Articles from February 2010

Alcedo Kingfishers of Borneo

Here they are, the 3 Alcedo kingfishers found in Borneo.  These are the fishing kingfishers as compared to the slightly smaller insectivorous Ceyx species.

I find that the Blue-banded Kingfisher A. euryzona is hardest to find, being partial to clean running forest streams which are increasingly harder to come by.  The Common Kingfisher A. atthis is not that common either and it prefers the ponds and wet areas around the paddy fields.  The Blue-eared Kingfisher A. meninting seems to be seen most often, its high-pitched tseet whistle in flight giving away its presence.

I can’t decide which is my favourite, each of them so wonderful in plumage and habit.

Blue-banded Kingfisher female

Common Kingfisher

Blue-eared Kingfisher

Olive-backed Sunbird

Olive-backed Sunbird female

Olive-backed Sunbird male

The Olive-backed Sunbird Cinnyris jugularis is the most common sunbird in urban areas around Borneo.  It is also found in the mangroves and plantations while its altitude range goes up to 1,500m.  While seemingly the closest relative we have to the hummingbirds, sunbirds here can only hover momentarily, more often perching while feeding. Their nests can often be seen hanging from telephone wires and eaves of buildings while nestings on low plants are not uncommon.


Around Kota Kinabalu and during this time of the year, you can see all 6 species of Egrets, from the the most common Eastern Cattle Egret to the least common the visiting Chinese Egret.  Enjoy!

Great Egret

Intermediate Egret

Little Egret

Pacific Reef Egret dark morph

Chinese Egret

Eastern Cattle Egret

Common Coot

Common Coot by Ck Leong

Last month while birding in Nepal, the Common Coot Fulica atra was a common bird in ponds and rivers.  At the Phewa Lake in Porkara, congregations in the hundreds were sighted daily.  This morning at a little swamp south of Kota Kinabalu, I was looking at the same bird.  It was only after a while that it occurred to me that the Common Coot was a rare vagrant in Borneo.  What extraordinary luck!  I had stopped there to take some pictures of the Wandering Whistling Duck, a common species here.  There was only 1 Coot that I saw and it was an immature with the frontal shield yet to be fully developed.