“On 2nd March morning, Chan Yoke Meng and a few friends saw a pair of Great Cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo) flew past Pasir Ris Park beach, heading towards Pulau Ubin. Are you able to check with any experts if these cormorants are the same ‘free ranging from Jurong Bird Park? From Meng’s photos, I see one of the two cormorants has ‘breeding features’” wrote Melinda Chan.
Great Cormorants are not native to Singapore. Any seen are escapees. According to wildlife consultant Subaraj Rajathurai, “There have been up to 8 Great Cormorants that hang out around the Kranji/Sungei Mandai coast, which are originally believed to have originated from Jurong Bird Park. So that may be the source for the two at Pasir Ris.
“However, time of year is also important. The only other Great Cormorant in the East of Singapore occurred a couple of decades ago and based on behaviour, plumage and the December 17th date, it is in my Singapore checklist as a Vagrant.
“The breeding plumage is worrying though as a naturally occurring vagrant should not really show that plumage. More like a free-flying bird from JBP or even from the zoo in Johor.”
Chan Yoke Meng, Melinda Chan & Subaraj Rajathurai
6th March 2019