Unprecedented sighting of up to 12 rare Himalayan Griffon vultures at Tanjong Pagar, Sentosa & Bukit Panjang

They were spotted at various parts of Singapore.

Ashley Tan| January 09, 01:37 PM

After the large numbers of Asian openbills that visited at the end of 2019, Singapore has yet another rare wildlife visitor.

Following the last sighting of a pair of Himalayan Griffon vultures at Bukit Timah, the birdwatchers were alerted to a surprising sighting of them again this week.

In the early morning of Jan. 9, 2020, a number of Himalayan Griffon vultures have been spotted flying around several places near town.

S'pore a pitstop for the vultures

Himalayan Griffon vultures hail, as evident from their name, from the high altitudes of the Himalayas and mountains of Central Asia.

They are the second-largest Old World vultures found in the continents of Europe, Asia and Africa — their wingspan can reach up to three metres.

The species is currently classified as "near threatened" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The Himalayan Griffon vultures have been spotted during the months of December and January in Singapore in some years, according to Singapore Birds Project.

These birds are here to find food to refuel and rest as they migrate down to the south during winter.

As a result of the long flight, the vultures usually arrive weak and hungry.

Spotted at many places around Singapore

The large birds were seen congregating in several areas including Outram Hill, Berlayer Creek, near the Singapore General Hospital, Raffles Place, Bukit Panjang and even Sentosa.

A birdwatcher told Mothership that he believed there were around 12 vultures spotted together at one point.

The sighting was described by veteran birdwatcher, Francis Yap, as "unprecedented", as the vultures are rare migrants and for the first time, such a large number of them has been recorded.

Here's a really cool shot of the magnificent Himalayan Griffon vulture soaring near the [email protected], taken by Yap.

Photo courtesy of Francis Yap.

At one time, four of the vultures were found roosting in the central business district area.

A few photos show the large bird roosting atop Orchid Hotel near Tanjong Pagar.

Screenshot provided by Mothership reader

Photo courtesy of Elvin Tan

Photo courtesy of Elvin Tan

One person even spotted a vulture wandering along Peck Seah Street towards Maxwell Road on Jan. 8, at around 7pm.

Here's an up-close shot showing how huge it actually is.

Photo from Kirari Labo / FB

In a separate video, the vulture can be seen flying rather low among motorists on the road.

Top photo courtesy of Francis Yap and via Kirari Labo/Facebook


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