Birdwatchers Spot Rare Green Broadbill Bird Declared ‘Extinct’ 70 Years Ago in Singapore

By Michael Wing
Michael Wing
Michael Wing
Editor and Writer
Michael Wing is a writer and editor based in Calgary, Canada, where he was born and educated in the arts. He writes mainly on culture, human interest, and trending news.
July 14, 2021 Updated: July 14, 2021

The reappearance of a rare bright-green-feathered bird has rustled up excitement among birdwatchers in Singapore.

The green broadbill—declared extinct in Singapore 70 years ago—was sighted on the isle of Pulau Ubin, northwest of the republic, on June 27, Mr. Lim Liang Jim of the National Parks Board in Singapore said, as quoted by The Straits Times.

For a few fortunate birders, seeing the green broadbill was a “lifer”—a rare sighting of a new species.

Local birdwatcher Adrian Silas Tay was among the very first to spot and photograph the vivid green bird, and she posted pictures on Facebook, letting local enthusiasts know who’s back in town. Lee Chin Pong was lucky enough to capture the feathered friend on video, posting it on Singapore Birders’ group.

Epoch Times Photo
(Thipwan/Shutterstock)

The green broadbill once populated Pulau Ubin, according to the Singapore Birds Project, but they’ve been “hardly seen in Singapore” since 1941. Although declared extinct in Singapore over a half-a-century ago, the bird has made a number of reappearances on the island city-state over the past decade.

On April 11, an adult male green broadbill appeared on Pulau Ubin. Seven years earlier, in 2014, two juvenile green broadbills were sighted—one on Pulau Ubin, the other in East Coast Park, according to the National Parks Board.

The June 27 specimen is likely a male, judging by its coloration and markings. Males are distinct for their emerald-green plumage, dark “comma”-shaped markings behind the eyes, and bars of dark color on their wings. Females look similar to males, except they’re duller in color and have no markings.

Epoch Times Photo
(Alen thien/Shutterstock)
Epoch Times Photo
(Sunti/Shutterstock)

It’s likely the male bird is just a visitor from out of town—probably from Malaysia. The species is considered a “long-distance disperser,” according to Singapore Birds Project, and known to populate the Thai-Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, and Borneo.

“Given the proximity of Ubin to Malaysia, it is possible that some of the rare bird species seen there, including the Green Broadbill has ‘dispersed’ from its habitat in Malaysia into Ubin,” said Yong Ding Li, from Birdlife International, local outlet Mothership reported.

Visitor or otherwise, the return of the green broadbill—listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN—got lavish attention from bird lovers near and far.

Epoch Times Photo
(Super Prin/Shutterstock)

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Michael Wing
Michael Wing
Editor and Writer
Michael Wing is a writer and editor based in Calgary, Canada, where he was born and educated in the arts. He writes mainly on culture, human interest, and trending news.