Bushy-crested Hornbill

Bushy-crested Hornbill by Ck Leong

The Bushy-crested Hornbill is the most common hornbill of the lowland forest in Borneo.  It moves around in small flocks of up to a dozen birds, feeding on fruit and insects.  Whereas most other hornbills breed in pairs, the Bushy-crested Hornbill has a social system of cooperative breeding, thus enabling the species a much higher chance of survivalabilty in a limited habitat.

Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker

Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker by Ck Leong

Here’s another common flowerpecker found in gardens and secondary forest.  The Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker Dicaeum cruentatum is really appropriately named, the male flashing its brilliant colours at every opportunity.  Different colour morphs have been reported, with this particular individual showing a much narrower white on the belly.

Gull-billed Tern

Gull-billed Tern in flight

Gull-billed Tern in flight

Gull-billed Tern

Gull-billed Tern

At the Tanjung Aru beach north of Kota Kinabalu last month, this lone Gull-billed Tern stood out among a group of Little Terns.  It was already in winter plumage, grey on the upper parts and black patch behind the eye.  Perhaps because it was with the Little Terns, its size caught my full attention (my lifer!).  Between graceful flights over the surf, it came down on the beach and sat with the other terns and waders.  Great day.

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.