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Friday, 20 July 2012


Another post that is well overdue.

February 3rd 2012, together with my wife and two good friends we went for a long weekend to do the headhunters trail in Mulu. It's fairly easy access from Brunei, a quick bolt across the border to Miri and a 30 minute plane ride before touchdown in Mulu.

We had been in Mulu a couple of occasions before and went straight for the longboat this time to take us to the start of the 8 km. trail to camp 5. 

On arrival the stream next to camp 5 served as the perfect cooling down. Because of an injury I wouldn't be able to join the rest of our party for the climb to the pinnacles the next day.

A pygmy squirrel
View from camp 5 on the limestone cliffs.
A wreathed hornbill is also enjoying the afternoon sun. 
Another view from camp 5, down the river.
So the next morning my three companions went up the pinnacles while I stayed behind to shoot some pictures of the animal- and birdlife around camp 5. 

I was walking down the Melinau gorge when I heard some commotion overhead. A group of langurs, but not the familiar silver-leaf or red-leaf monkeys we see in Brunei. A family party of 4-6 Hose's Langurs (Presbytis Hosei), a very rare sighting. And that is an understatement!

The Hose's langur is a primate, endemic to the island of Borneo. Due to habitat loss and extensive hunting the populations have severely declined over the past decades. The IUCN website tells us more, there are 4 subspecies of Hose's langur:

  • Miller's grizzled langur (Presbytis hosei canicrus) - "Endangered"
  • Everett's grizzled langur (Presbytis hosei everetti) - "Vulnerable"
  • Hose's grizzled langur (Presbytis hosei hosei) - "Data Deficient"
  • Saban grizzled langur (Presbytis hosei sabana) - "Endangered"

So which one is it? It is not subspecies (ssp.) canicrus, thought to be extinct, but recently re-discovered in Kalimantan. Ssp. sabana, or the grey-leaf monkey, is a rare subspecies in Sabah. And as ssp. everetti is found in Kalimantan, the species I encountered must be the Hose's grizzled langur (Presbytis hosei hosei), which indeed fits with the described range of the species. Thanks to an attentive reader (see comments) I have corrected this to Everett's grizzled langur now.

Some further googling indeed confirms its rarity - Cede Prudente's blog is the only place where I can find some other photographic evidence of the existence of this species. 

Hose's Langur (Presbytis hosei everetti); one of the adults
Hose's Langur (Presbytis hosei everetti);
a youngster, checking me out. 
Hose's Langur (Presbytis hosei everetti); same juvenile. 

Besides a siberian blue robin, I didn't see an awful lot of exciting wildlife after this. That I missed a big trogon (Whitehead's?) the others saw on their ascend of the pinnacles seems only fair.

The next day we set off for the second part of the trek in the direction of Limbang. The last time we did this hike we were lucky with views of an argus pheasant and a glimpse of the extremely rare and endangered bay cat. This time the usual bulbuls and babblers. A banded broadbill and an asian paradise flycatcher at the end of the trail both provided some reasonable views.

After about 11 km we reached the stream where a longboat picks you up for the final 3 hour stretch. I really enjoy this part; you just sit back and see the jungle glide by. We saw stork billed kingfisher, emerald dove and red-and-black broadbill before reaching the longhouse where some cold beers were waiting for us. The longhouse marks the end of the trail - the next day we were dropped off at Limbang for our flight back home to Miri and Brunei.

Folkert, 20/07/2012

As a final note; I did share one of the langur photo's with the Malaysian Nature Society, but I am actually not sure if they ever published it.


  1. In Brunei living subspecies of Hose's Langur is not Presbytis hosei hosei; but Presbytis hosei everetti.
    Trockennasenprimaten from Michael Schröpel.
    and more.
    Subspecies Presbytis hosei hosei is very cryptical taxon.

  2. Thanks anonymous. I found it hard to find any good descriptive information of the subspecies on the web and was primarily relying on the 2 links listed in the text. Your clarification helps and I will put in a rectification!

  3. I would like to be published in the book of all primates. These are the only pictures of this subspecies P hosei, I think. More info: