Not all forest birds are as colorful as the Trogons or Barbets. Some are just plain and drab looking and obviously does not attract the same attention from bird photographers. I would like to highlight a few of these under the radar “Little Brown Jobs” that we photographed at Panti Forest last month.
The Grey-breasted Spiderhunter is one of the rarer spiderhunters at Panti. It has a all grey underside with faint streaks. The eye-rings are absent. Usually found sipping nectar from flowering trees by the roadside, they also has shorter bills. Was a former resident in Singapore.
The Plain Sunbird is a very rare resident of Singapore with the last confirmed record on 25 January 1986 when a male was seen at Senoko. There were unconfirmed reports from CCNR and Rifle Range Road in 1998 and 2006. This is another species that is attracted to certain blooms in the forest. The male can be identified by the small bluish patch on its forehead.
The Buff-vented Bulbul is another very rare resident of Singapore. All the sightings so far were from Bukit Timah NR. Best chance of finding this bulbul is when the ficus tree at the summit is fruiting. They are common at Panti especially along the “old road” feeding on the berries and figs there.
It could be the low numbers why this Spectacled Bulbul went extinct in Singapore while the Red-eyed and Cream-vented Bulbuls survive today. With a healthy population in Panti, there is always a chance they will make a comeback. The orange eye-ring is a good id feature for this bulbul.
Reference: Lim Kim Seng. The Avifauna of Singapore. Nature Society (Singapore) 2009. Craig Robson. A Field Guide to the Birds of Thailand and South-East Asia. Asia Books Co. Ltd