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BORNEO: SABAH

Thursday 28th March - Thursday 11th April 2019

Joshua Bergmark

Whitehead's Broadbill (Joshua Bergmark)

Whitehead's Broadbill (Joshua Bergmark)

The isle of Borneo. The largest of the Greater Sundas has long been known as one of the world’s most ecologically significant areas. This was the setting for another magnificent tour exploring splendid lowland rainforest and misty mountainous terrain, searching out some of Asia’s best birds in the wonderfully easy-going and pleasant country of Malaysia. The island holds more than 50 endemic species of bird at current count, and while it is impossible to see all of them on the Sabah route alone we did manage the desired selection we wanted. Beginning in the Crocker Range and on the slopes of Mount Kinabalu, we quickly searched out the majority of the montane endemic specialties, from the retiring Crimson-headed Partridge and Red-breasted Partridge which both showed well to everyone in the end, to the beautiful and sought-after trio of Whitehead’s Broadbill, Whitehead’s Trogon and Whitehead’s Spiderhunter. Everett’s Thrush was kind enough to sit on a log and sing to us, and the newly-split Bornean Shortwing performed well nearby. After a bit of skulking, we managed to entice Bornean Forktail, Bornean Whistling Thrush, Mountain Wren-Babbler, Bornean Stubtail and Eyebrowed Jungle Flycatcher to the trail in front of us for fantastic views in the end. The amazing Bare-headed Laughingthrush (which may in fact not be a laughingthrush at all!) and the more common Chestnut-hooded Laughingthrush mixed in noisy feeding flocks filled with Bornean Green Magpie and Bornean Treepie. Smaller roving parties often included Chestnut-crested Yuhina, Bornean Whistler, Black-sided Flowerpecker, and occasionally the difficult Bornean Leafbird or Mountain Blackeye when we were in the higher parts. Pygmy White-eye and Bornean Bulbul were found at lower elevations, while Bornean Barbet, Mountain Barbet and Golden-naped Barbet for once didn’t require too much neck-straining. It is not all about endemics of course – other phenomenal species seen in the mountains included brightly-coloured Long-tailed Broadbill, Black-and-crimson Oriole, Checker-throated Woodpecker and Pygmy Flycatcher. Dark Hawk-Cuckoo, Sunda Cuckoo and Mountain Scops Owl were all tempted into view, plus a number of subspecies which have been proposed as upcoming endemics such as “Pale-faced” Flavescent Bulbul and “Bornean” Hair-crested Drongo.

Orang Utan (Joshua Bergmark)

Orang Utan (Joshua Bergmark)