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Thursday, 3 July 2014

Badas again

The Badas area is one of my favorite spots in Brunei. It is mostly prime peat swamp forest with some smaller areas of Kerangas. One plus point is that it is close to home. The other is that the area hides some type specialists that are hard to find elsewhere, examples are hook-billed bulbul, bristlehead, grey-breasted babbler and cinnamon-headed green pigeon.

Besides these specialists the species diversity is relatively large, abundance however not so much. Especially in the forest itself birding can put a real test to your patience. What's more, when you do finally get to see a bird it will typically do anything in its power to ensure that you will not leave with a good picture.

A small group of dusky broadbills I saw recently pretty much stuck to the canopy. Of course, when one of the birds decided to come down it chose the only branch directly overhead.
Dusky broadbill (Corydon sumatranus)
Due to the habit of rarely perching still for more than a few seconds flowerpeckers are not the easiest birds to get on camera under any circumstance. But this rare brown-backed flowerpecker also valued a rather large personal space and for 20 minutes I was chasing only brief glimpses after which it left the scene completely; these heavy crops are the best material I ended up with.
Brown-backed flowerpecker (Dicaeum Everetti)
Brown-backed flowerpecker (Dicaeum Everetti)
To offset this frequent frustration there are of course also the more satisfying sightings. I think someone wise once mentioned that the best sighting for a birder is a mammal (… or reptile in this case). I don't believe that is entirely true, but a second sighting of this Malaysian brown snake last weekend on the Badas road came pretty close.
Malaysian brown snake (Xenelaphis Hexagonotus)
Malaysian brown snake (Xenelaphis Hexagonotus)
Malaysian brown snake (Xenelaphis Hexagonotus)
I had seen this species once before on KB road and the picture I then managed even made it to the second edition of the Snakes of Borneo field guide by Robert Stuebing et. al. that was launched recently. Supposedly good pictures of this snake are hard to come by - this part of Brunei seems to be the exception to the rule.

Folkert, 03/07/2014


  1. Hi Folkert, looks like there are a number of rare Bornean species in Badas, mist go there one day.

    I will also be uploading your images of the rare Brown-backed Flowerpecker to BBI.

    Many thanks.

  2. Thanks guys. I'll gladly show you around any time your in the neighborhood!

  3. Hi Folkert. I would love to use your photo of a Malaysian Brown Snake in my online guide at If you still see these comments can you reply here or on my blog?