A number of birders have responded to our recent call to document vocalisation. This has been a much neglected aspect of local birdwatching and is much welcomed. We give below a collection of bird calls and songs contributed by Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS. These recordings were made at the Keledang Sayong Forest Reserve in Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia, unless otherwise stated:
1. Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus), adult, “warbling” in Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia – HERE.
2. An adult Long-tailed Shrike (Lanius schach bentet), presumably male, made a loud scolding call repeatedly when approached HERE. The protective behaviour and the larger black frontal band (Wells, 2007) suggest it was a male. The other of the pair, the presumed female, remained quite and kept some distance away. When the presumed female took flight, she landed in some nearby trees and made a softer less prolonged call HERE. The calls of this shrike are documented differently in various guides – known to make a “warbling call” and loud defensive calls. The first call is the more frequent one encountered. Recorded at Bercham, Ipoh City, Perak on 21st August 2010.
3. Two common calls of the Lineated Barbet (Megalaima lineata hodgsoni) recorded from Amar’s garden in Ipoh City. The calls can be heard on most days, the bird having proliferated in his region and are gradually moving southward in the peninsular. His wife calls it the “chicken barbet” as at times it likes to cock up the tail when calling, making it look comically like a chicken. This call sounds like “wu-cock” (a local delicious Chinese pastry), while this call is a more drawn out like a WuoouU”. Recorded on 27th August 2010.
4. The male White-rumped Shama (Copsychus malabaricus mallopercnus), despite being constantly trapped illegally to be caged as a song bird, has slowly multiplied around the forest area – HERE. Recorded on 6th April 2010.
5. The call of a male Asian Fairy Bluebird (Irena puella malayensis), described by Wells (2007) as “whi-ti” or “whit” is presumed to be a contact call – HERE. Recorded on 27th May 2010.
6. A male Lesser Green Leafbird (Chloropsis cyanopogon cyanopogon) – HERE. The bird was feeding on the fruits of Macaranga heynei, calling intermittently. It has been described by Wells (2007) as “loud, rich and varied warbling, interspersed with deep, melodious notes”. Recorded on 27th May 2010.
7. A female Blue-winged Leafbird (Chloropsis cochinchinensis moluccensis) – HERE. According to Wells (2007), calls are not adequately described in the Malay Peninsula. Recorded on 30th June 2010.
8. A Spectacled Bulbul (Pycnonotus erythropthalmos), a reasonably common bird – HERE. Recorded on 30th June 2010.
9. A Grey-breasted Spiderhunter (Arachnothera modesta modesta) feeding on fruits of Macarange bancana – HERE. This species spent a lot of time at the tree, feeding extensively. Thus there could have been more than one bird as it came and went. The background noise of a river has been intentionally left intact. The bird makes a 2 or 3 syllable chit-chit or chi-chi-chit. According to Wells (2007), “There has been no adequate description of voice from this region. Recorded on July 2010.
10. A fascinating call by two Large Niltavas (Niltava grandis decipiens), one responding to the other – HERE. The call, comprising three notes, has been modified by noise reduction and amplification (lots of rushing streams in background and a dog barking removed) but still holds true. Glenister (1971) says it the best:”‘It is the author of one of the most characteristic sounds of the mountain jungle – a plaintive, soft, yet far carrying, musical whistle of three ascending notes. These birds and their calls are one of the most distinctive features of the Cameron Highlands hill station.” Recorded on 15th August 2010.
11. A pair of Black-crested Bulbul (Pycnonotus melanicterus caecilii) flew over a ridge onto a branch just beside Amar at 1,600m ASL at Malaysia’s Cameron Highlands. The unprocessed call is HERE and with noise reduction and amplification HERE. Recorded on 15th August 2010.
12. A loud call of the Spectacled Spiderhunter (Arachnothera flavigaster), “ta-chak” (Wells, 2007) which is used often and appears to be territorial as well as used to show displeasure – HERE. It is often used singly or in a series of calls, and is also used to chase another bird from their food source. On this particular day (1.5 hours observation), it monopolised the fruiting tree, chasing away sunbirds and other spiderhunters. DM Batchelor in Smythies (1999) noted “It is exceptionally quarrelsome, attacking vigorously any bird, either its own or a different species, that is feeding near it.” In this particular recording, where the call was used repeatedly for a long period with odd fluttering of the wings and tail – very much like a juvenile asking for food (this bird was feeding independently). Recorder on 18th July 2010.
1. Glenister, A.G., 1971. The birds of the Malay Peninsula and Penang. Oxford University Press, London. 291 pp.
2. Smythies, B. E., 1999. Birds of Borneo. Natural History Publications & The Sabah Society, Kota Kinabalu. (4th ed., revised). 853 pp.
3. Wells, D.R., 2007. The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsular. Vol. II, Passerines. Christopher Helm, London. 800 pp.