Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve – A Birder Paradise right here in Singapore

2 October 2008 No Comment

Author & Editor

Author: Mendis Tan, Senior Outreach Officer (Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve)

Editor: <Please add your name here if you have edit this article>

Photographs and article are copyright of Mendis Tan


This article serves to highlight the wealth of flora and fauna that is available in Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve for the photographer and nature lover. I will try to cover as many areas of the reserve and their potential for bird photography as much as possible.

Map of Sungei Buloh Image:MPXMEMAP.jpg

Visitor Centre

Around the visitor centre, near the bird feeder, there are opportunities to shoot tailorbirds, pink-necked pigeons, yellow vented bulbuls, crimson sunbirds and other common but still beautiful local residents of SBWR.

At the café

Around the pond area, photographic opportunities are many too. The resident ‘injured’ Purple Heron likes to hunt around the pond next to the café. Further, there are many species of dragonflies flying around the pond too.

Mangrove Boardwalk

From the start of the boardwalk onwards, migratory passerines like the crow billed Drongo and Asian paradise flycatcher can be spotted. Even the uncommon Blue Winged Pitta and forest wagtail are common visitors of the lush mangrove forest there.

Crow-billed Drongo at Mangrove Boardwalk


At the Main bridge

Look out for flight shots of egrets, pied fantails and the infamous stork billed kingfisher. Or, you could just sit at the shelter and enjoy the scenery of the Sungei Buloh Besar. During the migratory season, one can always hear the changeable hawk eagle calling and soaring in the sky.

Main Hide

Right out of the main bridge is the main hide. The main hide overlooks two ponds that are specially designed to attract shore birds to rest. The openness of the two ponds is ideal for shorebirds; who prefers the open space to watch out for raptors. Further, the shorebirds can move around freely just right in front of the hide; one of the closest one can get to the birds.

Pacific Golden Plover at Main Hide


Turning left at the main hide, the photographer may run into many tailorbirds; both ashy and common species. Further, during the migratory season, arctic warblers, asian paradise flycatchers, sunbirds and even the common kingfisher can be spotted if one is observant enough. I certainly advocate a 300mm or 400mm on standby while walking on this trail.

Screen 1.1

Once you reach screen 1.1, you may be able to see shorebirds close up. Lucky ones may even see Painted Storks or Milky Storks feeding during low tides. It has been reported that the common kingfisher can be found at this screen. Personally, I have not seen the kingfisher around this screen yet

Eurasian Curlew in flight at screen 1.1


Screen 1.2 and hide 1B and Platform 1 are quiet spots for birding. Of course, Platform 1 is a very scenic location overseeing the coast. I find this spot very nice.

Further down this route is platform 2. This is a favourite location for raptors and herons in flight. One could find sea eagles and ospreys hunting. Further, Great Grey herons and Great egrets could be flying around platform 2. Best times to come to this platform are around 8am onwards until 9plus am and 4pm onwards till closing time.

Hide 1C

Walking further will bring you to my favourite hide; Hide 1C. During high tides, this hide is the best location to shoot shorebirds. Once you find the high tide timing, make sure you arrive here 1 or 2 hours before. You will have the chance to shoot some flight shots of the shorebirds moving from island to island as the tides move up. Further, when the tide is up, all the shorebirds will congregate at one location quite near the right side of the hide.

Black-tailed Godwit at Hide 1C


Asian Dowitcher at Hide 1C


This ends part 1 of this article. Stay tuned for Part 2 and 3.

End of Part 1.
___________________above article, photographs contributed and copyright of Mendis Tan

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