White-bellied Erpornis in Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

“Had a prolonged bird wave (mixed foraging party) from 1148-1216hrs (28 minutes). The most prominent participant were at least 6 White-bellied Erpornis (Erpornis zantholeuca interposita), of which two were juveniles (above: left adult, right juvenile). There were present from start to finish of the bird wave.

“The White-bellied Erpornis is the only member of the genus Erpornis. Formerly placed with the Yuhinas and still called “White-bellied Yuhina” by some. But DNA studies evidence supports that no relationship exists with the Yuhinas or other babblers. Currently a free standing species but may be placed with the Vireonidae.

“Locally the bird is near threatened bordering on vulnerable and I was delighted to get an extended observation of this uncommon species. I took many images but all are poor due to the canopy and rapid pace of a bird wave (chose not to us flash). The bird is not particularly shy and, as reported, loves to hang on the tip of a branch/leaf to look underneath for prey (very commonly seen). Calls were heard but very soft and were brief thrill notes (2 syllable common). Although uncommon and rather plain in plumage, the bird is unmistakable. The two juveniles were both self feeding as well as being fed by adults. The juveniles lacked the prominent crest and the bright yellow of the undertail coverts of the adults. Foraging was primarily for animal prey (insects) (above).

“Other participants of the bird wave (mixed foraging party) included:
Velvet-fronted Nuthatchs (Sitta frontalis saturatior); Blue-winged Leafbirds (Chloropsis cochinchinensis moluccensis); Arctic Warbler (Phylloscopus borealis); Spectacled Bulbuls (Pycnonotus erythropthalmos); Red-eyed Bulbuls (Pycnonotus brunneus; a tailorbird (possibly Dark-necked); others not identified.”

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Kledang-Sayong Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia (500m ASL)
Trail through dense primary forest
30th April 2012

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