate for generations to appreciate.”

Kwong Wai Chong
22nd January 2012

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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