Forest Butterflies at our Reservoir Parks

30th August 2016

Butterfly watching is somewhat different from birding but just as absorbing.  For one thing they are smaller and harder to identify in the field. The best part I like about it is not having to wake up at the break of dawn, as the butterflies are active much later in the morning. Lim Kim Keang, veteran birder and a keen butterfly watcher first got me interested in butterflies. On some slow birding days I got a chance to do some butterfly watching with him and also learn from other members of the Butterfly and Insect Group.

Mango Hawk Moth at USR
Mango Hawk Moth, about half the size of my palm, found by Yong Yik Shih

Recently I was fascinated with the forest butterflies that were seen at our reservoir parks. Some of the rarer ones are found at the host plants inside the forests, which is not very accessible. But they will move out when the plants along the forest edges flower.

Humming Bird Moth at USR
I have been always wanting to get this Humming Bird Moth on my sensors. They were also attracted to the nectar of the Sycygium flowers.

Early this month a row of Syzygium spp at the Upper Seletar Reservoir Park bloomed. I was lucky to see a proliferation of rare Awls, Snow Flats and Skippers that were not normally seen outside the forests. To top it all we had a rare mango moth to end the season. I had a total of eleven lifers thanks to the help from so many butterfly experts I met there. Here are some of the butterflies and insects we managed to get on our sensors during those few mornings.

Robberfly at USR
This Robber fFy was found inside the trails of the Seletar Forest.


Common Snow Flat at USR
Common Snow Flat is a sun loving butterfly and likes to bask with opened wings
Brown Awl at USR
Brown Awls were out in force on all the days when we were there.
Ultra Snow Flat at USR
You can only see small white specks zipping around. They are the Snow Flats. The Ultra has more markings at the base of the hind wings.
Malay Lascar at USR
Malayan Lascar is very similar to the Common Lascar but are less common. Do comes down to the ground to feed.
Tree Flitter at USR
Tree Flitter, a small skipper is not easily seen. Spotted by Chan Yiu Nam.
Pale Mottle at USR
Pale Mottle likes underside of leaves that are infested with Asphids. Like the ants they are attracted to the secretions of the Asphids.
Common Posy at USR
Common Posy looks like the Branded Imperial but has more black Stripes on its hind wings. Often returns to the same sun lit spot. 
Darky Plushblue at USR
Darky Plushblue was the rarest butt seen during the past few days, thanks to the Kim Keang’s sharp eyes 
Cruiser at USR
A low perspective of a uncommon Cruiser. Loves to feed on excrement and dead animals.
Hoary Palmer at USR
This fairly large Skipper, the Hoary Palmer was really friendly and stayed around for all of us to get our shots. The heighten White hind wings are good id features.


The Purple Duke is the only butterfly in its genus found here and Malaysia. When disturbed it will zipped away and hide at the underside of leaves with folded wings.

Male Form Gardineri Baron
Unfortunately this is not the White-tipped Baron that Lena Chow saw the day before. It is a male Form Gardineri Baron.
Malayan Snow Flat
Malayan Snow Flat is rarer than the look alike Ultra. This was pointed out to me by by Khew Sin Khoon.
White Banded Awl
The White Banded Awl should have a more colorful name. When the hind wings catch the sunlight, you can see the purplish sheen on it like in this photo.


Acknowledgement: I like to thank Lim Kim Keang, Khew Sin Khoon, Yong Yik Shih, Lena Chow and Chan Yiu Nam for showing me these butterflies and how to identify them. 

Reference: A Field Guide to the Butterflies of Singapore. Gan Cheong Weei and Simon Chan. A Guide to the Common Butterflies of Singapore. Steven Neo. Butterfly Circle Butterflies Checklist.

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