Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Rare eagle sighting at Lentor Ave

Rare eagle sighting at Lentor Ave
STOMPer Victor Kuah spotted an eagle in Singapore and grabbed the opportunity to take snapshots of this rare sight. He says:

"Hope that you guys will find this interesting.

"Eagle sighted at Lentor Avenue today (Apr 7) around 6p.m."

Rare eagle sighting at Lentor Ave

I am very excited by this sighting, because the photo quality is so clear that I can definitively identify the species in the photo, which is none other than the very rare crested serpent eagle (Spilornis cheela).

Here's another photo:

Crested serpent eagle, Malaysia;
(Photo by cool shutter)

And here's a photo of one in Singapore:

Crested serpent eagle, Chestnut;
(Photo by kampang)

This bird is so rare that it is thought that there is only a small handful surviving in Singapore, in the forests surrounding our Central Nature Reserves. There have been sightings trickling in from other areas such as Bukit Batok, Sembawang and Lavender; the latest few editions of the Singapore Raptor Report have more details. It is possible that these are visitors from Malaysia. Still, encountering this bird along Lentor Avenue is a very significant event, and really quite noteworthy.

The species is actually widely distributed throughout tropical Asia, from India to southern China and Taiwan, all the way to Sumatra, Java, Borneo and the westernmost islands of the Philippines. Like its name suggests, this is a specialist on reptiles, particularly snakes and lizards; the two posts on this species over at the Bird Ecology Study Group document this species feeding on a toad and a snake.