Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Red-billed Malkoha

Red-billed Malkoha Phaenicophaeus javanicus is one of the two rarest malkohas in Borneo, the other being Chestnut-bellied Malkoha Phaenicophaeus sumatranus.  

Quentin Phillipps in his Birds of Borneo listed Red-billed Malkoha as the rarest. However, as far as Sabah is concern, I have seen Red-billed Malkoha in Sukau, Kinabatangan and Tawau, some friends photographed it before in RDC, Sepilok, but I still have to see and photograph  a Chestnut-bellied Malkoha in Borneo to complete all the Bornean Malkohas. So, if my experience is an indication, the Chestnut-bellied Malkoha should be the rarer of the two.

Malkohas are distinctive looking birds and their field identification should pose no problem even for the beginner birders,  the similar looking Black-bellied Malkoha Phaenicophaeus diardi and Chestnut-bellied Malkoha can be easily distinguished based on the colour of their eye-shield if one is unable to see the color of the belly.

Red-billed Malkoha is the only Bornean Malkoha species that has red bill, and it is also the only species that does not have obvious eye-shield, which is a prominant facial feature of the other Bornean Malkohas.

This was photographed recently in Tawau, two birds were seen foraging in the tall canopy.

Happy birding.


Jason Bugay Reyes a.k.a horukuru said...

Yes sifu I agree with you that the Red-billed Malkoha is uncommon but the Chestnut-bellied Malkoha is the rarest among all Malkoha.

I have not seen the CBM too ...

Wong Tsu Shi said...

Thanks for sharing your observation, sifu Jason.