Thursday, November 25, 2010

Ruddy Kingfisher

Ruddy Kingfisher Halcyon coromanda is not an easy bird to see in Borneo, it is commoner in north-east Sabah than anywhere in Sarawak where it is rarely seen. It has been collected from coastal, island and inland localities and from mangroves, swamps and old rubber plantation.

There are two races occurring in Borneo, one race being scarce non-breeding winter visitor from mainland Asia H. c. major and the resident race H. c. minor.

H. c. major is a slightly larger bird at 25 to 27 cm compared to 23 cm of H. c. minor, however, since this species always occur singly, ascertaining the race by size alone base on a solitary bird in the field can be deceptive.

During the duration of the just concluded Borneo Bird Festival in October at Rain Forest Discovery Centre in Sepilok, Sandakan, one bird was seen every day feeding at a small pond next to the Woodpecker Avenue. It was the star bird of the Festival, keeping both the bird watchers and bird photographers waiting by the pond to take a good look/image of it.

This image was taken there during the Festival (my new bird). It is of the resident race H. c. minor because of the following distinctive features:-

1. Rich purple wash on the upper parts compare to orange or ruddy-brown for H. c. major, 

2. Rufous chin/throat compare to almost white chin/throat of H. c. major,  and

3. Purple tinged breast which is absent on H. c. major.

Happy birding.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Eyebrowed Jungle Flycatcher

Eyebrowed Jungle Flycatcher Rhinomyias gularis is an endemic of Borneo, it is a common montane resident along the north-central mountain ranges from G. Kinabalu to G. Murud and G. Menyapa.

It was previously lumped with three races of Jungle Flycatcher found in the Phillippines, split by Wolters (1980) from the Phillippines forms as an endemic monotypic species.

It usually perched on the lower branches in the lower storey and hunt close to ground, it moves on the ground and through the undergrowth much like a thrush.

It can easily be seen and photographed in bushes behind the Liwagu Restaurant in Kinabalu Park. These images of this endemic species, my new bird, were taken there.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike

Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hemipus picatus is a common resident of Borneo, it is mainly a sub-montane and montane bird, probably occurring throughout the mountains of Borneo, mostly from 750 to 1835 m, but occasionally brlow 150m.

It is also recorded in low altitude lowland dipterocarp forest at Kalabakan near Tawau.

I saw this bird in Kinabalu Park and Rafflesia Centre, which are montane. I have yet to see it from lowland forests.

This male bird was photographed in Rafflesia Centre, it is my new photographed wild bird.

Happy birding.

Monday, November 15, 2010


Fruithunter Chlamydochaera jefferyi is endemic to Borneo where it is a decidedly local montane species (700–3,200  m),  occurring  in  Sabah  and  Sarawak (Malaysia)  along  the  highland  chain  from  Gunung Kinabalu  to  Gunung  Mulu,  and  also  Gunung  Dulit (Smythies  and  Davison  1999).  In  Kalimantan (Indonesia) it has been recorded west to Gunung Nyiat (Prieme and Heegaard 1988) and south to Bukit Baka Nature Reserve (Rice 1989). It is an aberrant, strikingly marked, thrush-like bird occupying a monotypic genus that was once linked with trillers Lalage or orioles Oriolus (MacKinnon and Phillipps 1993), but is now thought to be associated with thrushes Turdinae (Ames 1975, Ahlquist et al. 1984), or cochoas Cochoa (Olson 1987). (Forktail 18, 2002).

It is not recorded in Kelabit Highland in Sarawak.

It is an unmistakable bird in the field, its black and buff pattern on the head and black breast are diagnostic. When sitting, their position is pigeon-like, but when they congregate at berry trees, they act much like bulbuls. They also resembles laughingthrushes in some behaviors and often occur in pairs. Their flight is like that of a campephagid, in that they dip their pointed wings in and out rather than flap.

This pair is photographed in Rafflesia Centre, Tambunan, my new bird.

Happy birding.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Mountain Barbet

Mountain Barbet Megalaima monticola, is the last barbet for me to complete my photo collection of all the Bornean barbets.

It is a common Bornean endemic in hill and montane forest, it has been found almost in all mountains of Borneo that collections have been made.

It looks a little like the female bird of the Red-throated Barbet Megalaima mystacophanos, however, Mountain Barbet has an evidently  smaller bill and the lack of red spot at the base of the rictal bristles on each side (area touching the base of upper mandible just in front of the eye).

It was usually heard  but  it was very difficult to get a decent photo because it was either too hard to locate or perched too high. I managed to photograph the birds at Rafflesia Centre in Tambunan, my new bird.

Monday, November 8, 2010

September water birds in Tawau.

These are some of the migratory and resident water birds photographed  in Tawau in the third week of September 2010.

A juvenile Little Tern Sterna albifrons
Non-breeding Little Tern
Breeding Little Tern

Little Tern is the smallest tern in Borneo and is the only tern that breeds here, comprising of both wintering and resident breeding populations. Recorded to breed in Sarawak and Kalimantan.

A lone Asian Dowitcher Limnnodromus semipalmatus (my new bird) among a group of Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa.
 A Little Egret Egretta garzetta which resembles a Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes.
 Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis
 A group Red-necked Stints Calidris ruficollis
 The middle bird looks a bit bigger than the others but it is still a Red-necked Stint.
 Another odd-looking Red-necked Stint
 Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea
A mud-crap trying to chase away a  Common Redshank Tringa totanus.
 Little-ringed Plover Charadrius dubius
 Wandering Whistling Ducks Dendrocygna arcuata
  Crab in 'HULK' stance.
 Mud- crab
 You know where the inspiration for Transformer comes from.

Many thanks to Sifu Dave Bakewell for confirmation on IDs of the Stints and Egret.

Happy birding.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Bornean Bulbul

Bornean Bulbul Pycnonotus montis, a generally scare bird that is confined to secondary growths and forest edge in the mountains, 600m to 1,550m.

Found in G. Kinabalu; Crocker Range and foothills; G Trus Madi; Kaingaran; Lumaku; Malangkap; Sinsuran road; Tambunan; Telipok; Maliau Basin in Sabah, note that some of the records are from areas not exactly montane. Also found in Trusan; Kelabit Highlands and G Dulit in Sarawak.

The species was split by Fishpool & Tobias (2005) from Pycnonotus melanicterus,  into five species; dispar (Ruby-throated Bulbul) in Sumatra, Java and Bali; gularis (Flame-throated Bulbul) in W Ghat and India; melanicterus (Black-capped Bulbul) in Sri Lanka; flaviventris (Black-crested Bulbul) in elsewhere in Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia; and montis (Bornean Bulbul) in Borneo.

The Bornean Bulbul has black head and crest, olive-green upper parts, yellow throat, yellowish green underparts, dark red iris and black bill.

Black-crested Bulbul P. flaviventris caecilli in Peninsular Malaysia has black throat and pale eyes.

Ruby-throated Bulbul P. dispar of Sumatra has red throat and dark iris.

This images were taken in Rafflesia Centre, a montane forest. This bird is locally common there.