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NParks Heron Watch

Do you enjoy bird watching? Would you like to learn about our herons, egrets, bitterns and contribute to a citizen science study? Join us for the Heron Watch, as part of the NParks Community in Nature Biodiversity Watch series, to help us to learn more about these charismatic birds!

Heron Watch will take place between 24 July (Sat) and 1 August (Sun) 2021.

Anyone aged 12 and above can sign up and volunteer with us. Register HERE.

Learn more about our herons, egrets and bitterns through our interactive e-learning module, accessible via Chrome, Apple Safari, Mozilla Firefox on desktops or laptops.


What is the Heron Watch all about?

Heron Watch is a citizen science initiative by NParks to get Singaporeans involved in collecting valuable information about the herons, egrets and bitterns across Singapore.

With the data collected from many survey transects across various areas in Singapore, we can start piecing together information about where these birds are found and in what numbers! This information will contribute towards better park management and conservation measures.

Results from July 2020 Heron Watch



Results from past Heron Watch surveys

 Migratory Non-migratory 
 Jan 2018 Jul 2018
Jan 2019 Jul 2019 
Jan 2020   

How can I participate?

Anyone aged 12 and above can sign up and volunteer with us.

A training workshop on bird identification and survey techniques will be organised for beginners. You will be assigned a survey site closer to the date of the survey.

What happens after I have signed up?

  1. We will email you the details about the training (for beginners), or to confirm your sign up (for experienced volunteers).
  2. Attend both the online and practical training on your chosen date. The online session is about 2 hours long and the practical session is about 1 hour long. Both sessions cover basic survey and bird-watching techniques. You will also learn how to identify the 19 species for Heron Watch. 
  3. Few days before the Heron Watch, we will send you information about your designated site and transect locations for your survey.
  4. Head down to your site on any morning (from 7am to 10am) or afternoon (from 3pm to 6pm) during the survey period and conduct the surveys at your designated transects.
  5. Send the results of your survey to us either using our online results form or through email.


If you have any questions, please email us at with “Heron Watch July 2021” in the email subject.


Frequently Asked Questions

1.       I don’t have any bird-watching experience. Can I still participate?

Yes! We will provide training at our workshops, which will cover basic survey and bird-watching techniques, well as the identification of the 19 species under Heron Watch. This will enable you to carry out the surveys at your designated sites. With practice, you will be able to identify more species and become a true-blue bird-watcher!


2.       Do I need any special equipment?

The survey was designed to accommodate surveyors without any binoculars. All you need is a datasheet and a pen, or a smart-phone with the SGBioAtlas app.


3.       Is it compulsory for me to attend the training workshops?

You will be required to attend the training to familiarise yourself with the common species if you have limited experience with bird-watching. The training sessions will also teach you how to do the surveys properly and provide instructions for the Heron Watch itself. Experienced bird-watchers are also welcome to join us at the session.


4.       What are the common species that you will be covering in the training? Would I still need to attend the training if I can identify them?

The 19 species are:




Grey Heron

Pacific Reef Heron

Yellow Bittern

Black-crowned Night Heron

Eastern Cattle Egret

Cinnamon Bittern

Purple Heron

Great Egret

Von Schrenck's Bittern

Great-billed Heron

Intermediate Egret

Black Bittern

Striated Heron

Little Egret


Chinese Pond Heron

Chinese Egret


Javan Pond Heron



Indian Pond Heron



Malayan Night Heron




Even if you can identify these species easily, do join us if you are unfamiliar with the survey technique. Expert bird-watchers who are familiar with the techniques and are confident of conducting the counts independently with minimal instructions can opt out of the training.


5.       When and where are training sessions?

For this round of Heron Watch, there would be 2 training sessions to attend - an online session and a practical session.

The online session will be held over Zoom on 10 July (3 pm to 5 pm) and 11 July (3 pm to 5 pm). You only need to attend one online session. Those who have attended the previous training sessions are not required to attend.

The practical session will be held at Yishun Pond Park, on 17 July (8 am to 11 am) and 18 July (8 am to 11 am). Volunteers will be able to try out techniques taught in class with the help of a guide, and it will be kept to a group size of 1 guide to 5 volunteers. You only need to attend one hour slot on one of the days . 

New volunteers are required to attend both the online and practical training sessions, and details to join the training will be provided to registered volunteers.

6.       Will this Heron Watch be very time consuming?

The training sessions will take approximately two hours for the online component and one hour for the practical component. The Heron Watch itself will only take one morning (from 7am to 10am) or afternoon (from 3pm to 6pm) during the survey period. If you volunteer to do counts at more than one site, you may be required to conduct more than one survey within the stipulated week.


7.       How will the data I collect help in NParks' park management and conservation efforts?

The data on the heron, egrets and bittern species and their distribution collected during the Heron Watch will help establish a baseline from which we can monitor the patterns in these bird populations in Singapore. With the counts held bi-annually, we can track changes over time and develop management strategies to sustain or even enhance these populations.


8.       Can my school/company/community group participate in this event together?

In line with the COVID-19 precautionary measures, survey teams will be limited to 5 pax. We encourage you to join the next round of survey, when the precautionary measures are relaxed. Please contact us at for more information.


Last updated on 23 June 2021

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