Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The rarest of the three large herons of Singapore

Took me many trips to one of the few natural coastal sections of Singapore to finally catch a glimpse of this lone critically endangered heron.

NParks estimated that there are only 20 - 50 great-billed herons left in Singapore, which accounts for the degree of difficulty in trying to spot this species locally. 
These majestic big birds live mainly in the southern islands off Singapore, which aren't protected habitat. The southern islands consists of refineries, an island resort and military live firing areas. There is also the added threat of constant reclamation work in the area that destroys even more of their habitat.
There are three species of large herons here - great-billed, purple and grey. They are found in coastal areas but the purple and grey do follow the river systems inland and can be seen in the heart of Singapore's main catchment area. The great-billed however is confined to the coastal areas. 
The great-billed heron is the largest of the three standing at 115 cm. The second is the grey, which is 102 cm tall. The smallest is the purple at 94 cm.
Great-billed heron
Purple heron
Grey heron

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