10 No 4
The Nature Cove
Reforestation and Reach Out
Bird Ringing in Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve in 2004
The Amazing Chase: a creative environmental statement
Practical Work Attachment
Kubah National Park
No new species of birds were ringed at SBWR in 2004. Although the absolute number of birds trapped had decreased, the year still saw some interesting species ringed. They are the Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Blue-eared Kingfisher, Eastern Crowned Warbler and Grey-tailed Tattler. Notably, it is the second time in 2 years that a Blue-eared Kingfisher has been mist netted and ringed at SBWR. Other birds ringed include the Pintail Snipe, Chestnut Munia and Striped Tit Babbler.
Bird ringing has been conducted at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR) since 1990. This article gives an overview of some of the results of the bird ringing effort at Sungei Buloh over the past year. In 2004, a total of 373 birds from 50 species were ringed. The ringing field work was carried out on scheduled days and nights throughout the year. A summary of the number of birds ringed in 2004 (and the previous four years) is provided in Table 1.
The most commonly ringed bird species were (numbers ringed in brackets) : Pacific Golden Plover (103), Common Redshank (32), Yellow-vented Bulbul (28), Plainthroated Sunbird (18) and Scaly-breasted Munia (13). Compared to the previous year (2003 ringing results), the number of birds ringed has decreased from 517 to 373. The decrease is attributed to fewer hours of mist netting. As was the case in 2003, no Curlew Sandpipers were ringed but numbers of Common Redshank ringed have bucked a 3-year downward trend to register a slight increase.
Regular bird counts in SBWR have revealed no decrease in shorebird numbers. In fact, numbers have increased in 2004 and the Curlew Sandpipers and Mongolian Plovers that were noted to have avoided the wetland in 2003 had returned with peak counts of 206 and 175 birds respectively. Several habitat management measures to increase the attractiveness of the wetland for shorebirds over the past year looks to have been successful. These measures will continue. Ringing work and shorebird counts over the next few years will help to determine if the measures continue to be effective.
No new species of birds were ringed at SBWR in 2004. Although the absolute number of birds trapped had decreased, the year still saw some interesting species ringed. They are the Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Blue-eared Kingfisher, Eastern Crowned Warbler and Grey-tailed Tattler. Notably, it is the second time in two years that a Blue-eared Kingfisher has been mist netted and ringed at SBWR. Other birds ringed include the Pintail Snipe, Chestnut Munia and Striped Tit Babbler.
The ringing work has continued to bear fruit with retrap rates of over 10% of all individual birds trapped for each of the past three years. The retrap rate has ranged from 4.5% (2000) to 15.3% (2003). In 2004, the retrap rate was 13.9% (2004). There were 60 retraps from 20 species that had been ringed before 2004. The Pacific Golden Pintail Snipe Plover had 14 retraps followed by the Collared Kingfisher with 11 and the Plainthroated Sunbird with 6. One use for the data obtained from retrap birds is the enabling of longevity records and the survival of different bird species in the wild to be determined. These records are provided in Table 2. Of special mention, a Pacific Golden Plover was recaptured after an interval of 169 months (14 years 1 month) breaking the previous record set in 2003 of 146 months (12 years 2 months). This bird from Sungei Buloh is currently believed to be the world record holder for the title of the oldest ringed Pacific Golden Plover. Other retraps include the Black Bittern, Common Kingfisher and Japanese Sparrowhawk. The sparrowhawk is the first raptor to have been recaptured at SBWR and is believed to be the first evidence of site fidelity exhibited by a migratory sparrowhawk to its wintering grounds. In summary, bird ringing in 2004 has continued to reveal surprises in the presence of bird species, their movements, abundance and survival in Sungei Buloh. Data collected are invaluable for the long-term conservation and management of the wetland reserve.
This article is possible thanks to fellow ringers Ramakrishnan, Linda Goh, Charles Lim, Ray Knock, Mustaffa Hajar, Abdul Khalid and Chan Su Hooi for contributing to the ringing work. Many others assisted with the ringing including staff, volunteers and friends especially Halilah Ahmad, Ong Hai Chwee, Supardi Mohd Shariff, Jack Wong, Loke Wai Leng and Jeanne Tan. Jeremy Ang, Tay Soon Lian and Ramakrishnan took a number of photographs and catalogued them for documentation. I am grateful for the voluntary help from Nick Baker, Ray Knock, Lua Wai Heng and R. Subaraj who provided expert advice, sighting records or helped out during the ringing sessions.
© Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve