Indigo Flycatcher

Indigo Flycatcher by Ck Leong

In the mountains of Sumatra, Java or Borneo, you will be really unlucky to miss the tame Indigo Flycatcher Eumyias indigo. This dark blue flycatcher displays a light blue or almost white forecrown and buff vent. Its habits are typical of flycatchers and will come out to the forest edges. I took this picture at the carpark in front of the Visitor Centre at Kinabalu Park HQ. Couldn’t have asked for an easier shot.

Scaly-breasted Munia

Scaly-breasted Munia by Ck Leong

It was only 10 years ago that you had to put in a bit of an effort to see the Scaly-breasted Munia Lonchura punctulata. Now the spread has been complete. In Sabah, sightings come from everywhere – grass-lined roads, paddy fields, gardens, farming areas, etc. Small flocks roam with consummate ease, either by themselves or with other munias, causing a good deal of dismay in rice growing areas. They are beautiful birds really, only if there were less of them…

Rufous Night Heron

Rufous Night Heron by Ck Leong

Here’s a positive bird story. Despite constantly losing roosting areas around Kota Kinabalu, the Rufous (Nankeen) Night Heron Nycticorax caledonicus is still seen in different open areas at nightfall. By day the birds roost in colonies in the most unlikely of places. This bird was seen in a colony of Rufous and Black-crowned Night Herons in a small group of trees in a well populated area and next to a busy road. For sure, they are not as scarce as previous reports have put them to be.

Scarlet-rumped Trogon

Scarlet-rumped Trogon by Ck Leong

In Borneo, the Scarlet-rumped Trogon Harpactes duvaucelii is the smallest and also the most common of this family of brightly coloured birds. They usually perch in the understorey of the forest, feeding mainly on insects. We found this male steadfastly defending its territory together with 2 other birds, one of which must have been a juvenile. Despite the birds’s perching habit, it is really quite difficult to get a good shot as they always seem to be partially behind leaves or twigs.

Greater Painted Snipe

Greater Painted Snipe by Ck Leong

Finally! A pair of Greater Painted Snipe Rostratula benghalensis. A phone call from Denis (thanks, bro!) sent me rushing to a rice paddy by a very busy road just outside Kota Kinabalu. Well what do you know, it was the exact spot I stopped just two days ago and from which I saw nothing. In the scope, in fading light, we saw that the birds were incubating 1 egg and in a most precarious nesting spot. It was right in a corner of a half ploughed rice paddy and in a distance there were 3 tractors which had just called it a day. And tomorrow??? I just have to content myself that these are highly secretive birds and that they are actually more common than they are seen.