Asian Paradise-flycatcher and its call

Asian Paradise-flycatcher-5aa-Kubah National Park, Sarawak, Borneo, Malaysia-12th September 2017

“Saw a male Asian/Oriental Paradise-flycatcher (Terpsiphone paradisi borneensis) white morph, which is more common seen in the region according to Davison (1999) (above, below). It lacked the long streamers, 2 long tail feathers, and this might indicate it is a young bird. It was still early at 7.00am but we could appreciate the lovely ‘fleshy’, bright cobalt-blue eyelids. The head is often described as ‘glossy black’, but as you can see, from the low light images at high ISO, that there is metallic blue to the black; seen this in many images taken by other bird watchers. Likes to fan the tail.

Asian Paradise-flycatcher-1a-Kubah National Park, Sarawak, Borneo, Malaysia-12th September 2017

“It was not making the conventional calls but this very loud thrill which was heard clearly as the bird was very close. It was a rapid sequence lasting a mere 1.7-1.8 seconds and occasionally repeated. An answering call in the distance was noted. It appears on casual listening to be a continual series of 24-26 notes/calls of a ‘pi, pi, pi, pi …’ (below).

“But if you look carefully at the waveform (better than the sonogram here – below), the calls are in pairs – two notes closer together followed by a micro-pause and then another two notes. Hence a series of 12-13 notes at each episode.

Asian Paradise-flycatcher-calls-5a-Kubah National Park, Sarawak, Borneo, Malaysia-12th September 2017-1

“I managed some recording and offer one below; it is very brief and needs to be re-played. Davison (1999) describes them as ‘a sweet, loud, rapid series of up to a dozen rich, harmonious whistles‘. Frank Lambert has a similar recording of calls, from the same forest reserve, which he labels as ‘male song’. See: HERE.

“More recording of such calls can be found at Borneo Bird Images: HERE.

“Note: I have used “Terpsiphone paradisi borneensis” after some reading and checking sources but some authorities use “Terpsiphone affinis borneensis” (see HBW, Avibase). These sources also use Oriental or Blyth’s Paradise-flycatcher.”

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
12th September 2017

Location: Kubah National Park, Sarawak, Borneo, Malaysia
Habitat: Trail through primary forest

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