Posts belonging to Category Hawks & Eagles


Here’s a beauty from Mt Kinabalu.  The Besra, Accipiter virgatus,  is usually seen in the morning where it makes short flights to its favorite perch.  From here it will on the lookout for small birds and reptiles.  When in flight, look for its rounded wings and long tail.

White-fronted Falconet

white-fronted-falconet by Ck Leong

The falconets are the smallest raptors in the world.  There are 2 species in Borneo, the endemic White-fronted Falconet Microhierax latifrons found in the northern region (mainly Sabah) and the Black-thighed Falconet M. fringillarius which resides south of Sabah.  These birds like to perch on dead branches from where they would take off to hunt prey which are mainly larger insects and small birds.


The Osprey Pandion haliaetus is a truly global bird found in all continents (except the Antarctic).  In Borneo, small numbers from Eurasia find their way here during the northern winter, instinctively settling near wetlands, fish being their main diet.  I have always being amazed by the sight of the bird howering and then plunging into the water and to emerge flying with a fish.

Changeable Hawk-eagle

Changeable Hawk-eagle dark morph

Learned avian naturalists have spent considerable time delving into the taxonomic ranking of  crested hawk-eagles.  From a birdwatcher point of view, the resident crested hawk-eagle being polymorphic and having 2 main morphs, earns itself the name “Changeable”, with the dark morphs being more common.  Mainly a forest bird, it is also seen at forest edge, no doubt hoping for an easy meal.  Race in Borneo Nisaetus cirrhatus limnaetus.


The genus Spilornis is represented by 2 species in Borneo, the widespread and Borneo’s most common raptor S. cheela (Crested Serpent-eagle) and the rare endemic S. kinabaluensis (Mountain Serpent-eagle) occupying the montane habitats not frequented by the former.

The Mountain Serpent-eagle is distinguished from the Crested Serpent-eagle by having longer wings, a darker plumage with black throat and broader white band on the tail.  When seen flying  from a long distance, it is probably easier to id from the voice, with the final note of the Mountain being more sustained.

Mountain Serpent-eagle, Mt Kinabalu

Crested Serpent-eagle, Tabin Wildlife Resort