Rare & 'secretive' bird seen in Tampines lounging at McDonald's, lunging at passersby

The bird seemed to have trouble flying at first.

Andrew Koay | March 04, 2021, 01:57 PM

Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates: https://t.me/mothershipsg

Residents in Tampines West were recently treated to a rare sight.

In a post to the Singapore Wildlife Sightings Facebook group, a user named Mabel Tan shared photos and videos of the "secretive" black bittern.

The images showed the bird chilling on a high chair at McDonald's.

Image of the black bittern in a McDonald's in Tampines West Image by Mabel Tan

Image by Mabel Tan

It also appeared to lunge at passersby that got too close.

Gif of the black bittern lunging at passersby

According to Tan, the bird, which seemed to have trouble flying, was picked off the ground by a Grab deliveryman.

Image of a Grab Deliveryman holding the black bittern Image by Mabel Tan

"An uncle held its neck and managed to pour some water down its throat," she wrote.

Tan also called ACRES to inform them about the bird and the animal welfare organisation said they would attend to it after finishing a prior appointment.

However, about an hour and 20 minutes after the bird had been placed on the high chair by Grab personnel, the black bittern flew away "without warning", before ACRES could arrive.

An "often secretive" bird

The Singapore Birds Project describes the black bittern as an "often secretive" bird that tends to hide among reeds for long periods of time.

It can be found as far as the Indian subcontinent to southern China, Southeast Asia, and northern Australia.

In Singapore, the bird is considered an "uncommon migrant", though bird-spotters hoping to catch a glimpse of the black bittern might want to try their luck at the following locations:

  • Singapore Botanic Gardens
  • Satay by the Bay
  • Chinese Gardens
  • Bidadari
  • Pasir Ris Park
  • Pulau Ubin
  • Tuas South
  • Sungei Buloh

Top image by Mabel Tan via the Singapore Wildlife Sightings Facebook page