Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Singapore's Rare and Valuable Visitor: Not so Rare After All

My last post claiming the rare and first time sighting of the White-bellied Heron in Singapore aroused a huge interest among the birding community around the world - only to find that it was nothing more than a false ID by me. It turns out that the bird is not a WBH but another heron called the Great-billed Heron (Ardea sumatrana). OBC, London and senior and experienced bird watchers in Singapore and Japan have confirmed this. I took a closer look at the bird's images posted on the internet and find that I was wrong - my apology for the mistake - but certainly the similarity between the two herons is striking. The following images of the Great-billed Herons will show you how similar they are - except that the belly of the GBH is not as white as that of the WBH. It also looks smaller than the WBH.

In comparison, the following image of the White-bellied Heron I photographed in Rurichu clearly show the difference - in that the WBH has a pure white belly while that of the GBH is greyish.

As I said in my earlier post, it would have been fantastic if the bird were to be WBH - I guess it was just too much of a wishful thought.

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