Whitehead’s Trogon

on 7th November 2009

Walad Jamaludin’s images of a male Whitehead’s Trogon (Harpactes whiteheadi) were photographed in Mt Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia in early September 2009 (below).

The trogon was spotted when Walad heard the birds calling each other. He immediately stopped walking and carefully scanned the surroundings, to see one perching on a tree branch not far in front. This trogon is easily identified by its distinctive and conspicuous silvery-grey breast in both sexes.

Whitehead’s Trogon was first discovered by John Whitehead (1860-1899), a British explorer who collected in Borneo between 1885 and 1888. He may be the first European to reach the summit of the mountain.

The shy and elusive trogon is a montane forest resident, frequenting dark and wet areas. It can often be seen on a high branch of the low montane forest trees, seldom moving except to take short flights from perch to perch. At the Mt Kinabalu National Park it is fast becoming extremely difficult to see and Walad is fortunate to have seen and photographed the bird.

Very little is known of the bird.

Forshaw, J. M., 2009. Trogons – A natural history of the Trogonidae. Lynx Editions, Barcelona. 292 pp.

This post is a cooperative effort between and BESG to bring the study of bird behaviour through photography to a wider audience.

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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