Waterhen flies into MRT train at Orchard, hides under seats & alights at Bishan station

A rail bird trying out a new form of transportation - the railway.

Zi Shan Kow | September 13, 2021, 04:52 PM

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

Ever stepped into a room and had the awkward realisation everyone's looking at you?

That must have been the experience of one waterhen when it unceremoniously boarded a train on the North-South Line on Sep. 11.

Flies into the faces of train commuters at Orchard

One commuter named Donna Runy witnessed the incident at about 9pm while on a train headed towards Jurong East.

According to Runy, the bird's entrance at Orchard station on a Saturday night caused a great deal of commotion.

In a panic, the bird flew straight into the faces of commuters seated on the MRT seats and the passengers quickly stood up in alarm.

Embarrassed, the waterhen rushed to resituate itself beneath the seats in the train cabin, where it stayed hiding for the rest of the ride.

Onboard the train, Runy noted that the waterhen quietly observed its surroundings with a sense of curiosity.

Avoiding eye contact at all costs. Video courtesy of Donna Runy.

Seemingly in silent agreement, the commuters in the train cabin did not approach the bird or disturb it.

Some commuters proceeded to sit near the bird anyway, while others were too engrossed on their devices to have noticed it at all.

Alights at Bishan station

The waterhen eventually garnered enough courage at Bishan station, when the train was less crowded, and decided to make its move.

It was then seen casually strutting out of the MRT cabin, safely past the automatic doors.

Waterhen be like: Totally not doing this for the first time, I can find my way out of this place with concrete four walls. (Video courtesy of Donna Runy.)

Typically found in loose groups, waterhens are rather shy and wary animals.

Now that it is far from home, hopefully the bird managed to find its way to a more familiar environment such as Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park to make new friends.

White-breasted waterhen

With its long toes and odd gait on land, the waterhen belongs to the rail family, also known as the "family of wading birds".

White-breasted waterhens are native to Singapore, and fairly common in their natural habitat of wetlands, marshes, coastal areas, as well as urban parks and canals.

The omnivorous bird feeds on insects, aquatic snails, molluscs, small fish and water plants.

Photo by Lin Yangchen via NParks Flora & Fauna Web.

Adults have long yellow legs, dark grey upper parts, and white underparts with a red base.

Photo by Jacqueline Lau via NParks Flora & Fauna Web.

Waterhen chicks, on the other hand, are fully black and undeniably adorable.

Follow and listen to our podcast here

Top images by Donna Runy.