Thursday, 9 July 2020

The Joo Chiat Hornbills

I first saw an Oriental Pied Hornbill at Upper Seletar Reservoir Park. I had never seen such a large bird before and it was amazing! That was in 1995/1996 when I got interested in birdwatching and joined the Nature Society Bird Group. In those days, you had to know where to look for these birds.

Fast forward 25 years, they seem to be everywhere. I see them at the Singapore Botanic Gardens, Sungei Buloh, Pasir Ris, Pulau Ubin and many more places. They were supposed to have disappeared from Singapore in the mid-1800s and made a comeback, all thanks to the Singapore Hornbill Project. This project was so successful that we now have more than 100 of these beautiful native birds. The best part is, I do not even have to travel to parks and reserves to see them. I frequently see a few of them at the Telok Kurau / Joo Chiat area. I have not been tracking them closely, so I am not sure if they are a family.

Most Asian hornbills are omnivorous. It seems like they have a preference for fruits, especially figs, and small animals. During the breeding season, however, they may even go for other animals such as lizards, bird nestlings and eggs, beetles and insects.

Thanks to the recent Covid-19 lockdown period, I am home more often and have more opportunities to photograph them.

There were 5 of them when last seen in the area on 3 Aug 2020, 6.30pm.


Looks like they like palm fruits too.

Calling from the top of an apartment block.

Male Oriental Pied Hornbill.

Female hornbill at neighbour's balcony.

Exchanging news?

Checking out their own reflections in the window.

Flying away from spying photographer.