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Termite Hatch at the Singapore Botanic Gardens

on 13th November 2015

Richard White documented a termite hatch on video on 28th October 2015 at Singapore Botanic Gardens’ Palm Valley. The following is his account…

“It was a late afternoon emergence of termites after some of the first decent rains for a while. I did not see the start of the emergence, so cannot put a timeframe on how long it took the birds to gather.

“At least 14 species of bird and more than one species of bat were seen around the abundance of food. A large number of dragonflies were also present, although it was hard to tell if they had also gathered or were already present (and may themselves have become prey although I did not see any taken).

“On the ground a couple of White-breasted Waterhens (Amaurornis phoenicurus) were pecking at the termites before they took flight. A number (c 20) of Javan Myna (Acridotheres javanicus) was gathered on the ground; often catching flying termites in short jumps of less than a metre high. A few Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis) were also present. Larger birds flying through the swarm from perches included several Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus paradiseus) (2+), and a White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis).

“Remaining mainly on the wing were several (3+) Dollarbirds (Eurystomus orientalis) and a large number of Blue-tailed Bee-eaters (Merops philippinus) (30-40). One large cuckoo (Indian?) joined briefly. There were uncounted Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica) and House (Pacific) Swallows (Hirundo tahitica) and a remarkable diversity of swifts – Grey-rumped Treeswifts (Hemiprocne longipennis), Asian Palm-swift (Cypsiurus balasiensis), Fork-tailed Swift (Apus pacificus), House Swift (Apus affinis) and unidentified swiftlets.

“The spectacle continued until it was dark…”

Richard White
Singapore
November 2015

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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