Borneo is known for its high levels of biodiversity with three new species being discovered in the Heart of Borneo on average every month! Raleigh Borneo is working alongside our project partner Asian Forestry Company Sabah (AFCS) in the Bengkoka Forest Reserve to help conserve, protect and regenerate the area. Biodiversity research has been conducted in the reserve over the past three weeks by our volunteers. From this research, the data collected will be utilised to inform decisions surrounding conservation of the area and also the level of protection awarded.
Learn more about the project here.
Here are Host Country Volunteer’s (HCV) Yokie top ten birds identified during the study accompanied by her sketches
1) Little Spiderhunter
- Common resident, 16cm
- Common in lowland primary and secondary forest throughout Borneo
- Usually wanders to banana groves in cultivated areas
- Feeds on nectar of banana and ginger flowers in the understorey of the forest
- Usually are the most commonly trapped bird in forest mist-netting surveys
Range: India to South China, Peninsula Malaysia, Sumatra, Java, Borneo and the Philippines.
2) Red-Throated Sunbird
- Local resident, 12cm
- An uncommon sunbird but widespread in primary forest and forest edge
Range: Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Borneo.
3) Black-Headed Bulbul
- Common resident, 15cm
- A common forest bulbul found in lowland primary and secondary forest throughout Borneo
- Distinguished by black band on yellow tail and striking blue eyes with a bluish sheen to feathering around eye
Range: India to Peninsula Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo, Java, Bali and Palawan.
4) Rufous Piculet
- Common resident, 10cm
- Found in primary and secondary lowland and hill forest but prefers the thick tangled vegetation of disturbed or logged forest where it is common (One of the forest birds that benefits from logging)
- A quiet tapping low down from the centre of a thicket of vines and rattans is usually this bird
- Female lacks the yellow forehead of the male
Range: Myanmar, Peninsula Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo and Java.
5) Velvet-fronted Nuthatch
- Locally common resident, 12cm
- Occurs throughout the coastal and primary forests of Borneo.
- Generally scarce and probably most common in the hills and mountains
- Distinctive red beak and legs
- The female lacks the black eyebrows of the male
- Juvenile has black bill
- Searches trunks and bark for insects, often upside down
- Nests in old woodpecker or barber holes
Range: Himalayas to Peninsula Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo, Java and Palawai.
6) Black and Red Broadbill
- Common resident, 23cm
- Often seen in pairs along forested river banks from the coast to the interior
- The nest is suspended from a branch over the water with the appearance of detritus trapped by a dangling liana in a flood
- Sometimes flies down to pick up food such as freshwater crabs or fish from the water’s edge
Range: Myanmar, Thailand, Peninsula Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo.
7) Chestnut-Capped Thrush
- Scarce resident, 16cm
- An extremely shy and wary inhabitant of the primary forest understorey throughout Borneo
- Previously believed to be very rare however, mist netting has previously revealed that it is locally common at Poring and Serinsim in the Kinabalu National Park and at Danum, Mulu and Semengoh
- Night-flying records indicate nomadic movement
- A mist netting record from 2,100m on the Kinabalu Summit Trail
- In Java, a popular songbird which is now being bred in captivity for this purpose
Range: Thailand, Peninsula Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo.
8) Temminck’s Babbler
- Local sub montane resident, 15cm
- Scarce inhabitant of lower montane, montane primary and secondary forest throughout Borneo
- Locally common in the forest at KNP HQ
- Jungle Babblers hunt insects on the ground or low down in dense tangles of vines in the forest understorey
- They build round leafy nests low down near the ground
- Sexes are similar
- Young are plain not spotted
Range: Borneo and Java.
9) Chestnut-backed Scimitar-Babbler
- Scarce resident, 20cm
- Resident in lowland forest throughout Borneo
- Locally common in hills and submontane areas
- Peers into crevices and holes in trunks and branches in a search for insects – the same foraging niche as Lesser Treeshrew
- There are 13 species of scimitar babblers are found from the Himalayas through South East Asia to the mountains of Java
- Only one species occurs in Borneo
- They’re known for their loud calls, in which pairs duet with each other
Range: Peninsula Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo.
10) Blue-Banded Kingfisher
- Scarce resident, 18cm
- The least common of the Bornean kingfishers
- Found along clear rocky rivers and streams in the lowlands and hills with a preference for submontane localities. Occassionally in costal swamps
- Sexes differ
- Looks like a large dark blue-eared kingfisher with contrasting sky-blue back
Range: Myanmmar to Peninsula Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo and Java.
Facts and sketches by host country volunteer Yokie.
Photography and editing by Communications Officer Rebecca Raab.
Contact any of our volunteers by completing the linked contact form. We will pass your messages and words of encouragement on to the volunteers during our project loops.