Sighting of Jerdon's Baza
On the morning of 10th December 2006 while Chan Yoke Meng was out photographing birds in Lim Chu Kang, he chanced upon a pair of Jerdon's Baza (Aviceda jerdoni) landing on a branch of a tree nearby. He managed to capture the image of the baza and subsequently confirmed its identity. This was further confirmed by our bird specialist R. Subaraj.
Jerdon's Baza is one of two bazas that can be seen in Singapore. The other is Black Baza (A. leuphotes). Both are winter visitors but Jerdon’s is an extremely rare passage migrant, with only two previous recorded sightings.
The global range of Jerdon's Baza as listed by Wells (1999) is SW India and Sri Lanka, the Himalayan foothills east from Darjeeling; SW Yunnan and Hainan; Southeast Asia to Sumatra, Borneo and the Philippines; and Sulawesi to the Banggai and Sula islands. According to Robson (2005), it is also seen in Peninsular Malaysia, although rarely so.
As far as Singapore is concerned, the first-ever recorded sighting was on 6th December 2002 (Wang & Lim, 2003). The bird probably crashed into a building in Maju Camp where it was caught. Unfortunately it eventually died. A second sighting was on 23rd January 2004 by Tang Hung Bun in Marina City Park. This current sighting would make it the third time the bird is sighted in Singapore. According to del Hoyo et al.(1994), it is possible that some birds, probably juveniles from the northern range, dispersed from the main flock or migrate south into Thailand, where their movements had been recorded. From Thailand the birds or some of them moved south into Peninsular Malaysia, where the only records were during winter. The Singapore records must have come mostly from these movements.
The bird can be recognised by its short, stout legs and feet with well-developed talons, the lower tarsus being unfeathered; and the two or three black, white-tipped feathers on the nape, elongated as a crest. Another important character is the two tooth-like indentations along the edge of the upper mandible (Wells, 1999) (top, arrow).
del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J. eds. (1994). Handbook of the birds of the world. Vol. 2. New world vultures to guineafowls. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions.
Robson, C. (2005). Birds of South-east Asia. London: New Holland.
Wang, L.K. & Lim, K.S. (2003). First record of Jedon’s Baza Aviceda jerdoni ) for Singapore. Singapore Avifauna 17(2):30-31 (mimeo.).
Wells, D.R. (1999). The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsular. Vol. I, Non-passerines. Academic Press, London.
Input and images by Chan Yoke Meng. Wang Luan Keng and R. Subaraj provided additional information.