Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Birding in Sandakan, Sabah

I went to Sepilok, Sandakan, Sabah from 17 to 26 of May, and stayed at Sepilok Bread and BreakfastSepilok RDC (Rainforest Discovery Center) is one of the best birding localities in east Sabah, it is an annual event host for Borneo Bird FestivalSepilok RDC is part of the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, which is recognized as one of the Important Bird Areas (IBA) by BirdLife International, Click HERE to find out more about the IBA.

I had my bird watching activities mainly at Sepilok RDC, and spent a day at Sandakan Batu Lima for the magnificent water bird, the Oriental Darter. I have many lifers in this birding trip, which include three endemic species (namely the Dusky Munia, White-crowned Shama (18-May), Black and Crimson Pitta (20-May) ), and one endemic sub-species of Oriental Magpie Robin (adamsi), but I missed the star bird of Sepilok, the Borneo Bristlehead. In Sabah, Kinabalu Park has the highest number of endemic species of birds, and they are mainly montane species.

On the first day of my visit to RDC, I was greeted by the Dusky Munia, it is a common bird in Sandakan, but endemic species in Borneo.
Dusky Munia

White-crowned Shama, it is also a common bird at Sepilok RDC.
The adult and the Juvenile White-crowned Shama

Black and Crimson Pitta, I saw it twice in Kingfisher Trail but the digiscoped picture is not clear, it is therefore not shown here. Its call is similar to Garnet Pitta but slightly more prolonged, click HERE to listen to the recorded call. (coming soon)

The subspecies endemic of the Oriental Magpie Robin (adamsi) is a common bird at Sepilok RDC.
Oriental Magpie Robin

Other non-endemic lifers are the Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher (Black-backed), Orange-backed Woodpecker, Buff-necked Woodpecker, Rufous Piculet, Gray-capped Woodpecker, Banded Broadbill, Oriental Darter, Jambu Fruit-Dove, White-bellied Woodswallow, Ruby-cheeked Sunbird, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, White-chested Babbler, Short-tailed Babler and Black-capped Babbler.

In fact, Sepilok is rich in Piciformes, Coraciiformes, Trogonidae, Eurylaimidae and Pittidae. I spotted ten species of Piciformes (nine species of woodpeckers, a Brown Barbet), thirteen Coraciiforms (four types of Hornbills, seven species of Kingfishers, Blue-throated Bee-eater, and Dollarbird), one species of Trogon, three species of Broadbills and one species of Pitta.

Click on the following links to find out more:
Oriental Darters in Sandakan
Buffy Fish-Owl in Sepilok 
Hornbills in Sepilok
Kingfishers and Allies in Sepilok 
Woodpeckers and Allies in Sepilok
Diard's Trogon in Sepilok
Broadbills in Sepilok
Corvidans and Passeridans in Sepilok

Ashy Tailorbird, one of the common birds at Sepilok RDC.

Ashy Tailorbird

Happy Birding and Digiscoping!

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