Pingu Surprise (White-breasted Waterhen)

White-breasted Waterhen is one of my all time favourite birds. Thankfully, it’s an abundant species even in the city. I liken its black and white plumage to Pingu, partly why I’m endeared to this species.

Taken on 27th December 2021

Today was a good day to be outside, a strange cold front has swept over Bangkok with temperatures in the mid-to-low 20s. A big shock as yesterday was pushing towards 40c. I took the opportunity to go birding at a local park.

Taken March 22nd 2022

Reaching my favourite spot I noticed a couple of White-breasted Waterhens which were being more confiding than usual. Normally, they will keep a fair distance and be skittish. Today, they were passing me within 3 metres and were seemingly calm. After a little more observation, I heard light squeaks – quite similar to the sound of Scaly-breasted Munia which were present in the area. They sounds were the Waterhen chicks calling!

Rushing around. Busy time caring for chicks. 2nd April 2022.

They were very well hidden and would venture deeper into the cover, I thought they weren’t going to allow any good views, but waiting around the area for an hour I eventually got amazing views of them. There were at least 4 chicks.

Guiding a chick which got separated. 2nd April 2022.

Some of them had been exploring the other side of the path and I got to see them with their parents. At one point 4 chicks were on the path with both parents! I didn’t get an image of that but it was a great sight. The parents were very busy caring for all the little black fluff balls.

Two chicks by themselves. 2nd April 2022.
Carefully looking out for danger. 2nd April 2022.

After these pictures were taken the parent came to guide them to a safer spot. They followed along, at one point the parent was foraging and showing the chicks how to do it.

Following along. 2nd April 2022.
My favourite photo of the day. 2nd April 2022.

In the end, it was an unexpectedly great day with fantastic weather. At first I thought I wasn’t going to get any images of the chicks but waiting around paid off. I love White-breasted Waterhens! Another nice surprise was a Red-whiskered Bulbul overlooking the area. A bird I hadn’t yet seen in the park.

Red-whiskered Bulbul in the same area. 2nd April 2022.

Update: As of 5th April, at least one of the chicks has been killed by the cat which has been allowed to live at the park.

All images © 2021 – 2022 hamsambly

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