Singapore's urban and green environment is home to a rich abundance of beautiful wildlife that we don't often see. In our Wildlife Around Singapore series, we share interesting flora and fauna that have been sighted around the island.
Not one, but two vulture species spotted
Birdwatchers were very excited on 29 Dec as rare avian visitors dropped in on Singapore in the form of five Himalayan griffon vultures as well as a solitary cinereous vulture.
This is the first recorded appearance of the cinereous vulture in Singapore. It is distinguished from the Himalayan vulture by its bi-coloured beak and dark-coloured head.
Himalayan vultures live mainly in the Himalayas mountains, but have been known to disperse as far as locations in Southeast Asia.
The cinereous vulture, also called the monk vulture or black vulture, is found across Eurasia.
These two species of vultures are among the largest flying birds, with wingspans that can reach 2.5–3m.
Here are the raptors hanging out at Singapore Botanic Gardens, the Himalayans seemingly accepting the cinereous as one of their own:
According to netizens, birdwatchers said the cinereous vulture later crash-landed mid-flight, probably from exhaustion and hunger after days of travelling before reaching Singapore. It was rescued by the Animal and Veterinary Service and was brought to Jurong Bird Park to get the care it needed.
White-bellied sea eagles get it on
While the vultures are rare visitors to Singapore, our island is home to various native birds of prey, among them, the white-bellied sea eagle. These eagles are known to live in places like Pasir Ris Park and Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.
A juvenile male white-bellied sea eagle and an adult female were recently spotted mating at Pasir Ris Park.
Peregrine falcon in Sengkang
A peregrine falcon was seen in Sengkang around Anchorvale Lane, Block 535 in late December.
The peregrine falcon is the most widespread bird of prey in the world, being commonly found in most parts of the world, including urban areas. It's also the fastest bird in the world, being able to clock speeds of over 320km/h when it dives towards its prey.
First record of ashy-headed green pigeon in Singapore
The Singapore Birds Records Committee, a team of civilian birdwatching enthusiasts, recently on 25 Dec officially recorded the first occurrence of the ashy-headed green pigeon in Singapore.
The pigeon in question had been seen in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve in October, but the committee had to undertake an analysis to rule out other green pigeon species in order to confirm that it was the first sighting of a wild ashy-headed green pigeon here. Factors that the committee took into account included the bird's plumage colour and condition, whether the species is known to travel long distances in the wild, and whether it was an escaped pet.
Kingfisher catches lizard
A netizen shared this picture in the Singapore Wildlife Sightings Facebook group of a white-throated kingfisher in Pasir Ris Park with its big catch – a changeable lizard.
Blue-tailed bee eaters in Seletar
There's a population of blue-tailed bee eaters around Seletar Aerospace Park which often provides striking pictures for photographers such as these as they catch bugs:
Bees around Singapore
We promised birds and bees in this article – you didn't think we were done after showing you white-bellied sea eagles procreating, did you?
Here are literal bees seen around Singapore:
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