Hornbills spotted at Commonwealth Crescent

Hornbills spotted at Commonwealth Crescent

Hornbills Commonwealth v2
A pair of hornbills spotted at Commonwealth Crescent on Nov 12, 2017. Male (left) and female, as identified by ornithologist David Tan. (Photo: Chia Mei Kim)

SINGAPORE: A pair of hornbills were spotted at Commonwealth on Sunday (Nov 12), perched near an air-conditioner compressor on the 10th floor.

Channel NewsAsia reader Chia Mei Kim saw the birds at around 11.05am outside her unit in Block 108 Commonwealth Crescent, where they lingered for about 20 minutes.

This was the fourth or fifth sighting of hornbills in the area, Ms Chia said. She added that to her knowledge, residents have not attempted to interact with or feed the birds.

Ms Chia also said that she had encountered more hornbills in the Holland Village area in September this year.

Speaking to Channel NewsAsia, ornithologist David Tan identified the birds as oriental pied hornbills (Anthracoceros albirostris).

Mr Tan added that hornbills have increased rather dramatically in number in recent years, despite the species being extinct in Singapore as recently as the 1970s.

Hornbills Commonwealth v1
A pair of hornbills spotted at Commonwealth Crescent on Nov 12, 2017. (Photo: Chia Mei Kim)

Mr Tan said that he is unsure if hornbills favour a particular movement pattern, but added that they seem to be consistently found in certain areas such as Changi, Pulau Ubin, Holland Village and the Botanic Gardens.

He advised against interacting with the birds as hornbills are “fundamentally wild” and may “retaliate” if they feel threatened.

“Feeding wildlife is also unadvisable as it may alter the behavioural patterns of the hornbills. Regular feeding may increase the degree to which hornbills are dependent on humans, and overprovision of food may artificially inflate the hornbill population and cause these birds to become urban pests.”

Speaking to Channel NewsAsia, group director of NParks' National Biodiversity Centre Lim Liang Jim said the oriental pied hornbill's breeding season is around November to April each year. More sightings of the hornbills can be expected after the breeding season, Mr Lim said.

Mr Lim added that hornbills play an important role in the dispersal of seeds and that by not feeding them, members of the public ensure that they continue to consume and disperse the seeds of wild plants and help with forest regeneration. 

This story came from a reader tip-off. If you would like to send in photos or videos of something newsworthy, WhatsApp our Mediacorp news hotline at +65 8218 8281 or message us on Facebook.

Source: CNA/zl