Monday, January 19, 2009

Exotic bird pays surprise visit to my house

Exotic bird pays surprise visit to my house
This exotic bird recently paid STOMPer Cheryl a visit. She says that the bird was not afraid of people and even came back again on a separate occasion.

The bird, which Cheryl suspects is a Hornbill, sat on the wall and seemed to be looking for food.

The STOMPer then offered the bird a slice of papaya which it ate up. It did not, however, eat the apple given to it the second time it came back.

Cheryl sent in some pictures and a video of the bird eating the papaya.

She says:

"I was washing my hands in the kitchen on January 8 in the afternoon and looked up when I heard a flutter of wings from the garden and was stunned, staring at the view in disbelief for a minute or two.

"A huge bird was sitting on top of the garden wall looking around most probably for food.

"I placed a papaya on the left side of the garden wall and it hopped over to eat it.

"It was not afraid of humans and let me and my mother got very close to take photos.

"It was huge, around the size of my dog, which is a Pomeranian.

"After the bird had eaten its fill, it flew off.

"However, my father informed me that it came back again on January 18. It just sat at the garden wall looking around.

"It did not eat the apple my father offered it and flew away shortly."

STOMP is currently contacting Jurong Bird Park for verification of the bird's species. Check back for more details.

UPDATE: Read Jurong Bird Park's response here:
Exotic bird is a Toco Toucan
Exotic bird pays surprise visit to my houseExotic bird pays surprise visit to my house
Exotic bird pays surprise visit to my house

Do check out the video posted on STOMP.

Update: Toucan sighting (5th February 2009)
Exotic bird is a Toco Toucan (21st January 2009)

The person who submitted this made an error in the identification; it's not a hornbill (F. Bucerotidae), but a toco toucan (Ramphastos toco). It is interesting to note that despite the great similarities in appearance, hornbills and toucans are actually not closely related at all.

Toucans (F. Ramphastidae) are restricted to Central and South America, so this particular individual is definitely an escapee. In any case, the toco toucan is one of the most iconic members of its family, and is commonly seen in captivity. I do have fond childhood memories of watching a toco toucan performing at the Jurong BirdPark, demonstrating its ability to catch a ping pong ball with its huge beak.

The first thing that came to mind when I saw today's post about the visiting toucan was a pair of articles on STOMP from October last year. First, someone submitted an entry about the appearance of a toco toucan in Seletar Hills. That was quickly followed by another person appealing for information that would enable him to trace the whereabouts of his escaped pet.

The person who submitted the most recent post did not give any clues as to where she is living, but it is certainly worth speculating if this is the very same toucan that appears to have been on the loose for more than 3 months.