Call of the Mangrove Pitta at Pasir Ris

on 8th April 2012

Ong Ei Leen was at Singapore’s Pasir Ris Park on 11th March 2012 (like everyone else), hoping to catch a glimpse of the STAR of Pasir Ris Park, the Mangrove Pitta (Pitta megarhyncha). She sent in this report:

“Lucky for me, there were already photographers standing by at the Mangrove Pitta’s usual appearance site (which I believe to be). They were nice enough to prompt the others when the STAR finally made it’s appearance (I believed they’d waited for ?hours…). But I was more excited at hearing two pittas calling than spotting it. To my disappointment, it was just a recording playback tactic used by one photographer (I felt sad for the pitta…seriously). No doubt, I still had to thank the photographer for… (this hitchhiking opportunity).

“The above video clip shows the Mangrove Pitta calling, while the rest were having a great time snapping away, as the pitta was perched on an unobstructed position at eye level!

“Noticed the pitta was ‘bloated up’ at some point of time. Just wondering if it was taking a deep breath?

“After all the hoo-ha, the photographers packed up and left (it was almost noon). There I was, all alone, watching the pitta’s activity for the next hour. As my battery went flat, there were no further images to offer.

“The pitta must be hungry… When the surroundings finally came to a quiet, it hurriedly hopped it’s way across, beneath the boardwalk, towards the swampy area, to feast on some crabs, worms… It was later observed to be holding a piece of ?nesting material in it’s bill, perched in one position, bobbing it’s head, as if yearning for a companion… for a whole of 30minutes (my neck almost broke!…). After which, it hopped off behind a heap (?nesting site), away from my vision. 15 minutes on, it was out again, hopping onto the boardwalk, crossing over to the other end, oblivious to the fair bit of human traffic and continued foraging on the ground, into the thick vegetation. Another 15 minutes passed… no sign of another of it’s kind thou…”

Ong Ei Leen
April 2012

Note: The background call in the top video was a recording playback by another photographer at the scene.

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.

Other posts by YC Wee

2 Responses

    1. Well, well, well…From my own experience, I doubt if there is any wild bird that enjoys being watched. Our gaze, our camera and associated equipment can be perceived as potential danger. Anyway, in nature dangers are always around. They will adapt to cope with new situations.

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