Tuesday, 13 December 2011

The Honeyguide

The Malaysian Honeyguide is undoubtedly one of the rarest and least documented resident bird species in Malaysia. During our maiden visit to the Bukit Wang forest reserve in Kedah back in 2010, Choo Eng heard the Honeyguide’s distinct call and it was the first indication of its occurrence here. In fact, the call is usually the only telltale sign of its presence because it usually takes some effort and a little luck to successfully trace the call back to the bird itself.

In time, we realized that it was a male bird and he has this habit of returning to the same spot to call for prolonged periods. This “singing perch” provided excellent views of the Honeyguide as he will be quite tolerant to human presence. Numerous birders from every corner of the country and beyond came to enjoy the opportunity to observe this rarity in the flesh and it is all courtesy of this particular behaviour.

The decision of the local council to repair a hut that was next the singing perch was the reason the Honeyguide kept out of sight momentarily at one time. I guess all the commotion was simply too much for the poor bird to tolerate. And just when it seems that all was lost, he reappeared at another singing perch about a few hundred meters from the original location. It is at this second location that most birders managed to obtain reasonably better images due to the easier shooting conditions there.

Now almost two years since our very first encounter, the bird has apparently left the area again. And from the look of things, this time it is for good. The actual reason behind the latest disappearance remains a mystery but one thing is for sure, the Malaysian Honeyguide is once again a rare denizen of our forest.


Wong Tsu Shi said...

I have yet to see one here.

Ayuwat Jearwattanakanok said...

This is a very nice find! This species is so rare in Thailand that only few people have seen it.

Choy Wai Mun said...

Ayuwat, it is also rare here. We are just so lucky we came across this particular individual.

Anonymous said...

I was planning a trip there this christmas holiday so I missed the chance.....mikebirder

Choy Wai Mun said...

Well, you just never know. You might get lucky. After all, it is X'mas.