Bidadari Park

Last Updated on 6 October 2020

Notice: Bidadari Park is currently closed for redevelopment from December 2019. The new Bidadari Park is expected to be completed in 2022.

Bidadari Park was once part of the Bidadari Cemetery, before exhumation and construction of new flats reduced the park to its current 1-hectare area.

This tiny wooded hillock remains a popular stopover site for migratory birds and continues to serve as a refuge for these birds who fly thousands of miles from the wintry north to spend their winter holidays here.

A nondescript trail ascending from the foot of the hillock is the only way to get into this wild and isolated jungle.

As we enter, the trail beckons us to go deeper.

Once inside, a proper paved path appears. The path runs for a mere few hundred metres from start to end, so it is not really a place to go to for hiking or to chalk up miles.

It is more a rustic location for bird lovers to get up close and personal with their fine feathered friends.

Stemming from the main path are many side trails that one can explore, to stalk those rare and endangered birds.

From the outside, it may seem like the park is all quiet and nothing much is really happening. But when we venture in, we’ll find that the woods is teeming with wildlife and the trees astir with activity.

During the winter season from September to March, migratory birds such as the Tiger Shrike (Lanius tigrinus) flock here in search of refuge and a safe place to re-fuel after their long and tiring flight from the north.

We were delighted to make friends with this particular Tiger Shrike, who goes around with his recognisable funky hair-do, which differentiates him from all the other shrikes roaming around the park.

His close relative, the Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus), is also a winter visitor and is frequently seen in our parks and gardens.

The Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher (Rhinomyias brunneatus) is listed as globally vulnerable. But we are fortunate that it is still possible to encounter him in Bidadari, as he regularly visits here on his migration journey southwards every winter.

Several species of migrant cuckoos, such as the Indian Cuckoo (Cuculus micropterus), visit here every year as well.

Other commonly seen migrant birds at Bidadari include the Blyth’s Paradise Flycatcher (Terpsiphone affinis)

…the Yellow-rumped Flycatcher (Ficedula zanthopygia)

…the Asian Brown Flycatcher (Muscicapa latirostris)

…and the Arctic Warbler (Phylloscopus borealis).

And not forgetting our resident birds who also inhabit this cozy forest nook, such as the Coppersmith Barbet (Psilopogon haemacephalus)

…the White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis)

…the Laced Woodpecker (Picus vittatus)

…the Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia)

…the Pied Triller (Lalage nigra)

…the Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri)

…the Oriental Dollarbird (Eurystomus orientalis)

…and the Large-tailed Nightjar (Caprimulgus macrurus), who would usually be tucked away in a dark corner trying to catch a few winks in the middle of the day.

When we see a crowd of birders armed with their big guns, it is probably the peak birding season. And if every big gun is pointed in one particular direction, it can only mean that there is a celebrity posing up in the tree.

The celebrity of the day happened to be a white morphed Asian Paradise Flycatcher, a very rare sight in this region.

The males of the Asian Paradise Flycatcher occur in two morphs – the rufous morph and the white morph.┬áIt is almost impossible to differentiate between the white morphed Blyth’s Paradise Flycatcher (Terpsiphone affinis) and the white morphed Amur Paradise Flycatcher (Terpsiphone incei), so we can only refer to him as the white fairy.

It is quite marvellous to watch the little white fairy of the woods put on a graceful performance as he dances around swishing his long flowy tail.

Another celebrity is the Zappey’s Flycatcher (Cyanoptila cumatilis), a rare migrant in Singapore. For some reason, the adult male Zappey’s Flycatcher is less often seen than the female, and only a few isolated sightings have been recorded in Singapore. So you can imagine the excitement when he does decide to pay us a visit.

Besides the birds, another cute and lovable resident of the forest that we simply enjoy stalking is the Finlayson’s Squirrel (Callosciurus finlaysonii), a non-native squirrel species in Singapore.

These adorable squirrels are typically found in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. They are believed to have been introduced into Bidadari as escaped or abandoned pets, and a small community of them now reside in this tiny wooded area.

It is an absolute delight to observe them having a fun day out, performing acrobatics while munching on tasty fruits.

With the development of new housing units in Bidadari, we will see the completion of a new Bidadari Park by 2022, which will expand the park area to 10 times its current size. Until then, we will have to contend ourselves with this small area and hope that the birds will continue to find Bidadari a safe haven to eat, play and live in.