Chestnut-bellied Malkoha: bill and periorbital patch

posted in: Morphology-Develop. | 0

“Chestnut-bellied Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus sumatranus) is reported in local literature as the “least frequently met malkoha species” (Wells 1999) but in my experience (possibly the locations I visit) it is not uncommon.

“I had an opportunity to watch a pair foraging for close to 75 minutes – following them in thick secondary forest as they scampered around. They called to each other intermittently to keep within reach and were very tolerant of my watching and my camera.

“Note the composite picture (above) of the pair showing that both have some bluish coloration at the base of the bill with it being more prominent on one on the right. The bill is described in guide books as “pea green”, no mention of blue. It is not the lighting as I can see it in many images. Both birds looked adult.

“I have seldom seen this additional blue at the base of the bill (looked at all my previous pictures). Any comments?

“I looked through all the Oriental Bird Images database and the only one that suggest some blue at base of bill is this one: HERE, a close up from Singapore.

Images above show the periorbital patch that looks red in low light (left) but orange in bright light (right).

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ulu Kinta Forest Reserve, Perak, Malaysia
10th October 2009

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