Singapore, bulwark of rare Asian songbird


This video says about itself:

Shot on January 31, 2015, at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Singapore.

Straw-headed Bulbul (Pycnonotus zeylanicus)

From The annotated budak:

Living on the Edge: The Straw-headed Bulbul in Pulau Ubin

Singapore tends to be seen as a place where wildlife is barely hanging on.

Its native megafauna has long been extinguished, while a handful of endemics cling to the precipice of extinction in the island’s fragile central reserves.

So it might surprise some, including this duck, that a species of global conservation significance is actually finding sanctuary in Singapore, even as it faces extermination in neighbouring countries.

The creature in question is an unspectacular songbird called the straw-headed bulbul (Pycnonotus zeylanicus), which has found a safe haven in Singapore’s wooded areas, in particular Pulau Ubin.

Remarkably, there is no record of this species in Singapore prior to 1951, and even till to 1970s, the bulbul was not known to be common, even on Ubin.

A bird survey in 1992 counted 50 birds on Ubin, which fell to 30 in 2000.

However, the population rebounded to about 32 breeding pairs in 2001, whilst the mainland recorded a estimate of 76-93 birds.

Revealing these figures, Dr. Ho Hua Chew of the Nature Society of Singapore shared the background behind a recent field study he conducted on Pulau Ubin to analyse the habitat preferences and prevalence of the bulbul.

The largest bulbul species in Southeast Asia, the straw-headed bulbul is a perky brown-bodied bird boasting a yellow crown, white throat and a black streak across its cheek.

Liquid gold

The bulbul’s rich, melodious song, described as liquid gold, is more often heard than the bird itself, and has led to the species’ disappearance from of its former range.

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