Birding Tabin, Sabah, Borneo – 10,000 Birds

Typically I simply wish to hug eBird, or extra particularly, whoever writes the quick species descriptions (despite the fact that I’m not the standard hugging type of individual, belief me on this). Reminiscent of within the case of the Rufous-backed Dwarf-Kingfisher, which eBird describes as a “tiny, unbelievably cute kingfisher: a luminous ball of pink, orange, yellow, and ranging quantities of blue and purple”.

Admittedly, when considering of hugging this individual, I hope it’s a cute younger feminine pupil somewhat than an outdated beer-bellied male ornithologist …

Collared Kingfishers apparently do pretty nicely in palm oil plantations – no surprise as they clearly don’t thoughts fairly weird-looking issues.



If you happen to ever get invited to lunch by Collared Kingfishers, it’s possible you’ll subsequently wish to rigorously take into account whether or not to just accept. The identical applies when being invited by some Cantonese folks.

The Plain Sunbird is the plain vanilla model of the in any other case usually very colourful household (okay, a really low-budget form of joke).

Including insult to harm, eBird disparagingly characterizes it as “extraordinarily plain”.

However it’s true – the species has to face the fact that it’s a lot, a lot plainer than another members of the family such because the Ruby-cheeked Sunbird.

One paper means that the Ruby-cheeked Sunbird primarily feeds on bugs somewhat than on nectar, the extra widespread meals of sunbirds. Nonetheless, the HBW lists nectar amongst its meals.

The burden indicated for each sexes within the HBW (“male 8·2–9·1 g, feminine 8·6 g”) means that the feminine birds management their weight far more strictly, whereas the males sometimes – perhaps after watching a soccer match whereas consuming beer and consuming fatty issues – acquire weight which they lose once more each time the dearth of unpolluted kitchen tools retains them from getting ready meals.

There are about 50 completely different species of flowerpeckers globally. Considerably puzzlingly, Wikipedia states that they’re usually boring in colour, although the location then admits that in a number of species the males have brightly patterned plumage. That characterization works pretty nicely for the Yellow-rumped Flowerpecker


… for which the HBW certainly states that “feminine is duller than male” …

… however much less so for the not-very-dull-in colour Yellow-breasted Flowerpecker (for which each sexes look related).

“Uninteresting, me?”


When you’ve got ever been to Singapore, you’ll know that about half the locations there are named after Sir Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffles (1781 – 1826). For good measure, some animals within the close to neighborhood have been additionally named after him, corresponding to Raffles’s Malkoha.

You already know there’s most likely some evil backstory if Wikipedia talks of a “complicated” legacy of Raffles – additional detailing that “he was finally an imperialist benefiting on the expense of the indigenous peoples”. So, I suppose that is one other fowl identify that needs to be modified finally.

There isn’t a British explorer named Sir John Noticed (1789 – 1856), so the identify of the Noticed Fantail will seemingly stay unchanged.


One of many scarier moments of the keep at Tabin was when two Asian Shiny Starlings tried to hypnotize me with their piercing purple eyes. I escaped, barely.

In distinction, the Little Spiderhunter is frightening for spiders solely, not for folks.


To me, the Whiskered Treeswift appears a bit like it’s sporting some type of generic superhero costume. I suppose it’s these facial stripes. If these are taken off, the species appears identical to Clark Kent.

eBird characterizes it as “long-tailed and long-winged, like a cross between a swift and a swallow” – maybe impressed by the Genus identify Semiprocne (“half-swallow”).

The Crested Serpent-eagle is just not a vulture, however that doesn’t preserve me from mentioning a latest Economist article right here, “The sudden demise of Indian vultures killed hundreds of individuals”. And whereas this text is behind a paywall, the authentic analysis paper is just not. It describes how, when a veterinary drug utilized in India killed the overwhelming majority of Indian vultures, the human loss of life price in affected areas elevated by about 4% because the vultures have been not round to feed on animal carcasses and the sanitation thus worsened considerably.


In fact, there needs to be a photograph of a vulture right here, not of a Crested Serpent-eagle.


Whereas this was a superb subject to spotlight within the Economist, a latest chief on nationalism in the identical journal was much less helpful. In that chief, it’s acknowledged that “Nationalism may be constructive or unfavorable” – one thing I doubt very a lot. They quote Yascha Mounk: “At its finest, it [nationalism] can encourage a white Christian residing in rural Tennessee to really feel particular concern for a Hispanic atheist residing in Los Angeles—and vice versa.” It is rather onerous for me to see how a rural Tennessean having a particular concern for the Hispanic atheist residing in Los Angeles however not for one residing in Buenos Aires or Tokyo generally is a pressure of excellent. Isn’t that what nationalism is all about? I care about you as a result of you will have the identical passport? Us in opposition to them?

Okay, Kai, no one is admittedly very all for your ideas on political points – may you get again to the subject of birds?

Properly, sure. Woodpeckers are birds which might be typically well-liked and thought of pretty apolitical (with a number of exceptions, such because the Pileated Woodpecker that took half within the storming of the capitol on Jan 06, 2021, although the fowl concerned claims this was a misunderstanding).

Apparently, someone as soon as made fairly an effort to explain the completely different plumages of the Orange-backed Woodpecker: the natal down, the juvenile (first primary) plumage, the formative plumage, the second primary plumage, the third primary plumage, and the definitive primary plumage.

So, if you happen to ever consider dressing up as an Orange-backed Woodpecker of various ages, bear in mind: you will have to spend some huge cash on costumes.

Whereas the costume get together an Orange-backed Woodpecker goes by when rising up feels like enjoyable, the Latin species identify of the Buff-rumped Woodpecker (tristis, “unhappy, gloomy”) doesn’t.

In a evaluate of Gorman’s ebook on woodpeckers, the reviewer (Koenig) suggests a woodpecker huge yr, as he causes that the possibility to come across a wave of Buff-rumped Woodpeckers in his (presumably North American) yard may be very slim …

Not solely people undergo from Harry Potter books. Apparently, for the reason that launch of the Harry Potter sequence in Indonesia within the early 2000s the recognition of owls such because the Buffy Fish Owl as pets has elevated, resulting in extra birds being caught within the wild after which offered at native fowl markets.


Even the identify of the owls has modified: “Whereas up to now owls have been collectively referred to as Burung Hantu (‘Ghost birds’), within the fowl markets they’re now generally known as Burung Harry Potter (‘Harry Potter birds’)”. (supply)

Poor Buffy Fish Owl. It deserves rather a lot higher than being caught and locked in a cage.

The Brown Boobook appears virtually similar to the Northern Boobook passing by Shanghai on migration. Each are a part of what one paper calls the Brown Hawk Owl complicated – one thing that’s a lot much less objectionable than the military-industrial complicated however (no less than to me) not likely much more attention-grabbing.

The Brown Boobook is sedentary, although. No probability of seeing it in Shanghai, you need to come additional south to see it (as I did on this journey).

eBird appears barely spooked by the species, mentioning its “massive, unsettling yellow eyes”. Perhaps the imprecise reminiscence of a nightmare? Hopefully, the well being plans of Cornell College embrace entry to some psychiatrists …

Like owls, the Larger Inexperienced Leafbird (if that is certainly one) additionally suffers from being captured and offered as a cage fowl – it’s now listed as Endangered.

Its species identify sonnerati is derived from Pierre Sonnerat (1748-1814), a French naturalist. His considerably doubtful declare to fame features a ebook describing his journey to New Guinea even if he by no means truly received to the mainland space of New Guinea (supply).

The HBW even has info on the value growth of this species: “It’s now one of the quite a few species in Indonesian fowl markets. Market costs have tracked demand: in 1987 birds retailed for $ 14, rising to $ 44 in 2014 and $ 99 in 2016.”

My historical past of taking images of the Black-naped Monarch is just not a contented one – whereas I’ve seen it a number of instances, even in Shanghai, I by no means received the type of photograph I actually wished – that of a male with a superb view of the black cranium cap (or zuchetto – I regarded this up) in any other case worn by bishops.


This was one other one in every of these events – some respectable photographs of a feminine however not of the specified male. Sexism in fowl images is alive and in impolite well being, I’m afraid.


Thankfully for the discerning male birder who doesn’t wish to come over as misogynistic, female and male Blue-throated Bee-eaters look alike. So there isn’t any must particularly search for males.

Curiously, the Latin species identify viridis (“inexperienced”) is far more applicable for the juvenile fowl than for the one partly inexperienced grownup.

Life as a juvenile Blue-throated Bee-eater is the standard hell that nature supplies for a lot of creatures: “Blue-throated bee-eaters apply asynchronous brooding, which signifies that chicks hatch at completely different instances, usually pairing with siblicide. Older chicks aren’t solely bigger and in a position to face up to bigger wounds from different siblings, but additionally have the power to monopolize the meals they’re fed by mother and father.” (supply)

One other paper is much more easy: “Sibling competitors in blue-throated bee-eaters invariably led to nest fatalities, which have been induced by sibling assaults with an apparently distinctive, however developmentally momentary, hook on the tip of the higher mandible.”

Full with gory particulars recorded in scientific element: “Variety of peck wounds and scars on blue-throated bee-eater chicks in relation to the sum of mass variations between every chick and its bigger siblings (known as the ‘mass drawback’) …” Or clarify this to the youthful one in every of a pair of siblings: “Mortality usually begins with smaller and youthful people as a result of lack of meals and assaults from their bigger siblings” … (supply).

Nonetheless, regardless of these identified murderous tendencies of Blue-throated Bee-eater chicks [note: Grammarly helpfully suggests replacing Bee-eater with Beef-eater: but no, this is a birding blog, not a cooking show], none of them has ever been accused of homicide in a US court docket, a lot much less convicted. That makes it even much less justifiable that some folks must endure prolonged court docket battles simply because they tried to overthrow election outcomes. The one clarification I’ve for this unequal remedy is that it have to be a witch hunt.

If that each one sounds a bit too thrilling to you, why not have a look at images of the Brown Fulvetta? Even the often pretty constructive eBird reviewer admits that “because the identify suggests, that is a reasonably uninteresting-looking fulvetta with out flashy distinguishing traits”.

The Brown Fulvetta is listed as “Close to Threatened”, which is a bit puzzling on condition that the HBW names various areas the place it supposedly is somewhat widespread. My private principle is that listers who see this fowl have already forgotten all about it by the point they get round to placing their eBird lists collectively.

Within the “different” part of this publish overlaying these unlucky animals that aren’t birds, we now have a tarsier.

And another animals.



Autor Kai Pflug


Journalist specialized in online marketing as Social Media Manager. I help professionals and companies to become more Internet and online reputation, which allows to give life to the Social Media Strategies defined for the Company, and thus immortalize brands, products and services. I have participated as an exhibitor in various forums nationally and internationally, I am the author of several articles in digital magazines and Blogs.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button