Collared Owlet

Collared Owlet, front

Collared Owlet, back

I have heard it call, I have seen it flying away, but I have never had a proper view of  the Collared Owlet in Borneo.  Until now.  This endemic subspecies G. b. borneense has a different call from the others from Mainland Asia.  But together, they keep their status as the smallest owl in Asia (16cm).  In Borneo, it prefers the montane forest but has been seen in lower habitat.

Special thanks to my friends – Eyebrowed Jungle Flycatchers, Yellow-breasted Warblers, White-throated Fantails and Bornean Whistlers – their combined effort led me to this bird.


The Fruithunter Chlamydochaera jefferyi  is one of the most sought after birds in the mountains of Borneo.  Its scarcity may be associated with its feeding habits of moving around the forest in search of fruiting trees and staying in the area for only as long as the fruit supply last.  Also not very helpful is its high-pitched, drawn-out see-eet call which is usually very soft.  Once I observed a pair taking turns to feed their young.  One parent always stayed with the nestling while the other was out.  Good parenting!

Orange-headed Thrush

I took this photo of the Orange-headed Thrush Zoothera citrina on May earlier this year on the ground of the Rafflesia Information Centre along the Tambunan Road.  It was perched on a low branch on a smallish plant, probably in between feeding forays.  Since then I have been told it is dead, another victim of window collision.  Much have been said about birds and the dangers posed by transparent glass used in many buildings.  Most birds can perform incredible flight manoeuvres but none can detect transparent or reflective glass.  Sad.

Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher

I like the notion of fairy flycatchers (family Stenostiridae) in which the Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher is now placed.  It has a nice magical tone to it even though the only resemblance of this bird to the wee folk is its 12 – 13 cm size.  And it is not shy.  Still it behaves like a typical flycatcher, hawking for insects and co. from its perch (in Borneo, it favours the low to mid storey of hill forests).

Bornean Bulbul


The Bornean Bulbul Pycnonotus montis is a montane resident, easier to spot along the Crocker Range and Rafflesia Forest Reserve but rare on Mt Kinabalu.   It is a lively bird, conspicuous by its black crest, elevated when excited.  Its yellow throat distinguishes itself from the Black-crested Bulbul P. melanicterus (black or red throated) with which it was previously subsumed.