Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

Last Updated on 3 November 2022

For avid bird-watchers, a visit to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is a must.

As part of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is where migratory birds come from as far away as Siberia and the artic, and stopover in Singapore for a buffet feast every year from September to April.

Being the gracious hosts that we are, we’ll always make them feel welcome with our spacious mangroves, marshes and mudflats filled with tasty treats and delicacies.

By public transport, bus number 925 from Kranji MRT serves the area. There are two free parking options, one along Kranji Way (Kranji Carpark C) and one along Neo Tiew Crescent (Neo Tiew Carpark). The Neo Tiew Carpark is nearer the tidal ponds, so if we want to get in on the party with the marsh birds, this is the place to start.

At the start of the Migratory Bird Trail is a bridge that connects us across Sungei Buloh Besar to the marshlands.

Standing on that bridge, we get a sneak preview of the interesting marsh birds that wade around looking for food in the marshlands. If we’re lucky, we might also catch sight of an egret consorting with a crocodile.

Signs planted all over the reserve warn us that we may run into a crocodile on the trail. If that happens, we should calmly retreat and give the crocodile some space if we don’t want to become his prey. Saltwater Crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus) are not an uncommon sight in Sungei Buloh.

It is awesome to be able to hide out in one of these sneaky bird-hide cabins and stake out the marsh birds.

These migratory birds travel thousands of kilometres every year between their breeding sites in the far north and their winter hideouts in the south.

By the time they land on our shores, they would be very hungry and all ready to tuck in.

Some of the shorebirds and waders we could hope to meet here include the Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

…the Great Egret (Ardea alba)

…the Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)

…the Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea)

…the Great-billed Heron (Ardea sumatrana)

…the Whimbrels (Numenius phaeopus)

…the Common Redshank (Tringa totanus)

…the Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)

…the Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)

…and the Pacific Golden Plover (Pluvialis fulva).

Not to be confused with the egrets, the Milky Stork (Mycteria cinerea) is globally classified as endangered. We are fortunate that they can be spotted here at Sungei Buloh.

Apparently, these exotic storks were once introduced into Singapore by the zoo as free-ranging birds, and they have come to Sungei Buloh for the abundant tasty fish that can be found here.

Also introduced is the Painted Stork (Mycteria leucocephala), which has been known to interbreed with the Milky Storks to produce hybrid offsprings. These painted and milky fellas as well as their hybrids can usually be found foraging around the mudflats of Sungei Buloh.

A rare resident of Singapore, the Lesser Adjutants (Leptoptilos javanicus) usually hide-out in the mud-soaked forests of Sungei Buloh and don’t often come out to greet visitors. But on the rare occasion when they do, it is always a delight to meet them.

As we amble along, we have to keep in mind that we aren’t the only ones using the path and have to give way when traffic gets heavy.

Planted along the coastal trail are sneaky pods…

…in which we could hide out and try to spot the mudskippers

…or the kingfishers.

It would be our lucky day if we manage to catch a glimpse of one of the colourful kingfishers that live in the area, such as the Stork-billed Kingfisher (Pelargopsis capensis)

…the Collared Kingfisher (Todiramphus chloris)

…or the migratory Black-capped Kingfisher (Halcyon pileata).

More often than not, the Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker (Dicaeum cruentatum) will be caught feasting among a flowering bush with fruit in his mouth.

As we wander along the trails, the insistent chirps of the Ashy Tailorbird (Orthotomus ruficeps) frequently accompany us.

The Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia) can also frequently be spotted, if not heard, happily trilling away high up on the trees.

Joining in the chirpy chorus are the Copper-throated Sunbirds (Leptocoma calcostetha), who usually hang out in the mangroves, both the colourful iridescent male…

…and his modest wife.

Instead of craning our necks to look for the birds, sometimes we’ve gotta look down and inspect the ground…

Cotton Stainer Bug (Dysdercus decussatus)

…and keep an eye on our surroundings.

There are several ponds in the park where the dragonflies love to hang out.

There the hardcore nature photographers can be seen camping out with their tripods and ginormous zoom lens aiming for the perfect shot of these colourful creatures.

Common Parasol (Neurothemis fluctuans)
Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)
Common Flangetail (Ictinogomphus decoratus)
Variegated Green Skimmer (Orthetrum sabina)
Yellow-barred Flutterer (Rhyothemis phyllis)
Spine-tufted Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysis)
Common Redbolt (Rhodothemis rufa)
Javanese Grasshopper (Valanga nigricornis)

While taking a rest at the Wetland Centre, we might spot some bats having an afternoon siesta.

Common Fruit Bat (Cynopterus brachyotis)

These Common Fruit Bats are also known as Lesser Dog-Faced Fruit Bat (Cynopterus brachyotis), and for good reason. They do bear a striking resemblance to the Chihuahua.

We might also bump into Felicia the Long-tailed Macaque and her family having a picnic party.