Green-billed Malkoha foraging on the ground

“I enjoy malkohas for two reasons. Firstly, they are an unusual bird to find in an urban garden or park due to the large size (50-60 cm.). They usually come and go largely unseen by the average person who does not even know it lives in our midst. Secondly, they are generally friendly and love scampering up the trunk of a tree and sitting quietly in the foliage, where it can be almost ‘invisible’.

“From the top of trees it launches itself and glides down to another tree and repeats the process as it forages, making excellent viewing. Their scampering behaviour in trees has been described as ‘squirrel like’ and delightful to watch.

“The images on the left were taken last week in a park in the city. This adult Green-billed Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus tristis longicaudatus) was not seen by most people. To my surprise it spent quite some time on the ground foraging. (Malkoha’s usually spend much of their time up in trees forgaing.) It was almost invisible in the thick grass under some tall trees.

“It found a long stick-insect which it devoured happily, allowing me to watch. According to Wells (1999), there is no local information on prey, but in my experience/observations, and photographs, it loves large insects.”

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
11th October 2009

Note: An earlier post similarly showed a Chestnut-bellied Malkoha (P. sumatranus) foraging on the ground.

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