Fourth day in Singapore we wanted to explore Jurong Bird park. Waking up early we headed to the terrace for the morning kopi. Our morning breakfast at 5footway.inn was always a gastronomic as well as visual treat. The sun peeking behind the cloudy sky gave me a wonderful capture of the Singapore river front which you can see below.
Travel to jurong was via the bus. Bus journey in Singapore is very interesting especially if you take the double-decker bus and sit in the front row of the top deck. Photography is difficult from the front glass of the deck as there usually a plastic advertisement hoarding stuck to that glass along with some sort of sun film. However using the side windows, it is possible to shoot the cityscape.
We walked to the bus stop at Clarke Quay MRT. Took Bus 174 to Boon Lay Interchange, Jurong West Central, 61 stops away. After about an hour we reached Boon Lay Interchange. There we took Bus 249 to Jurong Bird park which was pretty short and completed in 7 minutes.
Some of the curious stuff I was able to capture from my bus was a road sign which wanted me to call fire hydrant. There was also a Redbus replica at youth park, probably an advertisement gimmick. Sunday morning crowd on a was pretty thin.
Jurong Bird Park is one of the most renowned bird sanctuaries with some of the largest free-flying aviaries in the world. In habitats that mirror their naturalistic environments, Jurong Bird Park is Asia’s largest bird park with a collection of more than 5,000 birds across 400 species. The park is located at the west-end of Singapore, offers 20.2 hectares of exploratory landscape and gives visitors the opportunity to meet and interact with these feathered residents.
We had already purchased 4 park, park hopper pass. On our 2nd day at Singapore we had covered Zoo, night safari and river safari. So this was last park on that pass. The park greets you with variety of orchids which adorn the entrance. There is also a beautiful stained glass dome which I have used used as the first image here.
We started our exploration at Penguin coast. The outdoor enclosure houses the African Penguins, otherwise known as Jackass Penguins, one of the few species that has adapted to the tropics. Here you can get a truly upclose view of the birds. Along with them are the Cape Shelduck or South African Shelduck, and Gulls.
Soon we were at Pools amphitheater and it was time for High flyer show. The venue was full. High Flyers Show, featured an exhilarating line-up of birds.
Parrots go beak-to-beak in a race against time to display their speed and agility and awed us by their dramatic fly-bys. Gaia, endangered Hyacinth Macaw plus Alfred and Vicky, Great-pied Hornbills, were there to tell their story in the wild. Mimicking ability of Amigo, Yellow-Naped Amazon, the only bird in the world that sings in three languages.
There was picking money from the hand trick by a Cockatoo. Hand feeding Toco toucan was another great attraction of the show.
After an experience of a free-flying performance, featuring a grand finale of colours and excitement, they assembled what they called, world’s largest number of birds on stage.
Then we walked to Heliconia Walk. Jurong Bird Park holds the honour of being Asia’s first Heliconia Repository with 167 species and cultivars of Heliconia. Heliconia are unusual-looking flowering plants, native to Central and South America, New Guinea, are best known for their exotic blooms. Unlike most other flowering plants, Heliconias depend on birds – in particular hummingbirds – for pollination. Next stop was spoonbills, shorebirds and scarlet ibis. They were all enclosed in their own aviary.
Crowned pigeons avaiary called Royal rumbles was next. These pigeons are so large, that they have often been mistaken for chickens and turkeys! Aptly named for its residents’ “noble” bearings and “rambling” style of walking, Royal Ramble houses 3 species of the world’s largest, and most handsome, pigeons – the Common Crowned Pigeon, the Victoria Crowned Pigeon and the Scheepmaker’s Crowned Pigeon in 3 separate aviaries. Their lacy crowns and elaborate plumage – as they ramble on the ground or roost in the treetops. Rather than coo like most pigeons do, the loud sound of a male Crowned Pigeon when it sings sounds more like a low ‘boom boom’.
In the same cage I also noticed Greater Blue-eared Starling.
The path then lead us to the birds of paradise. Birds of Paradise exhibit is a 40-metre long tree-top level walkway. This 2-level exhibit offers an unobstructed view into the lives of these sensitive birds, which can be found hiding in the tree tops or skulking in the undergrowth.
While these birds look like divas with their dramatic plumes, elongated feathers and iridescent colours, they are really shy and secretive birds. These natives of Irian Jaya and Papua New Guinea are well known for their flamboyant courtship rituals, put on by the males of the species. With accentuated ornaments, the males all stand in a row and almost in unison, put on an elaborate dance and a phenomenal show for the females. Like a beauty pageant, the female then selects the male that most impresses her to be her mate. Such displays can last for hours, and if you’re lucky, you may be privy to such a show like we did for over 20 minutes. There was one male who went on showing of his elaborate dance to the female who did not look very interested in him, but she had no choice 🙂
Male Andean cock-of-the-rock was in an enclosure next to the birds of paradise. This orange bird in a dimly lit environment was difficult to capture.
A cacophony of hornbill honks attracted to the nearby Hornbill and Toucan center. In an area of over 2,000 square-metres, you will find the largest collection of Southeast Asian Hornbills in the world, as well as a wide variety of South American Toucans.
Famous for its oversized and colourful bill, the South American Toucan is often seen tossing fruits into the air. The destruction of tropical rainforests has led to the decline in the hornbill population. With this, Jurong Bird Park has initiated a programme to breed these rare and endangered birds in captivity to ensure their continued survival. Each aviary offers a conducive environment for them to breed, while allowing them to display their natural behaviour.
These monogamous birds are known for their deep faithfulness towards each other. While the female nests in a sealed crevice, the male goes in search for food. It is known that the loyal female will accept food from no one other than her partner, even at the brink of starvation!
Jurong Bird Park has recorded the world’s first successful hatching of the Black Hornbill, Southern Pied Hornbill and Great Indian Hornbill. It was also feeding time for these hornbills which were fed with meal worms 🙂
After seeing their feeding we also got hungry. Since the Lory loft cafe was nearby we tried pastry and ice-cream there and then descended to Lory Loft. In the world’s largest Lory flight aviary, you’ll see bright colours of red, yellow, green and blue fluttering above your heads, and around you. And if you’re lucky, you might even have some of them perch on you while you stroll around the Australian outback-themed 3,000 square-metre aviary!
With a 125-year old Bottle tree at the entrance, the sprawling 9-storey high aviary features a magnificent 360-degree elevated view of the landscape. This is also where you will have the unique opportunity to participate in Lory Feeding. These gregarious, and exceptionally bold birds are a sight to behold. And because they are so forthcoming, the Lory Loft makes for great photographs. We saw several visitors taking their selfies with these birds 🙂
The road then lead us to Birds of prey. Hawks, eagles and vultures live side by side in towering enclosures on this magnificent street of kings of the skies. As you walk through these exhibits, look out for the sharp talons and hooked beaks and read up on the amazing stories behind each of these beautiful birds of prey. Raptors include Singapore’s natives Brahminy Kite and White-bellied Sea Eagle, as well as a very special pair of vultures. Pied crow there was a special attraction and was pestering all the raptors there.
Dinosaur Descendants was next, blue-headed Double-Wattled Cassowary with a soft and spongy casque that they use as a tool to forage for food, and as a weapon against rivals was there. Its neighbour, the Ostrich, is the world’s largest, heaviest and fastest-running bird with the biggest eyeballs. It also wins, wings down, with the largest eggs in the world. You’ll also see the Emu and the Marabou Stork. All these were resting in shade. Our next stop was the Bird Discovery Centre.
Bird Discovery Centre is audiovisual display. Strolling through 12 sections of the living classroom and discovering an entire flock of amazing avian facts was really fun. There even was an egg-cellent egg collection from more than 250 bird species which come in different sizes. Have you ever seen a green or a blue egg? Here you can.
Waterfall Aviary adventure is an immersive 13 stories high and 2 hectares wide experience right from the start, home to an enigmatic realm of over 600 free-flying birds.
As you walk through the rainforest paths and along the mangrove swamps, look out for the birds as they chirp up in the trees and feed at their feeding posts. Among the species are the iridescent Starlings, the Turacos, Rollers, Common Hoopoe, Parrots, Yellow-billed Stork as well as the elusive Crested Guinea Fowls.
Jungle Jewels Flight Aviary was a fantastic experience of rich tropical rain forests of South America. Walk through the 14-metre high intimate aviary of cascading water and lush vegetation, and spot the small and brilliantly coloured winged natives of the most species-rich regions of the world.
At the entrance, meet the spritely and beautiful Toucan as it welcomes you into the aviary. Then high into the treetops where you will see the bright colours of the Tanagers and Contingas – that feed on fruit, seeds, nectar, flower parts and even insects. Like precious gems, these birds along with the Violaceous Euphonia, Red-crested Cardinal and Yellow-hooded Blackbird add to the wondrous flying colours of the wild.
Swan lake had the beauty of graceful water birds – Black-necked Swan, Black Swan and the Mute Swan. They roost, fish, bathe and swim to the water’s edge in close proximity.
Pelican Cove was next. It has 7 out of world’s 8 species of Pelicans, as well as the largest of the pelicans, the endangered Dalmatian Pelican weighing between 11kg and 15kg. Other species include the Great White, Gull and Australian Pelicans. There was even an underwater viewing gallery for Pelicans.
Then we entered a large aviary of parrots. The Park’s parrot residents include the Hyacinth Macaw, Military Macaw, Blue-eyed Cockatoo, Black Palm Cockatoo, Scarlet Macaw, Yellow-naped Amazon, Red-sided Eclectus Bird, Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo and Blue and Gold Macaw.
Flamingo lake with waterfall and hundreds of flamingos were next. On the way there we saw Saddle-billed stork and Grey crowned crane.
The Penguins inside the indoor, climate-controlled den is home to 4 species of penguins – the Humboldt, Rockhopper, Macaroni and the majestic King Penguin. You can watch them as they torpedo through the water and see how they nimbly jump up from the water onto the ice. Along with gulls and Atlantic Puffins they live a pretty chilled life there.
After such a fabulous journey through the wonderful world of birds we had our lunch at Hawk cafe. The food was similar to the one we had like in Singapore Zoo, but was better tasting. Sumptuous meal of Laksa, Nasi Lemak, Nasi Padang – Ayam Goreng and Hainanese Chicken Rice Set. Post lunch we traveled from park to visit Gardens at Bay. Since the blog and the pictures have already exceeded the page limit, I will continue the rest of the journey in the next part of the blog. I had around 700 captures from the bird park and trying to reduce it the good 50 photos was an extremely difficult and tedious task 🙂
You can check all the other parts Singapore travel blog here