Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike
Pulau Ubin
05 Nov 2021

General details
Species Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hemipus hirundinaceus
Record ID 10013
Date 05 Nov 2021
Location Pulau Ubin
Count 1 individual
Date added 07 Nov 2021

Record accepted.

Committee's view
The observer, who is familiar with Singapore's avifauna, only obtained brief sightings and could not get any photographs of the bird. Descriptions submitted to the Records Committee included "dark mask over whole face stopping just below the eye, dark coloured wings, clean white belly"; "colouration was far too dark, closer to black"; "the bird was smaller than a kingfisher"; "beak was also pure black". Votes against noted the lack of photographs and brief sightings obtained, while that for noted that an individual (possibly the same bird) has been sighted at the same location multiple times. Although the votes by the Committee was split, we accept this record based on simple majority.
Vote results For: 4, Against: 3, Abstain: 1
Wild: 4
Verdict Accepted / Wild (Verifiable)

We were dutifully scanning the acacia canopies in hope of coming into contact with the Ruby-cheeked Sunbird Martin saw the day before. Slightly further down from the sunbird spot, there was a flurry of activity in the acacia canopy. We stopped to bin the birds flying around. At 9.06am, I binned a bird that had colour in areas similar to a Collared Kingfisher (ie. dark mask over whole face stopping just below the eye, dark coloured wings, clean white belly). But with the power of Swarvoskis vested in me I noticed that the colouration was far too dark, closer to black. Also, the bird was smaller than a kingfisher, and was perching more horizontally on the branch, while a kingfisher would be more vertical. The bird's beak was also pure black and smaller than that of a kingfisher. The bird unfortunately flew away leftwards after 2 seconds of observation and was lost amongst the mixed flock, which comprised of Brown-throated Sunbirds, Ashy Minivets, Asian Brown Flycatcher and other species. I thought I was hallucinating and googled black winged flycatcher shrike immediately after it flew and I am certain that was what I saw. Though we stayed for about 10 more minutes watching the flock, we were unfortunately unable to relocate it. I was the only observer.
Binned it for 2 seconds so can't really discuss behaviour. It was in a mixed flock, seemed to be flitting around foraging with the others. Bird was observed at low-mid canopy of a flowering acacia.
Viewing conditions
Sunny, bright. Bird was visible, maybe about 50m away? My distance estimation is awful. I'll attach a photo taken w my 300mm lens of the branch I saw it perched on.
Observer's experience
Seen many across Pen Msia but I have the memory of a goldfish so I can't say with confidence I'm fully familiar with this species. But I am familiar with local avifauna and I don't think it could have been anything else.
Observer's experience w/similar species
Very distinct markings, not sure what other similar species it might match.


Bird Society of Singapore. (2021). Record 10013: Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hemipus hirundinaceus. Retrieved April 20, 2024, from

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