Migratory bird spotted in S'pore after 19 years

Longest record for Whimbrel ringed at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

A Whimbrel has been spotted in Singapore - 19 years since the very same bird was last seen here.

The wading migratory curlew was around a year old when it was tagged for identification purposes here in 1995.

On Jan 29 this year, it was spotted again at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, setting a record for the longest time between one sighting and the next of a whimbrel in the Republic.

The National Parks Board said yesterday that its staff found the bird after it flew into a net, set up during a monitoring exercise in which wild birds are caught and have a small ring attached to their legs before they are released. Their measurements, such as weight and length, are recorded for research purposes. If the bird already has a ring, as in the whimbrel's case, the serial number is checked against past records.

Bird tagging helps researchers to determine the migration patterns and longevity of different species.

Such bird-ringing sessions are held about once a month during the annual migratory bird season from September to March.

The whimbrel migrates from Arctic Russia and North America to Australia and New Zealand.

Mr Wong Tuan Wah, director of conservation at the National Parks Board, said the sighting was "very fortunate", adding: "Repeat sightings of the same individual can be quite rare."

In 2011, a common redshank was spotted in Singapore, 21 years after it was ringed here.

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