Articles from January 2009

Yellow-bellied Prinia

Yellow-bellied Prinia by Ck Leong

The Yellow-bellied Prinia is a common inhabitant of grassland and scrub, up to 1,200m in places where the vegetation has been disturbed. Usually it is seen taking short flights between brief landings on the stem of grass or bush. When disturbed, it quickly drops into cover. But it will soon give away its presence by its shrill song. The race found in Borneo is the Prinia f. latrunculus with its underparts awashed in a light buff, quite unrepresentative of its vernacular name.

Ochraceous Bulbul

Ochraceous Bulbul by Ck Leong

The bulbuls are a large family of Africa and southern Asia. There are 22 species here in Borneo. The Ochraceous bulbul Alophoixus ochraceus is a common bird of the mountains. They keep to the understorey feeding mainly on berries. With their puffed out throat feathers and loud calls, you can’t miss them.

Temminck’s Sunbird

Temminck’s Sunbird by Ck Leong

This beautiful sunbird Aethopyga temminckii is generally considered as a bird of the hills and mountains of Borneo. On occasions I have also seen it in the lowland forest (300m) of Tabin Wildlife Reserve. The male bird announces itself with a continual cheet cheet usually from the tree canopy. Its red tail distinguishes itself from the closely similar Javan Sunbird A. mystacalis (endemic to Java) which has a purple tail.

Dark-sided Flycatcher

Dark-sided Flycatcher by Ck Leong

This wintering flycatcher Muscicapa sibirica must feel really at home around the hilly habitat of Penampang, just south of Kota Kinabalu. I spotted this bird about two months ago and it is still around the same patch of forest today. Previously I have seen this bird in the montane forest of Mt Trus Madi around 1,600m above sea level, so it does get around. When not in flight, it is usually sitting upright on a bare branch.

Brown Shrike

Brown Shrike by Ck Leong

This common shrike Lanius cristatus arrives here every year without fail. There has been no study done on this migrant here but I feel that there has been a steady decline in numbers over the years. Most arrivals here are young with various stages of barring on the flanks and back. This particular bird was spotted around a low bush making repeated forays on grasshoppers on the ground.