The green broadbill was declared extinct in Singapore around 7 decades ago. But the bright green-feathered bird was recently spotted on an island northeast of Singapore in the last week of June.
The bird was accidentally spotted by Joyce Le Mesurier on the island of Pulau Ubin. The green broadbill had once been abundant on the island nation but was thought extinct since the 1940s. Local bird enthusiasts also said that it was the first reported sighting though sightings were also reported in 2014. The 2014 sighting was that of a juvenile.
The green broadbill’s scientific name is Calyptomena Viridis, which were common in Pulau Ubin. Experts opined that it was a male going by the bright vivid colors, the tuft of broad fluffy feathers on its beak, and the distinct black mark behind its eyes. The black bars over its wings are also indicative of a male.
The female green broadbill has more muted colors and does not have the black markings around the eyes and wings. Singapore’s Nature Society considers the green broadbill a rare visitor. Though found in the forests, they have also been spotted among human habitation in Singapore.
Green Broadbill Sighting A ‘Lifer’ For Many
The bird has inhabited the Thai-Malay peninsula between Borneo and Sumatra. While their population has declined rapidly, it has now been marked near threatened in the 2016 IUCN’s Red List consisting of threatened species.
Most bird lovers consider the rare sighting a ‘lifer’, marking a first that a rare or previously considered extinct species is discovered. Observers believe that the rare bird has flown in from Johor nearby. The green broadbill is considered to traverse great distances.
Yong Ding Li, a program manager at Birdlife International for migratory bird conservation said that as Ubin is close to Malaysia, there is a possibility that rare birds, including the broadbill, could have dispersed from its territory in Malaysia and made it inland.
He said that excessive destruction of forest cover in the island of Johor may have driven the bird toward the island of Pulau Ubin. There is also the possibility that the rare bird escaped from traders. The species is spread through the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, and Borneo.