An empty nest, a bee hive and an Oriental Honey-buzzard

For more than a week a raptor was seen building its nest in one of the many Golden Penda (Xanthostemon chrysanthus) trees lining the road fronting my house. The raptor was often seen in the late afternoon visiting the nest. Unfortunately I was not able to see the raptor to photograph it.

BuzzardOH? nest

For one reason or another, the raptor abandoned the nest after completing it (above). A few days after, a bees’ hive was seen developing less than a metre above the nest. For a week or so the bees were building their hive that grew in size.

HoneyBuzzardO-TV antenna

On the morning of 4th March 2018 a raptor was seen perching on the TV antenna of my front neighbour’s house. It flew off the antenna and returned to it a few times (above, video below)). I assume this is the same raptor that built the nest in a nearby tree and have been flying around the neighbourhood for some weeks now. After all, we don’t see many raptor flying around, and definitely not one resting on the TV antenna or any of the trees around.

And exactly three days after seeing it perching on the TV antennae, large pieces of bees honeycombs were seen at the base of the nesting tree (below).

One of a few honeycombs  picked up from the base of the tree.
One of a few pieces of honeycombs picked up under the nest.

Images of the raptor was sent to Wildlife Consultant Subaraj Rajathurai who identified the raptor as an Oriental Honey-buzzard (Pernis ptilorhyncus). Incidentally the Oriental Honey-buzzard is a winter visitor and passage migrant. It can be seen in Singapore throughout the year, although heavy concentration is seen during November and December. Subaraj added that those honey-buzzards seen most of the year are a resident race from Malaysia and elsewhere.

The honey-buzzard sighted appears to be a migratory race, so the nest could not have been built by the honey-buzzard. According to Subaraj, the neighbourhood can be visited by White-bellied Fish-eagle, Changeable Hawk-Eagle, Brahminy Kite and maybe even Crested Goshawk. So it is possible that one of these raptors could have built the nest.

YC Wee & Subaraj Rajathurai
8th March 2018

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