Sunday, 13 October 2019

Arctic Skua (Stercorarius parasiticus)

OTHER NAMES: Parasitic Jaeger, Arctic Jaeger, Parasitic Skua
Latin Etymology: Stercorarius ("of dung") parasiticus ("parasitic)
Dark phase - possibly juvenile - Arctic Skua (Stercorarius parasiticus) at Herne Bay, Kent -  October 2019

Featured Subspecies: N/A
Weight: 300-650g  /  Length: 41-48cm  /  Wingspan: 107-125cm
UK RED LIST IUCN Red List: Least Concern

The Arctic Skua is the smallest of the four skuas found in the UK; a group that I'd had a lot of trouble catching up with at all.  The three smaller skuas (arctic, great and pomarine) all have fairly similar plumage and occur in different colour morphs broadly categorised as light and dark. Compared to the other two species, it has a shorter tail and is smaller.  They are migratory, breeding mostly around the Arctic ocean and migrating to spend Winters around the South of South America, Africa and Australasia. 

Related Species:
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Stercorariidae
Genus: Stercorarius
SUBSPECIES: none - monotypic 

 - Sighting Locations -
UNITED KINGDOM - A very local breeding species in the North of Scotland (2100 pairs) and passage migrant along all coasts.
 - A single bird seen at Herne Bay in October 2019, .

Further Notes: BirdForum Opus, IUCN Red List, RSPB, Wikipedia, Xeno-canto .

Sunday, 4 August 2019

Cirl Bunting (Emberiza cirlus)

OTHER NAMES: N/A
Latin Etymology: Emberiza ("bunting") cirlus (ultimately derived via Italian from zirlare; "to chirp")
Adult male Cirl Bunting (subspecies E. c. cirlusat Roseland Penninsula, Cornwall - July 2019

Featured Subspecies: Emberiza cirlus cirlus
Weight: 21-27g  /  Length: 15.5cm  /  Wingspan: 22-25.5cm
UK RED LIST IUCN Red List: Least Concern

It is an established trend that farmland birds have suffered from industrialisation the most, and the Cirl Bunting is a prime example; once a widely spread resident of the UK, modern farming techniques utterly crashed it's population, restricting it solely to a stretch of the South Devon Coast where it remains largely restricted to this day.  There is some small good news however; a reintroduced population in South Cornwall seems to be doing well, which is where I caught some distant views of them.  The population on the continent is far healthier, and is widely distributed around the Mediteranean.

Related Species:
Order:Passeriformes
Family: Emberizidae
Genus: Emberiza
SUBSPECIES: E. c. cirlus, E. c. nigrostriata

 - Sighting Locations -
UNITED KINGDOM - A rare resident with a very restricted range.
 - Several birds seen on the Roseland Penninsula in 2019.

Further Notes: BirdForum Opus, IUCN Red List, RSPB, Wikipedia, Xeno-canto .

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Eastern Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla tschutschensis)

OTHER NAMES: Yellow Wagtail
Latin Etymology: Motacilla ("wagtail") tschutschensis ("of the Chukhotsi penninsula, Siberia")
Partially moulted Eastern Yellow Wagtail (subspecies M. t. macronyx) at Phnom Krom, Cambodia - February 2019

Featured Subspecies: Motacilla tschitschensis macronyx
Weight: 16-20g  /  Length: 15-16cm  /  Wingspan: ?
ABSENT FROM UK IUCN Red List: Least Concern 

Wagtails are always a pleasant sight, with their distinctive markings and characterful movement, it's never not nice to see one.  Taxonomically though, they are frequently a vexatious group, with wildly varying patternatation on different races and subspecies giving the appearance that they should be entirely different species.  In the case of the Yellow Wagtail, a split separated them into Eastern and Western species, but even within these delineated groups there is a lot of variety, with multiple subspecies turning up at different locations.  In this case, the lack of a supercillium is, as far as I can work out, a feature of the subspecies macronyx, which is the expected visitor for Cambodia.

Related Species:
Order:  Passeriformes
Family: Motacillidae
Genus: Motacilla
SUBSPECIES: M. t. plexa, M. t. tschutschensis, M. t. taivana, M. t. macronyx

 - Sighting Locations -
CAMBODIA Khmer name: ខ្ទប់ដីពោះលឿង ("Yellow Covered Wagtail")
A locally Wintering species.
SINGAPORE / CAMBODIA 2019 TRIP - One at Phnom Krom

Further Notes: BirdForum Opus, IUCN Red List, RSPB, Wikipedia, Xeno-canto .

Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia)

OTHER NAMES: Indian Iora, Black-winged Iora, Small Iora, Ceylon Iora
Latin Etymology: Aegithina (a mythical bird mentioned by Aristotle) tiphia (possibly "tiara")
Non-breeding Adult female Common Iora (subspecies A. t. horizopteraat Ang Mo Kio, Singapore - February 2019

Featured Subspecies: Aegithinia tiphia horizoptera
Weight: 13.5g  /  Length: 12.5-13.5cm  /  Wingspan: ?
NO UK STATUS IUCN Red List: Least Concern 

Despite the cosmetic similarity to the sunbirds, the iora are a small family of just four species that seem to be fairly detatched from other passerines.  The Common Iora is as it's name suggests, the most common species of the four, found throughout much of South Asia. The male is a bit more a striking bird with high contrast plumage of yellow, black and white.

Related Species:
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Aegithinidae
Genus: Aegithina
SUBSPECIES: A. t. multicolor, A. t. deignani, A. t. humei, A. t. tiphia, A. t. septentrionalis, A. t. philipi, A. t.  cambodiana, A. t. horizoptera, A. t. scapularis, A. t. viridis, A. t. aequanimis

 - Sighting Locations -
SINGAPORE 
A reasonably common resident.
 - CAMBODIA/SINGAPORE 2019 TRIP: One in Ang Mo Kio.

Further Notes: BirdForum Opus, IUCN Red List, RSPB, Wikipedia, Xeno-canto .

Plain Prinia (Prinia inornata)

OTHER NAMES: Plain Wren-warbler, White-browed Wren-warbler
Latin Etymology: Prinia (originally Javan name for Bar-winged Prinia) inornata ("plain")
Adult breeding plumage Plain Prinia (subspecies P. i. herbertiat Phnom Krom, Cambodia - February 2019

Featured Subspecies: Prinia inornata herberti
Weight: 6-9g  /  Length: 11-15cm  /  Wingspan: ?
NO UK STATUS IUCN Red List: Least Concern

The Plain Prinia is a small long-tailed warbler found over Soutern Asia, unlike most Eurasian Warblers it's plumage is similar in both genders but changes with the seasons, with this Winter bird being grey backed while they change to a warm nut brown back while in the Summer.  They are primarily lowland birds, and so it is fairly typical that this bird was sighted in a bush at Phnom Krom.

Related Species:
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Cisticolidae
Genus: Prinia
SUBSPECIES: P. i. terricolor, P. e. inornata, P. i. franklinii, P. i. insularis, P. i. fusca, P. i. extrensicauda, P. i. blanfordi, P. i. herberti, P. i. flavirostris, P. i. blythi

 - Sighting Locations -
CAMBODIA - Khmer name: ចាបដង្កូវចិញ្ចើមស ("white feathers")
Locally resident
SINGAPORE / CAMBODIA 2019 TRIP - One at Phnom Krom

Further Notes: BirdForum Opus, IUCN Red List, RSPB, Wikipedia, Xeno-canto .

Yellow-browed Warbler (Phylloscopus inornatus)

OTHER NAMES: N/A
Latin Etymology: Phylloscopus ("leaf seeker") inornatus ("plain")
Adult Yellow-browed Warbler (Phylloscopus inornatusat Siem Reap, Cambodia - February 2019

Featured Subspecies: None - monotypic
Weight: 7g  /  Length: 10-11cm  /  Wingspan: 17cm
NOT PRESENT IN UK IUCN Red List: Least Concern 

A small, almost goldcrest like warbler with a very wide range of locations.  They breed in North-East Asia, but has a vast passage range covering almost all of Eurasia.  It occurs as a regular passage migrant in the UK, and I'd missed a couple of attempts to catch up with them as they headed for their Wintering grounds in Iberia and the West Coast of Africa.  However, a second area of Wintering is South-East Asia, and it is here I encountered this bird in a tree in the gardens of our hotel in Siem Reap.

Related Species:
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Phylloscopidae
Genus: Phylloscopus
SUBSPECIES: none - monotypic 

  - Sighting Locations -
CAMBODIA - Khmer name: ចាបដូនតាចិញ្ចើមលឿង ("Yellow Eyebrowed Grandfather")  
A fairly common Wintering species.
 - CAMBODIA/SINGAPORE 2019 TRIP: One seen at Siem Reap

Further Notes: BirdForum Opus, IUCN Red List, RSPB, Wikipedia, Xeno-canto .

Dusky Warbler (Phylloscopus fuscatus)

OTHER NAMES: N/A
Latin Etymology: Phylloscopus ("leaf seeker") fuscatus ("dark")
Adult Dusky Warbler (unknown subspeciesat Siem Reap, Cambodia - February 2019

Featured Subspecies: Unknown
Weight: 7-12g  /  Length: 11-12cm  /  Wingspan: 17-18cm
NO UK STATUS IUCN Red List: Least Concern

The dusky warbler is a leaf warbler of East Asia, breeding in bogs of taiga of Siberia and adjacent areas.  It has a very impressive vagrancy record, possibly as a result of being such a tiny bird with a logn migration route, it has ended up in such disparate places as the UK and California.  There are several subspecies, but as all of them are known to Winter in Indochina, it's impossible to say which one of them this particular bird was.

Related Species:
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Phylloscopidae
Genus: Phylloscopus
SUBSPECIES: P. f. fuscatus, P. f. robustus

  - Sighting Locations -
CAMBODIA - Khmer name: ចាបដូនតាខ្នងត្នោត ("Brown sparrow")
A fairly common Wintering species.
 - CAMBODIA/SINGAPORE 2019 TRIP: One seen at Siem Reap

Further Notes: BirdForum Opus, IUCN Red List, RSPB, Wikipedia, Xeno-canto .

Streak-eared Bulbul (Pycnonotus conradi)

OTHER NAMES: N/A
Latin Etymology: Pycnonotus ("strong back") conradi (after horticulturalist, Conrad Loddiges Jr)
Adult Streak-eared Bulbul (Pycnonotus conradiat Prek Toal, Cambodia - February 2019

Featured Subspecies: N/A 
Weight: 28-36g  /  Length: 17-20cm  /  Wingspan: ?
NOT PRESENT IN UK IUCN Red List: Least Concern

If I'm honest, the Streak-eared Bulbul is kind of visually one of the least compelling species I've seen; it's not really got any single distinctive species, it's just a medium small brown bird of vaguely thrush like proportions.  That being said, I must admit to being somewhat intrigued by it's range; it was one of the commoner species seen in Cambodia, seen in a couple of places, but has a fairly restricted range, largely limited to Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.  Presumably there are some kind of pressures that prevent what seems a fairly adaptable species expanding beyond that limited area? 

Related Species: 
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Pycnonotidae
Genus: Pycnonotus
SUBSPECIES: none - monotypic 

 - Sighting Locations -
CAMBODIA - Khmer name: ពពិចត្រចៀកឆ្នូត ("Striped earings")
A fairly common resident..
 - CAMBODIA/SINGAPORE 2019 TRIP:Seen at Prek Toal and Siem Reap,

Further Notes: BirdForum Opus, IUCN Red List, RSPB, Wikipedia, Xeno-canto .

Oriental Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus orientalis)

OTHER NAMES: N/A
Latin Etymology: Acrocephalus ("topmost head") orientalis ("of the orient")
Adult Oriental Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus orientalisat Florican Grasslands, Cambodia - February 2019

Featured Subspecies: N/A
Weight: 18-47g  /  Length: 18-20cm  /  Wingspan: 23-26cm
NO UK STATUS IUCN Red List: Least Concern

While the name I'd heard in advance made me imagine another small reed-type warbler, this is actually a recent split from the Great Reed Warbler - a giant amongst warblers more on the scale of a redwing - far far bigger than any resident warbler of the UK.  It is highly migratory, breeding in Mongolia, North-East China, Korea, Japan and Siberia, and wintering in South-East Asia where I saw it. 

Related Species:
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Acrocephalidae
Genus: Acrocephalus
SUBSPECIES: none - monotypic 

 - Sighting Locations -
CAMBODIA Khmer name: ចាបដូនតា ("grandfather")
A non-breeding migrant.
SINGAPORE / CAMBODIA 2019 TRIP - One seen at Florican Grassland Reserve

Further Notes: BirdForum Opus, IUCN Red List, RSPB, Wikipedia, Xeno-canto .

Striated Grassbird (Megalurus palustris)

OTHER NAMES: N/A
Latin Etymology: Megalurus ("great tailed") palustris ("marshy")
Adult Striated Grassbird (subspecies M. p. toklaoat Florican Grasslands, Cambodia - February 2019

Featured Subspecies: Megalurus palustris toklao
Weight: 38-56g  /  Length: 22-28cm  /  Wingspan: ?
NO UK STATUS IUCN Red List: Least Concern

Perhaps the name was a bit distracting at the time, but I didn't click until later that this species was a relation of the grasshopper warbler.  In retrospect, this makes sense - it shares a similar shape and plumage pattern to the species I've seen although considerably larger.

Related Species:
ORDER: Passeriformes
FAMILY: Locustellidae
GENUS: Megalurus
SUBSPECIES: M. p. toklao, M. p. forbesi, M. p. palustris

 - Sighting Locations -
CAMBODIA Khmer name: ចាបក្រុក ("Sparrow")
A fairly common resident.
SINGAPORE / CAMBODIA 2019 TRIP - Some seen at Florican Grassland Reserve

Further Notes: BirdForum Opus, IUCN Red List, RSPB, Wikipedia, Xeno-canto .

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Oriental Skylark (Alauda gulgula)

OTHER NAMES: Small Skylark
Latin Etymology: Alauda ("lark") gulgula (unclear etymology)
Adult Oriental Skylark (subspecies A. g. gulgulaat Florican Grasslands, Cambodia - February 2019

Featured Subspecies: Alauda gulgula gulgula
Weight: 15g  /  Length: 15-18cm  /  Wingspan: ?
NO UK STATUS IUCN Red List: Least Concern

The Oriental Skylark is as the name suggests, the equivalent of the Eurasian Skylark of East Asia.  It appears cosmetically similar to them, but a little smaller and more slender.  They seemed to spend their time scurrying alonside the roads, looking for food, having slightly more pipit like behaviour than other larks I've seen.

Related Species:
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Alaudidae
Genus: Alauda
SUBSPECIES: A. g. inconspicua, A. g. Ihamarum, A. g. weigoldi, A. g. inopinata, A. g. verynayi, A. g. gulgula, A. g. coelivox, A. g. wattersi

 - Sighting Locations -
CAMBODIA Khmer name: ក្រូចអុិនកំប៉ោយ
A fairly common resident.
SINGAPORE / CAMBODIA 2019 TRIP - A some seen at Florican Grassland Reserve

Further Notes: BirdForum Opus, IUCN Red List, RSPB, Wikipedia, Xeno-canto .

Rufous Woodpecker (Micropternus brachyurus)

OTHER NAMES: N/A
Latin Etymology: Micropternus ("small heel") brachyurus ("short tailed")
Adult Rufous Woodpecker (subspecies M. b. squagmigularis) at Lower Pierce Reservoir, Singapore - February 2019

Featured Subspecies: Micropternus brachyurus squagmigularis
Weight: 55-114g  /  Length: 21-25cm  /  Wingspan: ?
NO UK STATUS IUCN Red List: Least Concern

While my preference for this website is generally to have a photograph which clearly identifies the species in question, sometimes I must admit I must be a little more creative.  In this case, I had been been a Lower Pierce Reservoir, and could hear what was distinctively a woodpecker call from the forest opposite the boardwalk where I was standing.  Eventually, I caught it flying over and snapped this shot of it in typical woodpecker flight.  A bit of detective work later - there are eight species of woodpecker recorded in Singapore, two of which are the ruddy-brown shown in this picture.  To differentiate between them, it was then a matter of listening to the call recordings on Xeno-canto to see which one matched what I'd heard.

Related Species:
Order: Piciformes
Family: Picidae
Genus: Micropternus
SUBSPECIES: M .b. humei, M. b. jerdonii, M. b. phaioceps, M. b. squagmigularis, M. b. brachyurus, M. b. badiosus, M. b. fokiensis, M. b. holroydi, M. b. annamensis 

 - Sighting Locations -
SINGAPORE - A scarce resident
 - CAMBODIA/SINGAPORE 2019 TRIP: One seen around Lower Pierce Reservoir and surrounding area

Further Notes: BirdForum Opus, IUCN Red List, RSPB, Wikipedia, Xeno-canto .

Hair-crested Drongo (Dicrurus hottentottus)

OTHER NAMES: Spangled Drongo
Latin Etymology: Dicrurus ("fork-tailed") hottentottus (named after "Hottentots" of Southern Africa)
Adult Hair-crested Drongo (subspecies D. h. brevirostrisat Angkor Wat, Cambodia - February 2019

Featured Subspecies: Dicrurus hottentottus brevirostris
Weight: 76-102g  /  Length: 25-32cm  /  Wingspan: ?
NO UK STATUS IUCN Red List: Least Concern

The Hair-crested Drongo is another drongo species of Cambodia, in this case identified by having a far less forked tail than the others.  I only saw these birds distantly, a flock feeding on the top of a distant tree.  It has been subject to a large amount of taxonomic revision, and even after being split apart from seven other species, still had a large number of subspecies.  Desite being named "hottentotus", it has nothing to do with Southern Africa - this is another erroneous attributation that seems to be recurring in some South East Asian bird species.

Related Species:
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Dicruridae
Genus: Dicrurus
SUBSPECIES: D. h. hottentottus, D. h. brevirostris, D. h. viridinitens, D. h. borneensis, D. h. jentinkcki, D. h. leucops, D. h. guillemardi, D. h. pectoralis, D. h. banggaiensis, D. h. fabari, D. h. samarensis, D. h. palawanensis, D. h. cuyensis, D. h. striatus, D. h. suluensis

 - Sighting Locations -
CAMBODIA  Khmer name: អន្ទេបកំប៉ោយខ្សែ (?)
 A fairly common resident
 - CAMBODIA/SINGAPORE 2019 TRIP: Seen at Angkor Wat

Further Notes: BirdForum Opus, IUCN Red List, RSPB, Wikipedia, Xeno-canto .

Saturday, 6 April 2019

Grey-headed Flycatcher (Culicicapa ceylonensis)

OTHER NAMES: Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher
Latin Etymology: Culicicapa ("midge seize") ceylonensis ("of Sri Lanka")
Adult Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher (subspecies C. c. calochryseaat Angkor Thom, Cambodia - February 2019

Featured Subspecies: Culicicapa ceylonensis calochrysea
Weight: 6-9g  /  Length: 12-13cm  /  Wingspan: ?
NO UK STATUS IUCN Red List: Least Concern

Despite the name, this species isn't actually a member of the flycatcher family at all, and is infact a member of the Family Stenostiridae; a small group of birds that have fairly recently been found to comprise their own family having previously been distributed across various others, and are now known as the Fairy Flycatchers.  They are actually more closely related to the Tits than to other flycatchers, although they certainly have behavioural parralel evolution to the "True" flycatcatchers - this one was feeding with that characteristic flycatcher behaviour.

Related Species:
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Stenostridae
Genus: Culicicapa
SUBSPECIES: C. c. calochrysea, C. c. ceylonensis, C. c. antioxantha, C. c. sejuncta, C. c. connectens

 - Sighting Locations -
CAMBODIA  Khmer name: ចាបសុីរុយក្បាលប្រផេះ ("Grey-headed sparrow")
A fairly common resident.
 - CAMBODIA/SINGAPORE 2019 TRIP: One near Angkor Thom

Further Notes: BirdForum Opus, IUCN Red List, RSPB, Wikipedia, Xeno-canto .

Ashy Minivet (Pericrocotus divaricatus)

OTHER NAMES: N/A
Latin Etymology: Pericrocotus ("very golden-yellow") divaricatus ("spread out")
Adult male Ashy Minivet (Pericrocotus divaricatus) at Angkor Thom, Cambodia - February 2019

Featured Subspecies: N/A
Weight: 21g  /  Length: 18-20cm  /  Wingspan: ?
NO UK STATUS IUCN Red List: Least Concern

The Ashy Minivet is a small passerine that feeds in the canopy in flocks, often in mixed species flocks.  It it breeds in the region of North China, Japan and Korea, and migrates into South-East Asia to Winter.  Here it shares it's range with the similar looking Swinhoe's Minivet, where the females of the two species may need a bit of attention to separate in the field.

Related Species:
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Campephagidae
Genus: Pericrocotus
SUBSPECIES: none - monotypic 

 - Sighting Locations -
CAMBODIA  Khmer name: ចេកទេសខ្មៅ-ស
A locally common Winter visitor.
 - CAMBODIA/SINGAPORE 2019 TRIP: Seen around Angkor Thom

Further Notes: BirdForum Opus, IUCN Red List, RSPB, Wikipedia, Xeno-canto .

Friday, 5 April 2019

Ashy Drongo (Dicrurus leucophaeus)

OTHER NAMES: Pale Drongo, Grey Drongo 
Latin Etymology: Dicrurus ("fork-tailed") leucophaeus ("ash coloured")
Adult Ashy Drongo (subspecies D. l. leucogenisat Ta Prohm, Cambodia - February 2019

Featured Subspecies: Dicrurus leucophaeus leucogenis
Weight: 32-55g  /  Length: 25-29cm  /  Wingspan: ?
NO UK STATUS IUCN Red List: Least Concern

A very variable species that is found throughout the south-eastern quarter of Asia.  There are a total of fourteen subspecies and they could easily be mistaken for separate species; some like this leucogenis and pale grey with a white eye patch, while others are a deeper blue grey and others still and essentially black.  A forest based species, I saw them a few times in the areas surrounding the Angkor complexes.

Related Species:
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Dicruridae
Genus: Dicrurus
SUBSPECIES: D. l. longicaudatus, D. l hopwoodi, D. l. mouhoti, D. l. bondi, D. l. nigrescens, D. l. leucogenis, D. l. salangensis, D. l. innexus, D. l. stigmatops, D. l. batakensis, D. l. phaedrus, D. l. periophtalmicus, D. l. siberu, D. l. leucophaeus

 - Sighting Locations -
CAMBODIA  Khmer name: អន្ទេបប្រផេះ
 A locally common resident.
 - CAMBODIA/SINGAPORE 2019 TRIP: Seen around Angkor Thom and Ta Prohm

Further Notes: BirdForum Opus, IUCN Red List, RSPB, Wikipedia, Xeno-canto .

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Yellow Bittern (Ixobrychus sinensis)

OTHER NAMES: N/A
Latin Etymology: Ixobrychus ("reed like plant") sinensis ("of China")
Adult female Yellow Bittern (Ixobrychus sinensisat Prek Toal, Cambodia - February 2019

Featured Subspecies: N/A
Weight: 94g  /  Length: 36-38cm  /  Wingspan: 45-53cm
NO UK STATUS IUCN Red List: Least Concern

While Europe has only a pair of very easy to differentiate bitterns, South-East Asia has a whole range of birds which co-exist, often in the same habitats.  Out of these, the Yellow Bittern is one of the smaller ones and can be found in a range of wetland habitats ranging from parks right the way up to great marshland.  It is however secretive, and while I did see numerous small bitterns bursting from cover, this was the only one of the whole lot that I was able to photograph.

Related Species:
Order: Pelecaniformes
Family: Ardeidae
Genus: Ixobrychus
SUBSPECIES: none - monotypic 

 - Sighting Locations -
CAMBODIA Khmer Name: កុកសំបកត្រពាំង
A scarce, localised resident.
 - CAMBODIA/SINGAPORE 2019 TRIP: One at Prek Toal

Further Notes: BirdForum Opus, IUCN Red List, RSPB, Wikipedia, Xeno-canto .