Saturday, January 19, 2013

Slaty-legged Crake (Rallina eurizonoides) spotted in Bedok!

Slaty-legged Crake, Bedok North Ave 1 (9 December 2012)
(Note: black and white barring on the breast but none on the wings.)

"What bird is that darling?" asks my wife as we were looking out the window of our 7th storey flat in Bedok.
"Erm.. looks like a Red-legged Crake! What's this bird doing here in a housing estate?" I replied, peering through my binos which i had hastily grabbed from the living room.  Red-legged crakes are pretty shy birds which are usually found in forested areas near water, so seeing one in the middle of my housing estate invoked enough curiosity in me to go down to have a closer look.

Armed with just my iPhone, i followed this bird around the carpark and finally stopped at the Ixora hedge in which it had chosen as cover from this inquisitive human. I stooped low and took a few photos of it. It was a surprisingly cooperative model and i managed to get a decent photo of most of its body. Then it struck me: its legs weren't red!

Photo of a Red-legged Crake (Rallina fasciata). (Taken from ehmatias)
(Note the barring extends to the wings and the bright red legs)

Excited that it might be some other species, I hurriedly sent the photo out to several persons who are well versed with birds. After a few days of impatient waiting, my suspicions were confirmed, the bird I spotted was indeed a Slaty-legged Crake!

Slaty-legged Crakes are migratory birds water birds and are an extremely rare sight in Singapore. It could have wandered from the nearby Bedok Reservoir Park or a patch of Acacia forest that is near my flat. Since it was spotted during the rainy season, it could have found the frequently flooded conditions of these two areas were good to hang out in. According to Nature Society of Singapore, this bird  breeds in the Indian subcontinent, northern Vietnam and SE China. 

I tried locating it again a few days later but could not find it again. If you stay in the Bedok area, do help look out for this bird the next time December comes along.

[Credits: Thanks Benjamin, Krish and Ding Li for helping to confirm the identity of this beautiful bird]

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