Touted as the best songbird in the Malay Peninsula, the White-rumped Shama is a black insectivorous bird with a chestnut-coloured belly. There are few left in the wild as most of them have been poached for the caged bird trade. Individuals have been spotted at Pulau Ubin, Sime Road and the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. Chosen for the old Singapore $50 notes, this prized songbird is also known to imitate the songs of other birds. How talented!
This highly adaptable raptor or bird of prey is often sighted soaring through the skies in urban areas. It is sometimes mistaken for the White-Bellied Sea Eagle, but unlike its cousin the Brahminy Kite has distinct chestnut brown body and wings. Nesting on tall emergent trees, the adults usually raise two chicks per season. The bird is both opportunistic and kleptoparasitic, eating any small creatures and snatching food from other raptors. The old notes with the second-highest denomination of $1,000 featured a majestic Brahminy Kite.
Last but definitely not the least in denomination, the old $10,000 note featured Singapore’s largest raptor, the White-Bellied Sea Eagle. The bird of prey is usually seen flying around the Marina Bay area and diving for its meal of fish, sea snakes and crustaceans. The name of the Malaysian state of Selangor was inspired by the sea eagle, and the bird itself has been featured on the state’s tourism logo. The habitats of the White-Bellied Sea Eagle are constantly threatened in Singapore where urban forests are cut down to make way for new developments.
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