Got a message that a bird was found dead on Science campus but no clue what it was, only that the staff seemed fascinated by it. Went over and saw that it is the Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher or the Black-backed Kingfisher (Ceyx erithaca).

Source: Chace Foo Instagram

Birds may face threats from various factors. In a highly urbanised environment like ours, glass windows and reflective surfaces pose a threat too. A lot of research is being carried out on the impact of this, and there are ways to mitigate. We do come across several cases of window collisions, and fortunately some of the birds do pull through following the members of public getting help, incubation and right way of handling. Unfortunately, some do not make it, like these birds in the picture. Thanks to our callers for trying their best to get help for these birds who go into a period of shock after knocking onto the glass. But for those unfortunate ones, who pass away, please do report your sightings at http://tinyurl.com/SGBirdCrash to contribute to an ongoing survey by the Nature Society Singapore.

Source: Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES) Facebook

I’ve contacted David Tan, who received these carcasses, for further information. The heron on the right, which was found at Sentosa Cove, is thought to be a pond heron (most likely Chinese Pond Heron) (Ardeola bacchus). The carcass in the lower left of the photo is a female Asian Fairy Bluebird (Irena puella), found at Asia Square Tower. Unfortunately, there is no locality data for the Black-backed Kingfisher (Ceyx erithacus) in the upper left.

Another day, another Black-backed Kingfisher (Ceyx erithaca) carcass. This one was found at a parking lot somewhere in the middle of Kallang Bahru.

The Black-backed Kingfisher is also known as the Three-toed Kingfisher. Look at those tiny little toes!

Source: David Tan Instagram [1], [2]

The second Black-backed Kingfisher (Ceyx erithaca) carcass in 2 weeks, after last week’s incident at NTU. This one was found with a broken beak at Yusof Ishak House in NUS. Probably died after flying into a glass wall.

Source: David Tan Instagram

Assorted specimens of birds of Singapore (top to bottom): Stork-billed Kingfisher (Pelargopsis capensis), White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis), Collared Kingfisher (Todiramphus chloris), Common Flameback (Dinopium javanense), Crimson Sunbird (Aethopyga siparaja), Hooded Pitta (Pitta sordida) & Black-naped Oriole (Oriolus chinensis) @ VivoCity

Find out more about these and other Singapore wildlife at the Festival of Biodiversity, happening at VivoCity this weekend!

If you should encounter a dead bird anywhere in Singapore, please do give David Tan a call at 91768971 and he will drop everything and rush down to retrieve the bird carcass as soon as possible.
Photo: Black-backed Kingfisher (Ceyx erithacus)

Note from David Tan:

Hi everyone, my name is David Tan and I’m a research student from the Avian Genetics Lab at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and also the lab’s resident snatcher of dead birds.

Dead birds are important to us for various reasons.
As part of our research, one of our main interests lies in figuring out how the mysteries of bird DNA can reveal hitherto unknown facts about the evolution and ecology of birds, and each dead bird represents a priceless and unique record of an avian genome that will go a long way toward helping us understand the lives of Singapore’s birds.

This is why we need your help.
While a great many birds die in Singapore every day, a vast majority of these bird deaths often go unreported and these valuable carcasses are often disposed of by well-meaning individuals who are unaware of the true value of a dead bird.

If you should encounter a dead bird anywhere in Singapore, please do give me a call at 91768971 and I will drop everything and rush down to retrieve the bird carcass as soon as possible. If you are unable to remain with the body until I arrive, kindly conceal the body in a secure location and I will retrieve the carcass when I arrive.

All recovered bodies will be sampled for DNA and subsequently skinned and preserved at the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research for future generations of biologists to study and for public education initiatives to help educate Singaporeans about our avian biodiversity.

Thank you so much for your help, and let’s not let these birds die in vain.

Source: Nature Society (Singapore)

Common Kingfisher

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Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)
Buona Vista, 13th September 2012

This photograph of a Common Kingfisher carcass was shared by Mark Brian Raphael on Facebook.

Find out how you can contribute to Monday Morgue too.