350 species of birds are found in an area of just 650 square kilometres making Singapore an ideal place to start learning about the fascinating birds (culture and food!) of Asia. Although highly urbanised, the excellent network of roads makes access to the major birding sites a breeze. There are hotels of all sorts to suit your pocket and no need whatsoever to rough it out in the wilds. The weather is tropical, which means it is usually warm (24-32 degrees Celsius) and sunny throughout the year except for the occasional thunderstorm.
Singapore offers good birding throughout the year but is best between August and April when the migrants, mostly from the Palearctic, are in, together with the resident birds so birding is most exciting at this time.
Imagine seeing Oriental specialities such as Red-crowned Barbet, Banded Woodpecker, Asian Fairy-bluebird, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo and Crimson Sunbird sharing the same habitat as migrants from Siberia like Asian Brown Flycatcher, Arctic Warbler and Daurian Starling. And that's just the morning.
In the afternoon, take a sampan (local boat) to Ubin Island and hunt for the local attractions like Red Junglefowl, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Laced Woodpecker, Oriental Pied Hornbill, Straw-headed Bulbul, Mangrove Pitta and Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker. Enjoy the terns (Great Crested, Lesser Crested, Black-naped and White-winged) on the way back to the mainland.
Well within reach (a two hour car journey across the causeway) Panti Forest reserve in Malaysia is a great day out! Early mornings, as always, are best.
Whether you are passing through with half or one day to spare, or staying up to a week, Singapore offers the adventurous birder the chance to see, without too much hassle, some of the most exciting birds in Asia whilst letting you enjoy the culture, food and sights of the country too.
Number of Species
National Bird: Crimson Sunbird Aethopyga siparaja
Number of bird species: 353
Fatbirder's very own checklists are now available through WebBirder
* Field Guides & Bird Song
For a comprehensive list of recommended titles covering Asia as a whole - please see the Asia page of Fatbirder
A Guide To Common Birds Of Gardens and Parks Of Singapore and Malaysia
by Morten Strange 2005, Fold-out Guide; 5 panels/10 pages
ISBN: 165520Buy this book from NHBS.com
A Guide to the Common Birds of Singapore
C Briffet Series: SINGAPORE SC GUIDES 6 160 pages, col photos. Singapore Science Centre 1992
ISBN: 9971881136Buy this book from NHBS.com
A Photographic Guide to Birds of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore
Geoffrey Davison, Chew Yen Fook Paperback - 144 pages (30 October, 1995) New Holland Publishers (UK) ISBN: 9781845378035 Out of Print
Birds - An Illustrated Field Guide to the Birds of Singapore
Lim Kim Seng & Dana Gardener Suntree (1997)
ISBN: 9813066008Buy this book from NHBS.com
State of Singapore's Wild Birds and Bird Habitats
- A Review of the Annual Bird Census 1996-2005 Edited by Lim Kim Chuah & Lim Kim Seng Nature Society of Singapore 2009
See Fatbirder Review
ISBN: 9789810826727Buy this book from NHBS.com
The Avifauna of Singapore
Lim Kim Seng Nature Society Singapore 2009
See Fatbirder Review ISBN: 9789810826710
Vanishing Birds of Singapore
Lim Kim Seng- 103 pages, col photos, maps. Singapore Nature Society 1996
ISBN: 9810039670Buy this book from NHBS.com
Guides & Tour Operators
Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area…
Birding Singapore with Kim Seng
I am a licensed (by Singapore Tourism Board) nature tour guide and also hold a MSc in Environmental Management (University of Adelaide). I specialize in birds but am also conversant with other vertebrates, invertebrates and plants…
CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.
2013 [September] - Mike Nelson
…The tour started with some birding around Singapore and at the Central Catchment Reservoir we started off well with Short-tailed Babbler, Chestnut-bellied Malkoha, Banded Woodpecker, Van Hasselt’s Sunbird and loads of Pink-necked Green Pigeon. Bukit Batok did well with Straw-headed Bulbul, Common Flameback and Laced Woodpecker and a particularly obliging group of White-crested Laughingthrush….
2010 [July] - Gail Mackiernan
…BC, GM & CC arrived at the very upscale Changi AP at about 6.30 a.m. and took a taxi to the equally posh Changi Village Hotel. We would be staying there the evening before our flights to Sulawesi, and the hotel kindly let us store our excess luggage whilst we were in Malaysia. Kim Seng met us there and we did a little birding outside the hotel while waiting for AQ, who arrived about an hour later…
2013 [February] - Lars Olausson & Hans-Erik Persson
…Breakfast around 8 and then some went shopping along Orchard Road while others took a taxi to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and walked around for a couple of hours….
2013 [June] - Steve Thorpe
…Within minutes the White-vented Mynah were around my feet checking to see if I had ordered any food! Two Striated Heron flew along the river a couple of times. The trees on the opposite side of the river provided Common Mynah (another common species) and Yellow-vented and Red- whiskered Bulbul…
2015 [April] - Pete Aley - New Zealand: North & South Islands with Singapore
his report outlines a five week birding trip which I undertook with my wife, Alison Rowntree, travelling from north to south New Zealand, and with a brief stop-over in Singapore. We chose to go in March and April to allow us to combine leave from two different years and maximise our time in the country. Although this meant a few key species were not seen, it gave us a good period of time to see both islands and their birds, in a relaxed fashion, and generally proved to be a good season to visit.
2015 [March] - Glen Valentine - Singapore, Borneo, Bali and Flores
Our epic birding adventure of Singapore, Borneo, Bali and Flores began in Singapore where we struck out for the impressive Singapore Botanical Gardens. Arriving just before dawn we positioned ourselves at the spot where a Hooded Pitta had been hanging around for the past few days.
2015 [September] - David & Sarah Blair
...there were some good birds such as Blue-naped Parrot, Striated Heron, White-breasted Wood Swallow, Collared Kingfisher, loads of Green Imperial Pigeons and surprisingly two fly in Grey Imperial Pigeons.
Bird Ecology Study Group
The Bird Ecology Study Group, a new bird group of the Nature Society (Singapore) since September 2005. BESGroup is committed to knowing something about that bird, not just its name…
601 Slims Drive, 04-04 Pan. I Complex, Singapore 387382. + 65 741 0871; email@example.com
Night Walk at Upper Seletar Reservoir Park with the Vertebrate Study Group. A chance to watch the raptors fly pass the reservoir towardsthe forest to roost and observe bats coming out at dusk. If weather permits, enjoy all these against an enchanting backdrop of a sunset over the Central Catchment. After dark, listen out for the serenade of frogs and try to identify the species by their calls. The group size will be limited to the first 20 members replying with the All-Purpose Forms to the NSS office.
Bukit Batok Nature Park
The Bukit Batok Nature Park lies on the outskirts of one of Singapore's newest housing estates, Bukit Batok New Town. It is a small, peaceful park developed on an abandoned quarry site where the quiet visitor should be able to see some of the local wildlife which has adapted to an urban parkland environment. In the evening the park is popular with joggers…
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
The Bukit Timah Nature Reserve now stands totally cut off from the bulk of Singapore's regenerating secondary forest by a six-lane road development. New roads are now being built to the north, completing the hill's encirclement by tarmac. An ugly communications building dominates the summit and recent, thoughtless condominium development at the park's boundary has meant an increase in recreational visitors…
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
The forests of South-East Asia have an evolutionary history stretching back millions of years. The history of Bukit Timah as a Nature Reserve is a little more recent than this, but still stretches back into the last century. By 1935, as a result of urbanisation, most of the reserves were exploited for timber. Only Bukit Timah Reserve was spared…
Locally, Pulau Ubin is well known for its rich diversity of resident and migratory birds. The prawn ponds and mangrove inlets are alive with kingfishers; the largest resident species is the Stork-billed Kingfisher (37 cm) which tends to inhabit the deeper tidal mangrove inlets, and the smallest the Common Kingfisher (17 cm) which can be found in the prawn ponds…
Singapore Botanic Gardens
The Singapore Botanic Gardens is a dynamic and living monument to the foresight of the founding fathers of Singapore. Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore and a keen naturalist, established the first botanical and experimental garden on Government Hill…
Sungei Buloh Nature Reserve
The park is an important stopover and refuelling point for migratory birds, some coming from as far as Siberia and China. It is also home to resident herons, kingfishers, doves, bee-eaters, tailorbirds, woodpeckers and munias. Patience, an eye for details and a pair of binoculars are essential for watching the birds. You will be amazed at their variety and beauty.
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
The migratory birds are attracted by exposed mud flats in the long-abandoned prawn ponds. Water levels in the prawn ponds are still controlled by sluice gates; the aim is to maintain some exposed mud flats at all times, even during high tide, thereby attracting waders and shorebirds. In addition to tidal systems there are a small number of freshwater ponds and patches of secondary forest which add to the reserve's biodiversity…
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
The Sungei Buloh Bird Sanctuary (87ha) comprises mangroves, mudfalts, fish and prawn ponds and fruit orchards. It was declared a Nature Park in 1993. A stop-over refueling station for migratory birds, Sungei Buloh serves as an important transit point for the birds as they escape the cold winters. More than 150 species of birds have been spotted…
Forums & Mailing Lists
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Welcome to Nature in Singapore! This is a mailing list for people interested in nature. You may discuss anything related to nature. Butterflies, birds, mammals, marine life, etc. Please do not send any attachments to the list as this may clog up users` mailboxes. I hope you find interesting discussions on this list. You are most welcome to join in any discussion and/or ask questions. Please remember, however, these are friendly discussions and there is no room for flame wars on this list. Thank you for your understanding and help to make this list a pleasant experience. If you have any questions regarding your subscription, etc, please contact the moderator, Andrea Hoffmann.
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Mailing List – Discussion Group - A mailing list for nature-lovers & birdwatchers in Singapore & Malaysia. Discussion of birds, bird sightings, birding events and other nature related activities. Members can post their sightings & topics on birding, birdwatching or nature related topics, sharing of wildlife & nature pictures. Annoucement of upcoming birding related events & trips to birding spots in Singapore & the region.
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Mailing List – Discussion Group - This egroup is managed by the Singapore Bird Group of the Nature Society (Singapore). All birders are welcome to join us. The purpose of this egroup is to promote Birdwatching and Bird Conservation in Singapore and the Asian region. Subscribers are free to post messages pertaining to news, activities, bird sighting reports, issues and announcements particularly concerning the Asian Region. The SBG uses this facility to discuss and to disseminate current issues and activites, in return as feedback and data collecting channel within its membership. See also: http://www.nss.org.sg/wildbirdsingapore
I am a freelance nature guide and I run Bird and Wildlife Tours in and around Singapore...
Photographers & Artists
Photographer - Jonathan Cheah Weng Kwong
Photography is a wonderful medium but even at its best, it can only hint at what really exists. The difference between a snapshot and a work of art is that art evokes. It helps you see more and be more. Precisely what is summoned is hard to control. There is an artist in each of us that filters and colors our world. Our complex emotions mediate our senses. Our overall sense of being depends on innumerable details and distractions, but deep inside, one's religious attitude and philosophical background influence one's perceptions.
Photographer - Joseph Kellard Nature Photography
I am a semi-professional wildlife photographer from the UK, currently living, working and studying in Singapore. The photographic opportunities here are almost endless!
Photographer - Kennie Pan’s Photography
My name is Kennie Pan & I am a photographer based in Singapore. I started photography accidentally back in End 2004. Back then, I used to dance. Trying to take pictures of myself dancing with an old 3.2Megapixels Panasonic Lumix Lc-33 ( Family’s shared camera ), i was curious on the output – Blurred pictures of myself. In that Basic Camera, even the most basic functions confused me and I told myself, i have to find out what the basic functions do…
Photographer - Laurence Poh - Laurence's Digital Birds
The late and great Laurence Poh - This site is a collection of bird pictures I have taken since Feb 1999 with the Nikon Coolpix 950 and Coolpix 990 digital camera in combination with a Leica Apo-Televid 77 mm spotting scope. All photos were taken by natural available light with exception of one nightjar which was lit by incandescent bulb. Most of the birds are Malaysian species with some foreign birds shot abroad. In Malaysia we have over 600 species of birds. Some are migratory birds that are seen only during the northern winter months. What I have here is just a small collection. In my own way, I am trying to promote Malaysia as a birding destination as the birds are much prettier in real life than my pictures can depict.
Photographer - Paul Huang - Nature Stops
The Kranji area in the north of Singapore is one of the best places to enjoy nature. It is easily accessible and consists of places like Sungei Buloh Nature Reserve, Kranji Nature Trail, marshes around Kranji Dam and the Neo Tiew area where you can still find farms. While this area is a hotpot for nature where thousands of migrant waders stopover and where many resident birds reside including endangered species, it is constantly threathened by development…
Photographer - Tan Suryadi Irvan
Obviously not a birder - but a fine bird photographer!
Photographer - Tay Hui Meng
Wild birds in Singapore…