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Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Labi road, April 20th

Sunday a week ago Kolbjorn and I went to Labi road to check out a locality that I hadn't been to in ages. Lady luck was not with us this morning; almost as soon we had parked the sky opened its floodgates and the downpour quickly forced us back in the car. Rather than waiting it out we decided to head back to the main road, with some idle optimism that conditions would be better there.

A big fruiting tree along to the main road provided a perfect shelter for seemingly all barbets in the area and I had good views of blue-eared, red-throated and red-crowned. As soon as the rain stopped though a group of glossy starlings flew in and almost immediately claimed exclusive rights to the fruits. Only a couple of very persistent blue-eared barbets stayed around. This is a very common species and their incessant calls can be heard almost anywhere. I have never gotten a clean shot though!
Blue-eared barbet (Megalaima australis).
We stayed while the sky cleared up, secretly hoping the more exotic species would return to the tree. They didn't. A couple of tree-sparrows offered some distraction as they were peeping through a fence next to my car. The first breeding records of this species in Borneo only date back to the early 1960's - now it's a common bird just about everywhere humans live and work.
Eurasian tree-sparrow (Passer montanis).
After 20 minutes we gave up and headed back to the first locality. The first bird we noticed was this dark-sided flycatcher. I was a little unsure about the ID, so thanks to Dave and Wong for helping out!
Dark-sided flycatcher (Muscicapa sibirica).
Same bird: dark-sided flycatcher (Muscicapa sibirica).
A chestnut-bellied malkoha also showed reasonably well while it was creeping through the trees. Labi seems a good area for this generally uncommon species.
Chestnut-bellied malkoha (Phaenicophaeus sumatranus).
We soon noticed this second flycatcher, another dark-sided. I find the ID of this bird more straight forward, especially since the diagnostic grey spots below the vent are a lot clearer.
Dark-sided flycatcher (Muscicapa sibirica).
By now it was getting late in the morning and although we heard and saw some interesting species, the activity was rapidly slowing down. Labi-road still had one good surprise on the way back. Just before turning onto the highway back to Panaga a very large bird flew overhead: a Lesser adjutant!
Lesser adjutant (Leptoptilos javanicus).
In the past, this species was still seen on occasion in and around the Seria grasslands close to Panaga. The last record however dates far back to 2009 and sadly seems to be in line with the decline of this species. Due to primarily hunting pressure the Lesser adjutant is listed as vulnerable by the IUCN.

It's always nice to end a morning out with a good species; needless to say that I was very pleased to finally add this species to my Brunei list!

Folkert, 01/05/2013


  1. Nice Chestnut-bellied Malkoha, they are very rare here.

  2. Thanks. It's not that rare over here, though getting a clean shot is something else!