The Return of the Mt. Faber Ashy Drongo


The resident Dollarbird don’t seem to mind sharing his territory with the migrant Ashy Drongo. Taken at the break of dawn at Mount Faber on 6 Feb 2016, hand held.

After going missing for two years, the Ashy Drongo, Dicrurus leucophaeus, returned to Mount Faber. Zacc HD (Zahidi Hamid) wanted this rare winter visitor and was told by Francis Yap to check the dead branches by the side of valley at Mount Faber last month. He found it on 31 Jan 2016. It is the uncommon salangensis sub species. Danny Lau was the first to report a wintering Ashy Drongo at Mount Faber on 19 Jan 2014. It was originally identified as a leucogenis subspecies but the white ear coverts cannot be seen in some of the photos. Two weeks earlier on 5 Jan 2014, Mithilesh Mishra reported a sighting at summit of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. Thanks to Zacc’s alert, I went down on 6 Feb and found it at the same branch at 7.10 am. It seems that it does not stay around after 8 am.

Three recognised sub species visit Singapore, leucogenis, salangensis and the Thai resident nigrescens. The two migrant species are greyish while the resident species tends to be black.  I reported our first salangensis subspecies from Nee Soon on 16 March 1997. But there may be other subspecies visiting our island that were not properly documented. With the high quality camera equipment today, we should be able to get better photographs of future Ashy Drongos for checking.

Ref: Lim Kim Seng ( 2009) The Avifauna of Singapore. Craig Robson.(2000)  The Birds of Thailand and South-East Asia. Asia Books Co. Ltd.



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