Mandarin duck returns to Hougang canal, and other wildlife sightings in Singapore

·Lifestyle Editor
·3-min read
Mandarin duck in Hougang and spider on a Wagler's pit viper in Singapore. (Photos: Maggie Seah, Koh Ke Han)
Mandarin duck in Hougang and spider on a Wagler's pit viper in Singapore. (Photos: Maggie Seah, Koh Ke Han)

Singapore's urban and green environment is home to a rich abundance of beautiful wildlife that we don't often see. In our Wildlife Around Singapore series, we share interesting flora and fauna that have been sighted around the island.

Hougang's mandarin duck returns

Bird watchers were all excited over the weekend, because the mandarin duck that had appeared in June at the canal near Block 522 Hougang Avenue 10 returned on 17 October. The bird had caused quite a commotion due to its beautiful, colourful plumage. However, after a couple of weeks from its initial appearance, it hadn't been seen for some time.

The male mandarin duck has now molted and lost most of its colourful feathers, so it's now a more drab, normal-looking duck.

A male mandarin duck at a canal along Hougang Avenue 10 in Singapore on 17 October 2021. (Photo via May Swales)
Photo via May Swales
A male mandarin duck at a canal along Hougang Avenue 10 in Singapore on 17 October 2021. (Photo via  Maggie Seah)
Photo via Maggie Seah

Here's the mandarin duck with its fully coloured plumage in June:

The mandarin duck is native to East Asia including in Russia, China and Japan. The mandarin of Hougang is said to be an escaped pet.

Pangolin up close

The pangolin is an endangered, nocturnal animal that is rarely seen in Singapore. However, Facebook user Allen Meek had an amazing close encounter with a pangolin as he was hiking in a forest. He shared these gorgeous up-close photos of the creature:

Facebook user Allen Meek had a close encounter with a pangolin in the forest in Mandai, Singapore, Oct 2021. (Photo: Allen Meek)
Photo: Allen Meek
Facebook user Allen Meek had a close encounter with a pangolin in the forest in Mandai, Singapore, Oct 2021. (Photo: Allen Meek)
Photo: Allen Meek

Allen wrote, "As I was walking slowly I heard a slight rustling of leaves beside me near a tree. Partly obscured behind it, I at first thought it was a civet cat. I waited for a moment to see what it would do but when it came around the tree, lo and behold, it was a pangolin. It came towards me, tripped and rolled over a branch it was trying to climb – which startled itself, then ambled quickly away into the woods on the other side."

The pestbuster shrew

Shrews can be seen in housing estates scurrying around under cover of darkness. The little critters are often not seen in daylight, which is why a netizen's sighting on 15 October of a shrew hunting a cockroach was quite interesting.

Cheng Min Jie posted photos of the shrew in the Singapore Wildlife Sightings group. He said it was a long chase around a lift lobby and he had to stop passers-by from disturbing the animals. "At last the shrew caught the cockroach head and chewed it off - game over!"

Way to go in controlling the pest population!

Facebook user Cheng Min Jie posted photos of a shrew hunting a cockroach in the Singapore Wildlife Sightings group on 15 October 2021. (Photo via Cheng Min Jie)
Photo via Cheng Min Jie
Facebook user Cheng Min Jie posted photos of a shrew hunting a cockroach in the Singapore Wildlife Sightings group. (Photo via Cheng Min Jie)
Photo via Cheng Min Jie

The shrew found in Singapore is the Asian house shrew. Often mistaken for a rat, a shrew has smaller eyes, a long pointy snout, and a thicker, shorter tail.

The Asian house shrew. (Photo: NEA)
The Asian house shrew. (Photo: NEA)

Goshawk catches squirrel

Facebook user Katherine Lu shared photos of a goshawk that had caught a squirrel. She said a pair of squirrels had been chittering loudly at a pair of goshawks, possibly to lure them away from their nest. In the end, a squirrel was caught by one of the raptors.

"The squirrel was still alive when the goshawk flew with its prey to a tree where it suffocated/pierced it to its death. The goshawk started to eat its prey, then passed it to its partner," wrote Katherine.

Spider hitches ride on snake

Sometimes jumping spiders get tired of jumping. Then they hitch a ride on snakes. That's probably what happened to a jumping spider in this amazing photo taken by netizen Koh Ke Han:

Jumping spider on a Wagler's pit viper in a central forest in Singapore. (Photo by Koh Ke Han)
Photo by Koh Ke Han

Buffy fish owl making more buffy fish owls

It's the eternal story of the birds and the bees. In this case, it involves an actual bird. Photographer Bernard Seah spotted a male buffy fish owl getting it on with a female at Pasir Ris Park. Well, where did you think baby owls come from?

Spotted flycatcher's first visit to Singapore

Last but not least, in more bird news, a spotted flycatcher was spotted in Singapore last week in what is said to be the migratory species' first appearance here. Here's the flycatcher with its lunch of a grasshopper:

The spotted flycatcher was spotted in Singapore in mid-October 2021 in what is said to be the migratory species' first appearance here. (Photo by Paolo Tan)
Photo by Paolo Tan

Check out our Sustainability page for more news about nature and sustainability.

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