© A July Date With Great Egret in Sepilok – N. Borneo

on 24th August 2015

“A solitary Great Egret (Ardea alba) strolling in lodging property in Sepilok appeared to have found home away from home in July 2015. It was observed to be strolling at ease, foraging and digging up what looked like an earthen clump of soil embedded with wriggly vermin partially exposed (below).

“This was confirmed when bird shook off loose soil and a photographic shot showed the last remnant of vermin in bird’s bill (below).

“It was unusual to encounter a breeding visitor at this time of year. Initially mistaken the bird’s blackish bill tipped to be an Intermediate Egret (Mesophoyx intermedia) at quick glance, the dagger long gape-line with kinky, long neck convinced me the bird to be an Ardea alba and perhaps with soiled bill tip… (below).

“Upon closer examination of my images, the presence of black- stained bill tip, feather filament plumes on bird’s back suggested the Egret was entering into a breeding phase whereby, the bill eventually would turn totally black during adult, full breeding stage (below).

“Similarly, the bird’s feet would turn pinkish-red. For now it appears all black (below).

“It was also observed the Great Egret was making attempts or perhaps practicing with nesting material using hornbill feather. A behaviour which suggested the inclination to breed was close at hand (below).

“A special mention of this bird is made for documentation.

“It is known in Borneo to be a common non-breeding visitor. Also, perhaps rare resident with only confirmed breeding records in E. Kalimantan (Reference: A Field Guide to the Birds of Borneo- Susan Myers).

Avian Writer Daisy O’Neill
Penang, Malaysia

Copyright article and all copy bird images – Courtesy of Daisy O’Neill Bird Conservation Fund.

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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