Thursday, January 19, 2012

Lesser Adjutant

Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus is unmistakable in the field in Borneo. There is no other bird that looks like it , both in size and appearance. It was reported to be common in the old days, along the mangrove mudflats in coastal areas. Now it is quite rare and not easy to see one. Shooting is said to be the cause of its drastic reduction in Sabah.

This bird is reported to wander extensively. Sighting reports from lower Kinabatangan is quite regular, and it was once in Likas wetlands. This was in Tinagat beach Tawau, the first time we saw it there, and my lifer. There were three of them according to the locals but we only saw one there.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Oriental Cuckoo

Oriental Cuckoo Cuculus optatus (Myer : C. horsfieldi) and Himalayan Cuckoo Cuculus saturatus are both locally common non-breeding winter visitor to lowland and hills of Borneo, accordingly to Mann's Checklist, they are here in equal number during migration.

Life was easy  before their split in 2005 as all birds would be ticked as Oriental Cuckoo, resulting in a list of sightings pre-2005 which were not identified to race.

Oriental Bird Club does not follow the split by Payne (2005) and King (2005), and continues to list both as Oriental Cuckoo in its image database, so referring to OBI for identification tips is of not much help.

Different authors use different scientific name for Oriental Cuckoo as seen in the first paragraph, Mann and Phillipps follow Payne while Myer follows King.

Oriental and Himalayan Cuckoo are virtually identical and best distinguished by call and size, however, migrating birds are usually not vocal in their wintering ground, again, size is another unreliable method in the field if only a single bird is present, thus the identification of this species here is more often a calculated guess.

I think this bird is Oriental Cuckoo and not Himalayan, based on the markings on its vent. Himalayan sometimes has vague dark splodges on its vent while Oriental sometimes has spots on undertail-coverts (Brazil, 2009), the undertail-coverts of this bird sure looks more spotty then splodgy to me.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Rare bird sightings in Sabah - 4th Quarter 2011

The followings are records of interesting bird sightings;  some rare, some very rare, including one new addition to Bornean list (Red-billed Starling),  in various parts of Sabah compiled from Internet postings,  photo sharing blog and personal communications throughout the 4th quarter of 2011, feel free to email me if I missed out anything,  left out any observer or made any error, so that appropriate amendments could be made.

A big thank you to all observers who have shared their observations.

These information will be very useful if they are centralized in one place instead of scattered all over the internet.I have, therefore, self appointed myself to make a list every month from all information available to me and will post it at my blog, Borneo Bird Club's Blog, and Borneo Bird Images when the appropriate web page is ready. By doing so, I hope these records will be stored permanently and readily available to everyone interested in such info.

All sightings included here are supported by photographs made by the observers.
 October 2011
November 2011
 December 2011

Edited to add on 5th April 2012 : As I do not know how to upload a Word file here.A Word file with clickable link to the relevant images is at Borneo Bird Images Document list.

Happy birding.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Rare Roadkill

Malay Civet or Tangalung (Viverra tangalunga), nocturnal, occurs in forests and cultivated areas adjacent thereto. It is also reported to come to forest camps at night to feed on food scraps.


I once saw one walking on a road next to an oil palm plantation, I mistook it as a dog and missed the chance to get a photo of this species. I have seen another one during night safari in Tabin Wildlife Reserve. Too bad I have not had a good picture of this species yet.


We discovered this fine specimen one morning on our way to photograph birds, it was sad to see this beautiful animal lying lifeless on the tarmac.