Tag Archives: Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker

August’s Birding Moments.

August can be a quiet month for birding even though some early migrants started to  arrive. Most of us were taking things easy waiting for the onslaught of of the winter visitors from the Northern Asia in September.

It was not a productive month for me as well being away on holiday for the last week of the month. Here were some of the common species caught doing their things.


The breeding period for these Sunda Pygmy Woodpeckers is from February to August. This pair at Pasir Ris Park is either late starters or thinking of raising a second brood. Did not check if they eventually used this nest hole but it was hard work excavating this in early August. The flying chippings rendering some movements to the shot.


Another late nesting was the Grey-rumped Treeswifts as previous nestings were in April. This mother was seen feeding a juvenile at one-north crescent in mid August. The small cup nest was built on the branch of a roadside tree. Previous nesting was also recorded near by at Kent Ridge.


When the figs and other berries are not available, these Pink-necked Pigeons will come down low to feed on the dried seeds of the Melastoma Plant, a favorite of the Flowerpeckers.


Now I know why the Grey Herons chose to nest by at the Jurong Lakesides. The water surrounding the gardens are shallow and they can wade around and hunt with ease. A bit of action in the shot with the water trails.


When a bird rests on a clean perch at eye level, you have to shoot it even though it is a common species and you have plenty of them in your hard disk. Showing the grassland habitat of TEG adds a bit more to this Red-whiskered Bulbul in the shot.


Yes the tigers are back and good to see that they still dropped by Bidadari even though a large part of it have been cleared for housing. This area will be part of the 9 hectare Town Park which will be ready before the new owners move in. Lets hope they will keep coming back.


Did not have time to chase after these Yellow-rumped Flycatchers that started arriving by the end of the August. By early September, they were reported all over the island. Again we are glad that quite a good number were seen at Bidadari this season.

Reference: Lim Kim Seng. The Avifauna of Singapore. Nature Society (Singapore) 2009



Woodpeckers in our Heartlands

Male Common Flameback with its distinctive flaming crest

I think the Common Flameback, Dinopium javanense,  has to be one of the most colorful birds that can be seen in our urban spaces and heartlands. I have seen them at the car park at the Alexander Hawker Center visiting the shade trees there. A pair regularly comes to forage on the rain tree outside my balcony. Their calls can be heard often all  over our urban landscape.


A female Common Flameback chipping out grubs from a rotten branch of a Yellow Flame tree

But it was not like this before. Even though it was a common resident then, it was noted by Bucknill and Chasen (1927) that  they avoided towns and stayed in the rural and cultivated areas, mangroves and forest patches. They are also found in our offshore islands of St. Johns, Sentosa and Ubin.

Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker
Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker also benefited from the planting of the roadside trees.

Lim and Gardner 1997 recorded them in coconut plantations, coastal scrubs, orchards, parks and gardens on the mainland. The other woodpecker that followed their spread to the urban landscape is the Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker, Dendrocopus moluccensis.

Many species, like this Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker relied on old branches for their nest holes

I think it had to do with their food sources and places to build their nests. Rain trees and other soft wooded roadside and shade trees provide them with abundant grubs and caterpillars to feed on. The rotting branches and peeling barks on the tree trunks are places where these grubs strife. These old branches also made for good and easy nesting holes. Over time when they have adapted to the noise and our presence, they are safe with no predators around.

Reference: Lim Kim Seng. The Avifauna of Singapore. 2009. Nature Society (Singapore)