Asian Glossy Starling

Asian Glossy Starling by Ck Leong

In the correct light, you will be able to see the green sheen on this all black Asian Glossy Starling Aplonis panayensis.  You will not be able to miss this bird in coastal towns, cultivated areas, even in the edge of primary forests.  Local residents will know not to park their cars under power lines where some of these birds roost.  Others perch on dead trees, coconut palms or even wayside ornamentals.  Check the area under such plants if you are going to leave your car overnight.

Gould’s Frogmouth

Gould's Frogmouth by Ck Leong


Seeing a frogmouth during the day is always an event every birder will remember for a long long time.  In June this year I had such an opportunity at Tabin Wildlife Reserve to see this nesting Gould’s Frogmouth Batrachostomus stellatus.  It was my first proper sighting of this species and it was so wonderful.  The bird was sitting on the nest which was so tiny and almost unseen, on a low branch about 2 metres off the ground.  I digiscoped this photo from the opposite side of the road.

Thanks to Tabin Wildlife Resort and staff for this great sighting.

Hairy-backed Bulbul

Hairy-backed Bulbul by Ck Leong

Despite its name, I wouldn’t spend too much time looking for the hairlike feathers on the back of the Hairy-backed Bulbul Tricholestes criniger.  Better to look for the pale yellow face around the eye.  This common bird of the lowland forest is also one of the smallest bulbuls here.

Wreathed Hornbill

Wreathed Hornbill male

Wreathed Hornbill male

Last month while at Tabin Wildlife Reserve I saw this male Wreathed Hornbill Rhyticeros undulatus steadily feeding his sealed-in female partner on this huge “Mengaris” Koompassia excelsa tree.  I estimated that the nest-hole would be about 40m above the ground.  I believed this is still the incubation period and the male has a huge effort ahead to feed both the female and the coming chick. Studies done in Thailand have indicated that the Wreathed Hornbill would have a feeding range of up to 10 km2 during this breeding season.  On Mount Kinabalu I have seen this hornbill in flight near the mountain huts at around 3,200m.  More power to you, Mr Hornbill.

Blue-headed Pitta

Blue-headed Pitta male

Blue-headed Pitta male

Here’s one of my all time favorites, the Blue-headed Pitta Hydrornis baudii.  This Bornean endemic is locally common in lowland primary forest but is constantly threatened by habitat loss.  Its behavior is similar to that of other pittas as is its feeding habit.