Our “Bird of Paradise”

2 May 2015.

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The closest we get to seeing a Bird of Paradise in Singapore are the Pin-tailed Whydahs, an escapee from Africa and the handsome Paradise Flycatchers especially the males with its long dangling tails. Two species visit and pass through Singapore, the rare Japanese Paradise Flycatcher and the commoner Asian Paradise Flycatcher. The latter was a former resident in our forests but went extinct early in the 20th century (Hails 1988b, Lim K.S. 1992). During the Autumn migration, most of the Paradise Flycatchers that come through are female birds. In Spring, only then do we get to see a few males stopping by on the way back north.

This afternoon an alert from Vincent Ng shook me out from my nap. A male white morph Asian Paradise Flycatcher was spotted at Bidadari. I missed one the year before and I do not want to missed out again. Tried my best not to speed down Lornie Road and arrived at Bidadari where many of the Sifus were shooting away. With its long white tail fluttering behind and a dark purplish head, it was a truly splendid looking bird.

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it was moving from tree to tree staying mainly at mid storey, behind the foliage. I was told that it came lower down earlier and some great videos and shots were taken. Nevertheless, we somehow managed to get some shots before the light started to fade.

Last year, the last Asian Paradise Flycatcher male was recorded on the 10th April again at Bidadari. The extreme date was 26th April which makes this late record our new extreme date.

I first saw this white morph with its long tail at Taman Negara way back in the 90s and was totally in awe. Got to see them again at the Kubah National Park in Kuching where they are breeding residents. But did not have a chance to get any decent photos until now. Hope it will stay for another day for the rest to get to see and photograph it.

Reference: The Avifauna of Singapore. Lim Kim Seng. 2009.

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